Top 10 things to do in Galloway Forest Park and a guide for visiting

April 29, 2021

Are you looking for things to do in Galloway Forest Park? If so – keep reading.

Are you looking for things to do in Galloway Forest Park? If so, we’ve got a great list of activities you can do in this area! Galloway Forest Park is an extremely popular part of Scotland to visit. Often called “the Highlands of the Lowlands”, this wonderful, wooded area is one of the loveliest places to visit in Britain. However, if you’re not exactly familiar with the Galloway Forest Park region, then you might be wondering what are the best things to do in Galloway Forest Park!

Well, never fear, for we’ve created a great list of the top 10 things to do in Galloway Forest Park as well as a few top tips to make your visit a bit easier. 

So, whether you’re heading to Galloway Forest Park to relax or up your activity level a touch, you’re sure to find plenty of things to do in this part of Scotland for the whole family! Here are some of my favourite things to do in Galloway Forest Park.


10 things to do in Galloway Forest Park


Head to one of the visitor centers in Galloway Forest Park

One of the best things to do in Galloway Forest Park if you’re a new visitor is to head to one of the three visitor centers. 

The Kirroughtree is at the gate of the Forest Park, so it’s a really great place to start for most visitors. However, if you want to focus more on the forest’s woodlands then you’re better off starting at the Glentrool center. Clatteringshaws is the final option at which to start your journey, and we recommend heading here if you’re looking to get on a mountain bike! This is definitely one of the best things to do in Galloway Forest Park, as it gives you a great idea of the area.


Go on an amazing hike!

Next on my list of things to do in Galloway Forest Park, is hiking! One of the top things to do in Galloway Forest Park is to head out on a great hike. You’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of options for visitors, and the trails here vary in difficulty, so you certainly won’t get bored! One of the best options for trekkers is the Glen Trool circuit. On this hike, you can take in the best views of Merrick (which just so happens to be the highest peak within the Galloway Forest), so it’s the perfect way to both see the best of the area and get your exercise in!

If you love a bit of history, then you might prefer the Talnorty Trail. This hike brings you past the monument of Alexander Murray who became Professor of Oriental Languages at Edinburgh University. Realistically, whatever you’re looking to see, there’s a hike that will bring you right past it! So, just enjoy the views and the fresh air folks! This is a great option for things to do in Galloway Forest Park!

Read more: What is the best way to see the Scottish Highlands


Dark Skies

Next on my list of things to do in Galloway Forest Park, it’s stargazing. Something that you absolutely must-do if you visit Galloway Forest Park is the Dark Skies. As there is so little pollution in this area, you can see an amazing array of stars on a cloudless night. If you’re extremely lucky, you might even be able to see the amazing Aurora Borealis.

If you’ve got the chance, you should make the most of the experience by heading to the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory. Located on a hilltop at the edge of the forest, you’ll be able to get a clear view of the night sky by using two powerful telescopes. Trust us, it’s worth the detour! If you love the great outdoors, then this is a perfect choice of things to do in Galloway Forest Park for you!


Go deer spotting at Red Deer Range

Another great choice for things to do in Galloway Forest Park is to go deer spotting at Red Deer Range. As you might have guessed, Red Deer Range is the perfect place in Galloway Forest Park to spot elusive deer! There are around 60 deer living in the woodland area, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled.

Though you obviously don’t want to have flash on when taking photos of wildlife, we do recommend you snap a picture or two if you spot deer in the area. Be sure to keep an eye out for scheduled events that run without the year – often rangers will go out with visitors and teach you more about the local wildlife. This is such a wonderful choice for things to do in Galloway Forest Park, and it’s so memorable too.


Threave Castle

Next on my list of things to do in Galloway Forest Park, it’s Threave Castle. If you’ve got the chance to venture slightly outside of the park area, then we highly recommend checking out Threave Castle. This castle was built in the 1370s by Archibald the Grim and is one of Scotland’s oldest monuments. To reach Threave Castle, you just need to head across the River Dee and you’ll be there in no time! If you’re looking for things to do in Galloway Forest Park with a bit of history – then you’ll love it.


See some amazing flora 

Next up on my list of things to do in Galloway Forest ParkGalloway Forest Park is full of amazing things to do, and one of our favorites is just to explore the area’s amazing flora. Most of the trees here are evergreen, but you will see some birch and larch trees dotted around too! If the huge trees don’t have enough of that wow-factor for you, then you’re sure to enjoy the area’s heather and gorse. Depending on when you choose to visit, you’ll be treated to several seasonal offerings too, it’s such a wonderful choice for things to do in Galloway Forest Park.


Go wild camping!

Wild camping is next on my list of things to do in Galloway Forest Park! This is such a gorgeous activity! If you fancy a proper adventure, then you might want to consider adding some wild camping to your list of things to do in Galloway Forest Park. You don’t need permits to park here, so just bring along your tent, some airbeds, and some other home comforts to enjoy Galloway Forest Park as nature intended. If you happen to own a caravan, there are also a few great caravan parks nearby too! If you love the great outdoors then this is an amazing choice for things to do in Galloway Forest Park.


Go mountain biking in Galloway Forest Park!

Are you a bit of a daredevil? Well then, be sure to grab your mountain bike and head down to Galloway Forest Park for some adrenaline-fueled fun! This is the perfect choice for things to do in Galloway Forest Park!

There are two internationally renowned 7stanes mountain biking trail centers that span the south of Scotland near Galloway Forest Park, so you’re in great hands if you choose to bike here. If you really fancy a challenge and are skilled enough to do so, you should take on the black-graded Black Craigs. This trail is not for unskilled riders or the faint-hearted – so try at your own risk!


Try your hand at fishing in Galloway Forest Park!

If you fancy yourself a bit of an angler, then one of the best things for you to do in Galloway Forest Park is to go fishing! Weekly permits to fish in selected lochs are only around £35, and while you might argue that it’s cheaper just to buy some fish, you sure don’t get the same experience as you would catching your own! If you are planning to fish, we recommend visiting Galloway Forest Park between March and September as this will allow you to catch a decent number of fish outside of the spawning season. This is a lovely choice for things to do in Galloway Forest Park.


Relax with an afternoon tea at The Old Colfin Creamery

There’s nothing better than a chilled-out afternoon tea, and The Old Colfin Creamery offers one of the best in the area! Offering some of the most delicious scones around, the afternoon teas here are truly to die for! 


Top tips for visiting Galloway Forest Park!


What’s the easiest way to reach Galloway Forest Park?

The easiest way to reach Galloway Forest Park is by car. Whether you’re heading in from London or Glasgow, you’ll be able to access the park easily by parking up and walking in!

Do I need a fishing license in Galloway Forest Park?

As we’ve mentioned above, be sure to get those fishing licenses if you’re planning on fishing here. It’s never good to be caught out!

Let kids take rest breaks!

Leave plenty of time for kids to catch their breath. We know that little ones are brimming with energy but if they get tired halfway through a hike, you’ll never hear the end of it! So, if you’re heading on one of the heftier walks, pack plenty of snacks, drinks, sunscreen, hats, and the like. Trust us, it’s always better to be overprepared than underprepared on a big walk!

Look out for midges at Galloway Forest Park!

Seriously, these little guys are literally everywhere, and they can make a lovely day quite unpleasant if you’re not careful. Though you can be well covered up with a long-sleeved shirt, we highly recommend applying a great repellent too to avoid any unpleasant bites. 


Hopefully this list of things to do in Galloway Forest Park has been helpful!

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