VisitScotland’s flagship iCentre on Dumfries’ Whitesands is at the heart of the drive to encourage tourists and visitors alike to enjoy all that the region has to offer.
After months of lockdowns and Covid-19 restrictions, the move into Level One and the start of the school summer holidays in a fortnight’s time is expected to bring both a tourism boost to the region and to encourage more locals to enjoy a “staycation” and to explore what’s on their doorstep.
And it means the five staff at the visitor information centre – which is the “go to” hub for the wider Dumfries and Galloway area too – are geared up to promote the wide range of visitor experiences that the region has to offer, from outdoor adventures to amazing scenery, historic attractions and food and drink experiences.
Dumfries-based VisitScotland assistant information manager, Andrew Robinson, said they are becoming increasingly busy and welcome people to go and see them.
He said: “We have not long been reopened and, while we have adapted our way of working in line with government restrictions, our staff are delighted to be back to be able to point locals and visitors to some of the fantastic things to see and do across Dumfries and Galloway and Scotland as a whole.
“The iCentre was designed in 1997 specifically for VisitScotland and is an interesting building in itself, with artworks including stained glass, tapestry and a sundial all inspired by our wonderful region.
“We sell local Cream o’ Galloway ice cream which can be enjoyed on a sunny day in our garden.
“We offer a warm welcome to dogs – we’ve even welcomed a parrot on a lead on one occasion.
“We’re the starting point for The Burns Trail around town and are always happy to answer any questions on the three Bs – Barrie, Burns and Bruce and everything in between.”
The staff have put forward some of their own personal recommendations of places to visit in the region:
• Troqueer Riverside Walk. From Troqueer along the riverside in Dumfries, takes in the graves of Norwegian servicemen from the Second World War, when Dumfries found itself the centre of the Norwegian army in exile.
• The Nearly Lost Gardens of Arbigland consist of 24-acres of woodland south of Dumfries. The nearly lost gardens of Arbigland include a sunken garden where the old Arbigland Hall stood.
• Twelve Apostles is a stone circle near Dumfries that was built in the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age, around 3000-1500 BC. At 88-metres wide it is the largest stone circle on the Scottish mainland and is popular with fans of Outlander looking for links to Scotland’s stone circles.
• The Galloway Faerie Trail at Barstobrick can be enjoyed within the enchanted grounds of Barstobrick, Ringford, Castle Douglas. The trail is full of interactive activities for families of all ages to enjoy as they help to solve the mystery of the missing faerie dust.
• Kitchen Coos and Ewes, Newton Stewart offers farm tours and experiences where visitors can see Highland cows and Beltex sheep in their natural environment from the comfort of a purpose-built trailer. Described as farmer-led Highland cow safari experiences, the tours finish with home baking from the farmhouse kitchen.