Unique Towns

Where We Are >> Galloway Tour (outline) >> Unique Towns

Castle Douglas ("Food Town")

A great little town - we never tire of it, and visitors can hardly believe it: many have not seen a living, breathing high street like this for years, if ever.

There's a close connection with Gelston Castle - the story deserves its own page:

  1. Castle Douglas

Thumbnail sketch of the town, its history and economy.

The historic octagonal livestock mart is crucial to the town's identity, its sales attracting buyers from literally hundreds of miles away. Slip in and watch a sale on one of the market days - an experience you won't forget: generally lamb sales are Tue weekly, cattle Mon fortnightly (also some special big seasonal sales, e.g. see Autumn In Galloway).

Shopping is a speciality of the town - visitors love to discover its living, breathing high street. Almost the only likeness to the many "clone towns" of Britain is Tesco (grrr!), just off the roundabout at the top of the town. But hey, if you're on holiday there's no rush - you can stay in the heart of the town and relax and rediscover the joys of shopping in an old-fashioned high street. You can't even see Tesco's metal and glass from there, thank goodness.

The small independent food shops include no fewer than four butchers (one of them a specialist pork butcher), a greengrocer, a healthfood shop with deli, and two other delicatessens (one of them is also a chocolatier); there's even a real old "blast from the past" sweetie shop. Beyond food there are some great clothes shops including a proper gentlemen's tailor and nextdoor ladies outfitter, a good old-fashioned shoe shop, a proper country sports and outdoor shop, art galleries, a micro-brewery, an unique newsagent selling books and cards and toys, various "fancy goods" shops, an art and craft specialist, and more.

See Local Shopping for more details on all this.

Kirkcudbright ("Artists' Town")

(Text coming soon)

Wigtown ("Book Town")

Wigtown (50 mins from Gelston) is a surreal experience, a sleepy little wild west town with a yawning-wide main street devoid of garish shopfront signage or any form of overt commercial activity - we were once asked by a café owner if we minded being left to drink our tea while she popped across the street for a blether with her friend. Yet when you get up close you find that a whole teeming world of BOOKS lurks behind the sober frontages. For the truly amazing Book Festival see Cultural Activities later in this section (Where We Are).


Probably its main interest as a town is the Robert Burns connection: see later in this tour. There's also a great little "Art-House Cinema" at the Robert Burns Centre: see Cultural Activities later in this section (Where We Are). There's also a Camera Obscura, and some good museums: for the latter, see External Links (menu above) under Culture & the Arts.

Gatehouse of Fleet

The Mill on the Fleet
Masonic Arms


Galloway Tour, next ...

  1. Lush Pastures

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