Heights, Sights & Great Views to Enjoy in Dumfries & Galloway

One of the best views in Southern Scotland is directly from the farmhouse at Destination Balcary looking across the Solway Firth and the Lake District. There are many other great views, sights and heights providing superb viewpoints throughout Dumfries & Galloway that can be enjoyed when out and about. The view across to Little Ross Island and the now uninhabited lighthouse is also a spectacular sight. Guests staying at Ross Bay Retreat can easily walk to this headland and lovely viewpoint from the holiday cottages.

Conservatory Views

Views from the Conservatory at Destination Balcary

The Southern uplands stretch across Southern Scotland and dominate the region. They are an overwhelmingly rural and agricultural region, partly forested and contain many areas of open moorland. This includes the Galloway Hills, and Galloway Forest Park, west of the Glenkens. This is a large hill area lying between Loch Doon in the north and the Solway Firth to the south.

Many of these hills provide wonderful viewpoints and spectacular scenery across the forest, lochs, The Solway Firth and the sea. A number of them can be reached on foot and a few can even be enjoyed from the road too.

Here are a number of the best views that can be enjoyed in and around Dumfries & Galloway.

Balcary Bay & Balcary Inn Hotel

Balcary Bay & Balcary Inn Hotel & Views Beyond

Best Walking Trails with Great Views in Dumfries and Galloway – AllTrails

Explore the most popular views trails in Dumfries and Galloway. There are detailed trail maps, directions and reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers who have been before.

  • Grey Mare’s Tail Waterfall and Loch Skeen – This is a beautiful trail in the Scottish Lowlands, visiting the Grey Mare’s Tail waterfall and Loch Skeen. The Grey Mare’s Tail is one of the highest waterfalls in the UK as it plunges 60 meters into the valley in the Moffat Hills.
  • Loch Trool Circular – This trail takes you all the way around Loch Trool, located in the Southern Uplands of Scotland. It’s a beautiful place to visit, with the loch being surrounded by woodland and small falls as the burns cascade down the hillsides.
  • Merrick via Benyellary – This trail initially follows the Buchan Burn through the glen, before heading up to the Benyellary summit. It continues to the Merrick from there, with the trail returning the to the trailhead the same way.
  • Balcary Circular – This is a popular trail for birding, hiking, and running, but you can still enjoy some solitude during quieter times of day. The best times to visit this trail are August through August.
Potterland Hill

Potterland Hill & views to Balcary Point

  • Criffel via Craigrockall Burn – This is steep but rewarding trail climbing up through the trees along the course of Craigrockall Burn. Then up and over the open hillside to the summit of Criffel. From this top, you can enjoy sweeping views on a clear day, even as far as the Lake District fells and the Isle of Man if you are lucky.
  • Moffat Riverside Trail – This circular route starts and ends at The Coachman Barl. You will follow the banks of the scenic River Annan. This route is relatively flat and suitable for a wide range of ages and fitness levels. Dogs are also welcome on this route. This trail is especially beautiful in spring when the wildflowers are in bloom.

The Top 20 Peaks in Dumfries and Galloway – Komoot

Here are a selection of the some of the most popular peaks to scale and enjoy the views on a clear day. Taken from the walking app Komoot, the links will also provide a map and walk descriptions to reach each of these views and summits.

  • The Merrick – The highest summit in Southern Scotland. Rising up from Galloway Forest Park, the first area in the UK to be given Dark Sky Park status. The Merrick is one of the five fingers of the ‘Range of the Awful Hand’. The summit elevation is 843 metres, making it the highest mountain in the Southern Uplands and southern Scotland. The popular ascent is from Loch Trool, an 8.25 mile walk.
  • Cairnsmore of Fleet – This is a very easy to reach top that is quite varied in terms of terrain. The Cairnsmore of Fleet is the most southerly 2,000 feet hill in Scotland and a magnificent viewpoint for the Cree Estuary and the Solway. It makes for a popular and fairly straightforward hill walk with great views on the walk back down.


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  • Cairnsmore of Carsphairn – This beautiful grassy summit offers excellent views and it is the tallest in the northern Galloway range. After your short but steep climb, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views toward southern Scotland.
  • Screel Hill – Views towards Balcary Bay – Screel Hill is a modest 344m hill located near Castle Douglas. Whilst it’s not the largest in area. It provides a rough and rewarding walk offering some top-notch views toward Balcary Farmhouse, Balcary Bay, Auchencairn Bay and out as far as Solway Firth and Hestan Island.
  • Criffel – Criffel at 569 meters high is a modest peak in southern Scotland but offers magnificent views across the Barbara Channel toward England. On a clear day, it’s possible to see the hills of the Lake District and even out to the Isle of Man. The ascent is short but steep and rewarded with stunning views of the Solway, its estuaries and across to the English Lake District. Walk Highlands 3.5 mile walk – Criffel by the Ardwall Path.
  • Meikle Millyea – the southernmost summit on the great Rhinns of Kells ridge. The true summit of Meikle Millyea is disputed though most head for the trig point. The upper slopes are rather sprawling and the hill presents its finest front towards Loch Dungeon.

Scenic Drives in Dumfries and Galloway

There are a number of lovely views that can be experienced from the comfort of the car too. Here are a few popular scenic drives with great viewpoints:

  • Mennock Pass reach the highest village in Scotland through a spectacular road pass


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Other Great Viewpoints to Experience the Very Best of Dumfries & Galloway Scenery

Just to make sure we had not missed any, here are several that our guests have recommended and mentioned that they too enjoyed.

Little Ross Island & Little Ross Lighthouse

This wonderful coastal view can be seen from headland that overlooks Little Ross Island and uninhabited Little Ross Lighthouse. This delightful panorama can be easily accessed from Ross Bay Retreat holiday cottages.

Great Views - Little Ross Island & Lighthouse

Great Views – Little Ross Island & Lighthouse

Bruce’s Stone, Loch Trool

The Bruce’s Stone is at the top of the commanding hill on the north side of Loch Trool. This massive granite boulder commemorates Robert the Bruce’s first victory over an English army in 1307 during the Scottish Wars of Independence. For the more adventurous, Bruce’s Stone is one of the starting point for the more challenging walk up the Merrick (2,764 feet), the highest mountain in Southern Scotland.

The Mull of Galloway – the Ultimate Scottish Lighthouse!

The views here are undeniably spectacular at Scotland’s most southerly point. Climb the 115 steps to the top of the Mull of Galloway lighthouse and on a clear day, be rewarded with spectacular views of Scotland, Ireland, Isle of Man and Cumbria. Watch the gannets diving and look out for porpoises and dolphins too. Listen out for the foghorn on murky days.


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Murray’s Monument, Newton Stewart

The steep climb up to Murray’s Monument via the Grey Mare’s Tail waterfall is well worth the effort, offering amazing views of Galloway and beyond. Murray’s Monument, an 80ft stone obelisk built back in 1835 is dedicated to the memory of Arthur Murray, a young shepherd who would later become a Professor of Oriental Languages at the University of Edinburgh.

Don’t Forget Your Camera to Capture the Views

Take your walking boots and cameras and grab some wonderful memories and photos of some the best views in and around Dumfries & Galloway. Please let us know where you favourite viewpoint is and share your photos with us too. We look forward to seeing them.

Useful Links & References:

Views across to Loch Ken

Views across to Loch Ken

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