Kippford is such a beautiful village you will find you will not wish to stray far. Secretly tucked at the top of the Urr Eastuary on the lovely 'Scottish Riviera' of the Solway Firth coast.
Many walks start right from the front door: start with the footpaths lead to the neighbouring village of Rockcliffe, and to the forest behind.
There is a lushness and warmth to the area, which has attracted comparisons with Cornwall. Time really does go slow and everything seems much simpler.
We are however not far from the important things in life. There are good meals to be had in our great local seafront pubs (5 mins walk), shopping in Castle Douglas, cakes and coffee at the Garden Café in Rockcliffe, 7stanes mountain bike trail at Dalbeattie, the artist town of Kirkcudbright, local crafts and galleries to visit and lots more.
You have to go a bit farther afield for shopping here as Kippford is only a small village, howver there is the ARK about five cottages along, selling a variety of gifts, postcards, ice creams and a selection of local foods. And for those that have forgotten to bring their wellies, you can find a selection of nautical bits and bobs and outdoor clothing in the Kippford Slipway chandlery in the village.
Further afield there is shopping in Dalbeattie and Castle Douglas.
Groceries & Wine
Colvend Shop - great local shop where you can get a reasonable selection of groceries, freshly baked bread and wine, open every day till 6pm, only 2 miles from Kippford.
Butchers at Neilson Brothers - great local butchers famed for their pies too!
A good selection of butchers, delis, bakers and more can be found in Castle Dougles, the regions 'food town' about 7 miles west of Kippford.
Banks, post offices and chemists can be found in both Dalbeattie and Castle Douglas.
Sports, Clothing, Galleries, Collectibles & Pets
MPG Cycles - great selection of bikes to buy, bike hire, bike bits and repairs at the old filling station at the southern end of the Main Street, Dalbeattie.
McGill Duncan Gallery - one of our must visit galleries when staying here is this lovely gallery run by two very friendly owners who we always stop for a chat with, and to adore their lovely whippet puppies, oh and for the great selection of the best of Galloways contemporary art. Own Art scheme available here as well.
Galloway Gem and Craft Shop - a real treasure trove for all things art, craft, knitting, and gem related, and for the paint by numbers sets that are our holiday essential.
Designs Gallery - yet another favouriote shop in Castle Douglas; with art gallery, shop stuffed with lovely things and cafe for lunch and cakes with outside tables for good weather.
Antiques & Home - at the top end of the town, with another shop at the bottom end, restored antique furniture, lovely soft furnishings, and accessories, hard to leave without something.
Pet shop - there is an emporium for all things pet, horse and hen related at the top of Queen Street, just behind the Public Car Park at the top of Castle Douglas, very interesting. Outdoor clothing as well.
Barbarroch Pottery - just at the Junction where you turn off for Kippford at Barnbarroch is this pottery, very quirky pieces by ceramic artist Christine Smith, well worth a visit.
Garden Room Cafe (Rockcliffe) - Serving food and drinks all day till 4.30pm (Tuesday - Sat), wonderful homemade soups, quiches, cakes and light lunches with seating outside and inside, dogs are welcome at the outside tables too. A reward for the walk from Kippford and sustenance for the return trip!
Restaurants & Bars
Anchor Hotel - fine food and beer in this original coaching inn where we go regularly. Located right in the heart of the village, with the estuary across the road facing west for a sunset pint outside, not much is better in life. Snug bar with log fire for chillier nights. Serves locally brewed Criffel ale.
The Mariner Hotel - another fine spot for food and beer, again overlooking the estuary, we alternate between them when on holiday. Has tables outside and in with a play area to entain the younger ones when they cannot sit around any longer, leaving us to enjoy the views. As in the Anchor dogs are welcome here too, inside and out.
Carlo's - King Street, Castle Douglas for authentic fine italian dining, using the best local produce, cooked. Booking in advance is recommended.
Balcary Bay Hotel - for a special occasion or just a treat this hotel's restaurant is open to all for fine dining. It has a stunning secluded location set in lush coastal grounds with views across the bay to Hestan Island, whose history is steeped in smuggling.
