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Gordon House Hotel
01557 330 670
Historically Kirkcudbright was an important gateway to the sea, though today its picturesque harbour is largely a haven for small fishing boats.
A lively town with many summer festivities, Kirkcudbright can also offer good river-fishing, sea-angling and golf.
Much of the town has wide 18th Century streets, many pastel-coloured houses and numerous flowerbeds, all creating a light and spacious air. Incongruously, the ruins of forbidding MacLellan’s Castle, a 16th Century tower house, sits in the centre of town. The 1610 market cross still stands, as does the ancient Tolbooth with its ’jougs’, iron manacles to which thieves and those suspected of heresy and witchcraft were attached for public beatings.
Long a centre for craft workers and artists, the Tolbooth Art Centre tells the story of Kirkcudbright artists’ colony. Australian-born painter E. A. Hornel (1864-1933) lived in Broughton House whose gallery is open to the public, and the Harbour Cottage Art Gallery hosts temporary exhibitions.
Before dining with Lord Selkirk, Robert Burns wrote his ’Selkirk Grace’ at the Selkirk Arms Hotel, and Dorothy L. Sayers set her thriller ’Five Red Herrings’ in and around Kirkcudbright. The Stewartry Museum is the repository of local social artefacts and natural history exhibits.
To the south-west of Kirkcudbright is the 12th Century Dundrennan Abbey where Mary Queen of Scots is reputed to have spent her last night in Scotland. Within the graceful ruins is a macabre stone effigy of an abbot with a dagger through his neck and at his feet a disembowelled man, possibly killed while assassinating the abbot. Dundrennan itself is an attractive village, built partly of stones taken from the Abbey in the past.
Close to Kirkcudbright, Tongland is dominated by the Tongland Hydro-Electric Power Station, with a fish-pass for salmon. The bridge was designed by Thomas Telford.
Twynholm lies two miles north west of Kirkcudbright. Settlement here can be traced back to Iron Age times and in the 18th and 19th Centuries it was a busy place with a corn mill, sawmills and a centre for blanket and tweed weaving. After centuries lying on the main road from Dumfries to Stranraer, it became a more peaceful village in 1973, when the line of the main A75 was changed to pass just north of Twynholm rather than through its centre.
Twynholm's most famous attraction is The David Coulthard Museum and Pit Stop Diner which houses the world's most complete collection of memorabilia for any Formula 1 driver, past or present.