You will find Stranraer Museum in the town centre, on George Street, in what was the old Town Hall. It's a good place to start if you want to learn about the history of the area. The Museum contains displays on Wigtownshire's fascinating past including local archaeology, and the history of farming and dairying in the area.
Stranraer.org has interesting information on stranraer and other towns in the area. Their 'Stranraer Town Trail' provides the basis for an easy walking tour of the port of Stranraer and provides a written commentary explaining the more accessible historic features. Just click their map to start your journey.
These sculpted stones confirm the existence of an important early Christian church at Kirkmadrine, near Sandhead (signposted from the road). The three stones are amongst the oldest Christian memorials surviving in Scotland. Incidentally, the oldest memorial can also be found in Dumfries and Galloway - the Latinus Stone, at Whithorn Priory and Museum. Recently returned to the church following restoration, these rare and sacred objects are well worth a visit, and the church is in a beautiful and peaceful setting.
Founded in around 1192, Glenluce is situated in a beautiful and peaceful valley. The south transept is a well-preserved fragment of 13th-century Cistercian church architecture and the later chapter house, built around 1500 and still roofed and entire, has finely preserved architectural features. The museum of monastic life features a fascinating collection of artefacts found during clearance work.
Tip: Easily combined with a visit to Glenwhan Gardens.
|Whithorn Priory and Museum
One of the earliest Christian sites in Scotland, Whithorn was traditionally held to be founded by St Ninian in the 5th or 6th century. In the 12th century a priory was built here and became the cathedral church of Galloway. Whilst little of the Priory survives today, visitors may still follow the pilgrimage route taken by medieval pilgrims to visit the shrine of St Ninian located in the vault of the Priory.
St Ninians Chapel
The chapel lies just beyond the harbour at the Isle of Whithorn and was built around 1300. It was designed for use by pilgrims coming ashore from their boats en route to the shrine of St Ninian at Whithorn. A ‘Witness Cairn’ has been created at the entrance to the field where the chapel stands, to which modern pilgrims are invited to add stones. Beside it is a bench commemorating the young fishermen from the Isle of Whithorn who were killed when their boat, the Solway Harvester, sank in 2000.
It's a day trip from Port Logan to the Isle, but well worth it, as the drive along the shores of Luce Bay is lovely with lots of interesting places to stop including Port William (with a nice harbour, and unique photo opportunity!) and Monreith (with a lovely beach and the Otter memorial to author Gavin Maxwell). There's a great pub on the quayside at the Isle, the Steam Packet Inn, where you can have lunch.
About 3 miles down the coast is 'St Ninian's Cave' Reached on foot from a car park at Physgill - you walk through the woods and then by a stream until you reach the beach with the cave at the north end which St Ninian and his successors used as a retreat in the 6th and 7th centuries. The cave is still a place of pilgrimage for Christians. For film buffs, the cave also features in the cult 60s horror film, the Wicker Man.
|We have a triumvirate! All worth a visit and a photo!
Situated at the northernmost tip of the Rhins, at the head of Loch Ryan. Commissioned in 1815, the lighthouse oversees the busy entrance to the Loch, and the North Chanel towards Arran and the Mull of Kintyre. Arran and the Kintyre Peninsula can be seen from the lighthouse in fine weather along with Ailsa Craig, Ireland and the Firth of Clyde. It's also a great place to watch the ferries entering and leaving Loch Ryan as they pass very near. The Lighthouse keeper's house has been converted into a small and very unique luxury hotel and restaurant.
|Mull of Galloway Lighthouse
The most Southerly lighthouse in Scotland, and one of the most spectacular. Built by Robert Stevenson in 1828, the lighthouse is perched on top of sheer cliffs, with views over Cumbria and the Isle of Man (and even Wales on a very clear day). Unlike the other two lighthouses, if you are feeling fit, you can climb to the top of this one as it is open to visitors. It's a working lighthouse, though now controlled automatically. Also, there is the RSPB reserve, Mull of Galloway exhibition about the history of the lighthouse, and the Gallie Craig Cafe to refuele. So you can easily spend a full day here. Admission charges apply to the lighthouse and exhibition.
There is also self-catering holiday accommodation sited within the Lighthouse walls, next to the Stevenson Lighthouse, see the following link for details.
The youngest of the three lighthouses, Killantringan began operating in 1900. North of Portpatrick, the lighthouse overlooks the North Channel. Sadly the light was decommissioned in 2005, but the setting is still dramatic, and there's a beautiful wild bay and rocky shore to explore.
The lighthouse keepers cottage and other buildings have recently been used as holiday accommodation.
Castle of St John
The Castle of St John is a medieval tower house in the centre of Stranraer, built around 1500 by the Adairs of Kilhilt. Over the centuries, the Castle has been used as a home, a local court, a military garrison and a prison. There are helpful guides on hand to show you around and answer any questions, and there are also videos and reconstructions telling the story of the castle over the centuries. It's worth the climb to the top as there is a great view of the Town. Just a small warning, the ground floor is easily accessible, but the stone steps throughout the rest of the building are very steep and narrow in places.
Castle Clanyard is pretty much a ruin, so don't expect too much, if you do visit! However, there is an interesting legend attached to this Castle built in the 16th century, which apparently in its day was the largest and most splendid in the area.
Another ruin, but at least it still looks like a castle! Dunskey is a 12th century tower house or castle, located just south of Portpatrick. You can see it from the road, but it is worth the walk (which is signposted) to see it close up. It featured in quite a few scenes in the BBC series '2000 Acres of Sky'