Stranraer & Portpatrick
The hammerhead peninsula at the furthermost west of the region is known as The Rhinns of Galloway with the main towns being Stranraer and Portpatrick. Stranraer is the busy seaport from which ferries to Ireland sail and 8 miles south west lies the quiet port and seaside resort of Portpatrick.
Stranraer & Portpatrick Self Catering Cottages
Lots to See and Do
The visitor attractions here include the Castle of St John, a round tower built in 1500 from which the sheriff of Wigtown, Graham of Claverhouse, conducted vicious campaigns against the Covenanters, and later used as a prison. Further local history can be found at the Stranraer Museum.
The bus stops, train station and tourist centre are located near the Stena Sealink terminal. The Stella Line runs ferries from Stranraer to Belfast and P&O from Cairnryan (5 miles north of Stranraer) to Larne. For an exclusive dining experience, or even just afternoon tea, try the Corsewall Lighthouse Hotel which is set within the still working lighthouse, 11 miles north of the town.
A must for keen gardeners is a visit to the Castle Kennedy Gardens lying between the White and Black Lochs and two castles: Castle Kennedy and the 19th century Lochinch Castle - about 3 miles east of Stranraer off the A75. Buses run from Stranraer to the gardens.
About 7 miles further along the A75, are the ruins of the 12th century Cistercian Glen Luce Abbey and its (more intact) Chapter House where opera singers take advantage of its amazing acoustics. The main hotel in Glen Luce is the Kelvin House Hotel.
Portpatrick is the start of the Southern Upland Way and its first section follows a 9 mile cliff-top route to Stranraer. For a briefer walk, follow the cliff-top walk to the ruins of the 16th century Dunskey Castle. Hotels include the Harbour House Hotel, the Waterfront Hotel, Portpatrick Hotel and the more exclusive Knockinaam Lodge set in its own private bay.
The A716 runs down the eastern side of the peninsula which enjoys a mild climate due to the Gulf Stream which warms the sea making it most pleasant for swimming. The Gulf Stream creates ideal conditions for growing exotic subtropical plants and trees at the Logan Botanic Garden north of Port Logan on the western coast. Adjoining the Botanic Garden is the private Logan House Garden which is also open to the public. The Botanic Garden's Discovery Centre provides lots of information about the local flora. The Logan Fish Pond, at the northern end of Port Logan Bay, was a tidal pool developed as a fish larder in 1800 and is now stocked with a wide range of fish which can be easily viewed.
The fishing village of Drummore lies on the south-eastern side of the peninsula and a further 5 miles south, at the tip of the peninsula, is the Mull of Galloway where there is a RSPB nature reserve and visitor centre. Many seabirds nest on this stretch of coast, including guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and puffin.