Are you planning on visiting Southerness?
Want some ideas of things to do in the area?
Great then check out this list of things we did during our week long stay in November 2021.
(If you want to check out the holiday cottage we stayed in have a look at Southerness Self Catering, which includes a video tour inside the property)
1. Southerness Things to Do – Streetlights Cafe, Castle Douglas
Streetlights was one of the first cafes we visited during our holiday and it was fabulous. It was a dog friendly cafe, which we didn’t know at first but we went and fetched our dogs as soon as realised.
The welcome was very friendly, for both us and our dogs. They even got treats which they were delighted about.
The menu was lovely too with plant based milk available and plenty of choice. We had a soup and sandwich deal and the soup was just gorgeous. Infact the portions were so generous we couldn’t eat a cake even.
The cafe is in the main street at Castle Douglas with on street parking outside the cafe.
This was one of the highlights of our visit.
Check out the Tripadvisor reviews of Streetlights Cafe
2. Southerness Things To Do – Mad Hatters Cafe, Castle Douglas
We headed to Mad Hatters in Castle Douglas as it was advertised as dog friendly.
On arrival we went into the cafe to check it out. It was so cold that we didn’t take the dogs in. The floor was tiled so it would have been much too cold for the dogs to sit on the floor.
We checked out the menu and found the cooked breakfast was £10 which seemed quite expensive given the surroundings.
The cafe was so cold that we kept our coats on and the waiting staff were noticeably cold.
The breakfast was OK but nothing special. The ambience and atmosphere wasn’t very welcoming, particularly being cold.
Check out the Tripadvisor reviews of Mad Hatters.
3. Southerness Things to Do – Castle Douglas
Castle Douglas is described as a food town. There is a great range of independent shops along the main street, including butchers, bakers and other food shops. There were also plenty of other independent shops making the main street a pleasant place to stroll.
Also in Castle Douglas was a Tesco store.
We visited Castle Douglas a couple of times to stock up on essentials and visit cafes.
4. Southerness Things to Do – Loch Arthur Farm Shop and Cafe
This was recommended to us by the owner of the holiday cottage, and many previous guests had mentioned it in the comments book. Oh my goodness they were right!
Infact this cafe was so good we went twice, something I rarely do anywhere.
Loch Arthur is a community farm shop and cafe. It is set in a lovely building. There is free parking on site and the entrance to the cafe is around the side of the building. There is a little path along the edge of the pond. You pass the toilets and enter the cafe. (These arrangements were probably a little different to normal because of Covid restrictions.)
The menu featured lots of local and fresh produce. We had burgers and shared a their handmade potato wedges. It was all absolutely delicious, so much so that my teenage nephew ate all his salad too!
The service was very warm and friendly. It was very busy which just showed how popular it was with locals.
On our second visit we had soup and cakes and more of those amazing potato wedges. It was well worth the drive through Storm Arwen to get there.
The farm shop entrance is near the car park. There is a great selection of produce including a fruit and vegetable section, meat section, dairy, baked goods, pies etc. We stocked up on treats to take back with us to the holiday cottage.
I would highly recommend a visit for something to eat to Loch Arthur.
Check out the Tripadvisor reviews of Loch Arthur
5. Southerness Things to Do – Bellymack Hill Farm – Red Kites
Bellymack Hill Farm is not far outside of Castle Douglas. They are part of the Red Kite trail in Dumfries and Galloway. They feed Red Kites every day at 2pm with the viewing station being open from 1-4pm during the summer (3pm in winter).
There is parking at Bellymack Hill Farm and you enter the side of a farm building where you pay £5 per person to access the viewing terrace. There is a long terrace near the viewing station and there is also seating inside the building.
Inside the main building is little cafe with a tea, coffee and cakes available to buy. They were very nice.
The birds are fed at 2pm. The Red Kites perch in trees around the site, making a whistling noise.
Infront of the viewing platform is a feeding station where meat is put out. The birds swoop down and feed and then return to the trees to digest the food. About 30 minutes later when the food is digested the birds return again.
There is also a little walk up to the top of a small hill with a bird viewing hide and some goats and sheep to see along the way.
We spent nearly 2 hours at Bellymack Farm and enjoyed it a great deal.
Check out the Tripadvisor reviews of Bellymack Farm.
6. Southerness Things to Do – Abbey Cottage, New Abbey
We visited this tearoom as it was dog friendly.
On entering the tearoom we were directed to the front part of the tearoom which is where dogs are allowed.
We enjoyed a nice scone and coffee in the tearoom.
The dogs enjoyed their visit too.
Check out the Tripadvisor reviews of Abbey Cottage.
7. Southerness Things To Do – Devil’s Porridge Museum, Annan
We took a trip out on a very wet day to visit this museum. It was about an hour’s drive away from Southerness but it was well worth the trip. The museum is located in Annan and it tells the story of a huge factory complex that made munitions for the First World War.
The museum was well laid out with an audio guide available at reception.
There was also plenty of of interactivity throughout the museum (although some of the exhibits were removed due to Covid restrictions).
The museum told not just the story of the factory but also of the women who travelled from all over the UK to work at the factory. It also told the story of the largest train crash in Scottish history and the first nuclear reactor in Scotland as well.
It was a fascinating museum with lots of interesting stories.
Beside the museum was a small cafe where we enjoyed a cake and cup of tea after our visit. We spent 2 hours at the museum but we could have spent longer there.
8. Southerness Things to Do – RSPB Mersehead
RSPB Mersehead is a nature reserve set at a marshy headland. There is a visitor centre located down a single track road, signed from the main road – the A710.
We arrived quite late, about 30 minutes before the visitor centre was about to close. By the time we had walked down to the nearest bird viewing hide the visitor centre closed.
It was bitterly cold and the tide was quite a long way out but we did get a view of a few birds and grazing deer.
It would be worth checking the tide times if you are planning a visit as a higher tide would mean that the birdlife would be closer.
9. Southerness Things To Do – Sandyhills Beach
We were recommended visiting Sandyhills Beach by the owner of the cottage.
It was definitely worth visiting. There is a paid car park by the beach with tickets purchased at the nearby gift shop. When we visited the shop was closed so there was free parking.
The beach was lovely and sandy. The dogs enjoyed it too. It would be a nice spot to spend some time with a picnic and making sandcastles too.
Looking to Stay in Southerness?
Check out my review of a Southerness self catering cottage, including a video tour of the property.
Interested in Self Catering Properties in the Area?
Check out this selection of cottages and find plenty more in the Dumfries and Galloway area.
If you have found this guide to Southerness things to do helpful you might also like;
My review of a one week stay in Newton Stewart including a tour of an amazingly cute riverside cottage
Forres Self Catering holiday review – a stunning cottage with walks and wildlife on the doorstep
Wick Self Catering Review – right on the NC500 with the amazing Duncansby Stacks nearby
12 Self Catering Holiday Tips – to help you have an even better holiday experience
If you want more trip ideas then check out my Travel Inspiration page
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