Bladnoch Inn - if you are exploring further afield and happen to be in or near Bladnoch, stop at this old inn for a very good pub lunch. We have passed by several times when going to pick up stoves from Dowling Stoves, made right here in the village, also worth a look if you are here, across the river to the left.
We often find it hard to stay away from this little corner of the world, spending much time promenading up and down the waterside, with a varierty of dogs and bikes depending on how energetic we are feeling.
But even we know that sometimes you have to venture forth, so you have yet another excuse to potter along the front to unwind, again...
Galloway is just a paradise for walkers, with a gentle mild climate and gentle rolling hills, sound like perfect to me! There are a network of walks right from the cottage doorstep, which can take you to Rockcliffe on the Jubilee Path, on to Castlepoint, a great viewpoit where you can see across the Solway to the hills of Cumbria, and through the forest behind, really going as far as your legs can carry you. For the more challenging you can climb to the top of nearby hills, Screel or Criffel, two local peaks where the climb is rewarded with far reaching views across Galloway and beyond.
Rough Island - apart from May - June (due to ground nesting birds) this is a most usual walk, at low tide, across the shell causeway to the island. The island is somewhat overgrown now, but you can walk to the top, take a stone from the little beach on ths island for the cairn at the top. You can walk back to Rockcliffe over the mud flats, wellies recommended, and please do watch for the tide!
Visitors are very welcome at all the local golf courses. You can choose from the local 9 hole course just up the road at Craigieknowes to the more testing championship links course at Southerness Golf Club a few miles to the east. Check out their details at the links below:
Solway Yacht Club - The Urr estuary is a good sheltered spot for a bit of sailing, just check the tides times incase you run out of water. Try the Solway Yacht Club in the village for a temporary membership and use of the sailing clubs facilities.
Mountain Bike Trails
About a mile from the cottage is an access to one of the 7 Stanes bike trails, in Dalbeattie Forest. Here there are routes to suit all, from beginners trails to the more testing black trails, just beware 'The Slab' . Never disappoints.
For all things bike related head to Dalbeattie's bike shop MPG Cylces, there you can hire a bike, buy a bike and they will even fix your broken bikes.
Sightseeing & Attractions
Castles - We have several castles nearby. Threave Castle which sits on its own little island in the River Dee. The great medieval remains of Caerlaverock Castle sitting in its moat. The tower house of Cardoness Castle at Gateshouse of Fleet, well preserved and commanding quite a view.
Creetown Gem Rock Museum - a bit further afield, but very intersting is this little museum, a bit of a surprise as it is the largest private colection of gems, crystals, fossils and minerals in the world and very worthy of a visit. Good cafe here too for refuelling.
Cream of Galloway Visitor Centre - the luxury organic ice cream makers have an award winning visitor centre with a hugh adventure playground, bikes and carts to hire, a cafe where you can try every flavour of their fab ice cream and have lunch, tours of the factory and walks for your dogs. Will keep everyone occupied for a couple of hours and might even wear some out!
Chocolate Factory - at Tynholme run by the Cocoa Bean Coimpany, this is when youngsters of all ages can join a workshop to make a selection of chocolate delights, with a cafe and shop and play areas outside and inside for the kids, open 7 days, last entry to workshop 4pm.
Laggan Outdoors - outdoor fun for teenagers and adults at Gateshouse of Fleet, with options including archery, Segway trips, mountain balling and other delights. Check out the link for details.
Otter pools at Galloway Forest Park - one of our favourite places, when we can drag ourselves away from Kippford
Logan Fishpond - it is often the case that the more interesting and unusal you have to go that extra mile for, and the Logan Fishpond is a good example. It is probably about 2 hours from Kippford, but it is unique. It is hard to believe sometimes the extent some went to with an idea, but this pond was dug out over many years to be a fish larder for the big house at Logan House, in 1788! They even built a house for the Fishkeeper, and a bathing pool with its own changing house. Combine this with a trip to Logan Botanic Gardens for a truly good day out.