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Things to do in the Machars, Wigtownshire – A Visitors Guide

One of the most enchanting features of our beautiful homeland is the Machars – a picturesque peninsula in the historical county town of Wigtownshire in Galloway in South West Scotland. The Machars Peninsula boasts a range of enjoyable activities, from tranquil walking routes and serene beaches to cosy dining options and intriguing local attractions. Below is a guide to some of our favourite things to do in the local area.

Beaches in the Area

The Machars offers some of the most scenic and unspoilt beaches in Scotland. If you’re planning a stay in one of our self catering cottages, we highly recommend taking the time to explore these idyllic coastal locations. Whether you’re an ardent beachcomber, birdwatcher, history buff, or simply in search of tranquil relaxation, the beaches of the Machars have something for everyone.

Black Bay Beach and Front Bay Beach near Monreith Golf Club:

Located down the cliffs, on the right side of the road, just across from the golf club. There is also the ancient Kirkmaiden Kirk near here which is full of history.

Monreith Bay Beach:

Monreith boasts a broad and lengthy sandy shore, enveloped by rocky terrains and steep cliffs. At low tide has long stretches of sand. It tends to be very quiet so perfect for dog walks.

Rigg Bay:

This beach is accessed through Galloway House Gardens (parking charges apply). You can explore both the arboretum and the beach via solid walking paths. The beach is about 500m away from the parking area. It is a beautiful walk at any time of year to the beach.

Garlieston Beach, situated in the charming harbour village of Garlieston in Wigtownshire, is a peaceful destination known for its historic WWII connections and scenic bay views. It offers visitors a serene seaside experience, perfect for leisurely walks and picnicking by the water’s edge.

Walking Routes, Hikes and Trails in the Area

At Wigtownshire Holidays, we encourage our guests to take advantage of the excellent local walks and hikes. Below are a few of our favourite routes that offer a variety of walking experiences, allowing you to appreciate the distinctive landscapes of Wigtownshire at your own pace. It’s a great way to make the most of your stay in this part of Scotland.

Rigg Bay and Cruggleton Castle, Garlieston

The Rigg Bay and Cruggleton Castle walk in Garlieston offers an enchanting journey through history and coastal landscapes. This route leads you from the serene shores of Rigg Bay, through charming woodland paths, and up to the fascinating ruins of Cruggleton Castle, rewarding walkers with sweeping views of the Solway Firth along the way.

Merrick Hill

Standing as the highest peak in the Southern Uplands of Scotland, Merrick Hill offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, making it a rewarding climb for avid hikers and nature enthusiasts.

Cairnsmore Hill

Cairnsmore Hill, one of the prominent peaks in the Cairnsmore, offers hikers a moderately challenging ascent, with the reward of spectacular views across Galloway and the Solway Firth at the summit.

Kilsture Forest

Kilsture Forest offers a delightful selection of woodland walks, perfect for those of all abilities looking to enjoy the outdoors. The trails, woven amidst greenery and trees, provide a calm retreat where you can enjoy the serene atmosphere of this beautiful Scottish forest.

Places to Eat and Drink in the Machars

Welcome to the culinary heart of our guide – our list of favourite places to eat and drink in The Machars, Wigtownshire. Whether you’re after the comfort of a hot coffee, the crispy delight of fish and chips, an exquisite meal or the joy of a pint in a friendly pub, we have you covered.


There are many restaurants to enjoy in the area, below are a few of our most recommended.

The View, Port William

A charming seaside café offering an assortment of delectable treats and beverages, best enjoyed with their breathtaking panoramic views of the harbour.

The Pheasant, Sorbie

A warm and inviting eatery known for its delectable local cuisine, welcoming ambiance, and a delightful dining experience

The Steam Packet Inn, Isle of Whithorn

A popular establishment in Wigtownshire, the Steam Packet offers a friendly service and stunning harbour views that perfectly complement the authentic Scottish dining experience.

Bladnoch Inn, Bladnoch

The Bladnoch Inn is a characterful, traditional pub nestled next to the Bladnoch distillery, offering a fantastic selection of dishes paired beautifully with an impressive array of whiskies, all within a welcoming and friendly atmosphere.

Coffee Shops

Looking to enjoy a cup of coffee and a cake? We have popped a few of our favourite café’s below for you to enjoy.

  • Café Rendezvous, Wigtown
  • Reading Lasses, Wigtown
  • The Hive, Garlieston
  • St Ninian’s Tearoom, Isle of Whithorn
  • Brew Ha, Ha, Newton Stewart
  • Riverbank Café, Newton Stewart
  • Kirroughtree Café, Kirroughtree

Fish & Chips

Are you after the the crispy delight of fish and chips? Try our local favourites.

• Frying Scotsman, Wigtown
• Central Café, Whithorn

Local Shops & Supermarkets

  • Local grocery store in Port William and Whithorn
  • Co-op supermarket in Wigtown for basic supplies
  • Sainsbury’s, Co-op & Aldi in Newton Stewart
  • Morrisons and Asda deliver locally

Places of Interest to Visit During Your Stay

  • Whithorn Trust & Priory 
  • St Ninian’s Cave
  • Drumtroddan Standing Stones
  • Wigtown – Scotland’s Book Town
  • Bladnoch Distillery & Visitor Centre
  • Gem Rock Museum, Creetown
  • Galloway House Gardens & Beach
  • Crafty Distillery
  • RSPB Crook of Baldoon 
  • RSPB Wood of Cree
  • Wigtown Harbour Bird Hide
  • Torhouse Stone Circle
  • Sorbie Tower
  • Barsalloch Fort
  • Wild Goat Park
  • Galloway Forest Red Deer Park
  • Raiders Road Otter Pool
  • Kirroughtree 7 Stanes

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