Nithsdale is the area north of Dumfries around the A76. Apart from Moniaive, a picturesque village on the A702, the main attractions of this area are Drumlanrig Castle near Thornhill and lead mines in the Lowther Hills.
Drumlanrig Castle is the 17th century stately home (not a castle) owned by the Duke of Buccleuch and boasts an impressive horse-shoe staircase, paintings by Rembrandt, Holbein, Leonardo da Vinci and other famous artists, gardens, country park, cycle tracks, adventure playground and visitor centre.
Further north on the A76 lies the market town of Sanquhar. The Southern Upland Way passes Sanquhar and Wanlockhead and continues to Moffat and beyond. Places to visit in Sanquhar include the Tolbooth, a Georgian townhouse, and the 18th century bow-windowed post office.
However, it is the former lead mines at Leadhills and Wanlockhead on the B797 which are the main attraction in this area. There are underground guided tours of the Lochnell Mine at Wanlockhead, a heritage trail of equipment and the life of miners and their families, the Miners' Library and opportunities to try gold panning or attend lengthier courses. You can reach the 19th century purpose-built miners' town of Leadhills by taking the old Leadhill & Wanlockhead Railway, open from Easter to September.