Things to do in Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway
There has been a settlement at Castle Douglas for centuries with the remains of two Roman forts nearby.
Threave Castle was built by Archibald the Grim in the 1370s in the form of a defensive Tower House with a chapel. It was the seat of the Earls of Douglas.
From the early 1600s Castle Douglas was an important stopping point for travellers on the military road to Portpatrick, built by James I of Scotland.
The town changed its name from Carlingwark to Castle Douglas in 1792 in honour of Sir William Douglas who laid out a new street plan and rebuilt the town. It has still retained the grid pattern with three long parallel streets, King Street, Queen Street and Cotton Street linked by intersecting roads.
The newly built town became a centre for hand-spun cotton although eventually it could not compete with the industrialised cotton spinning mills established at New Lanark during the Industrial Revolution.
The town's importance as a coaching stop led to many large coaching inns being built in the 1800s. Many of the pubs along the A75 were originally built for this purpose.
In 1859 the railway helped the town develop as a large market town. The hexagonal market building is still in use at the east end of the town and together with the huge stock yards date back to 1900.
Present Day Castle Douglas
Castle Douglas is an important regional centre for this rural area and has a population of around 3,600. It is a popular centre with tourists, making a good base for exploring the surrounding area.
King Street is the main street for shopping with many speciality businesses operating along the broad street along with a local brewery. It has some imposing buildings and historic landmarks. The octagonal clock on King Street marks the site of a steeple and town house which burned down in 1935.
The nearby red brick Town Hall was built in 1863. The town had five churches including the Parish Church in Queen Street. The former parish church was converted into a playhouse in 1992.
They surround the impressive Threave House; the interiors have been restored to their appearance in the 1930s.
A new Countryside Centre in the old stables of the estate, highlights nature conservation, forestry and agriculture at Threave.
Threave Castle is in a stunning location on its own island in the River Dee. Access is by a ferry, after a ½ mile walk from the car park along a farm path.
The ferrymen double up as knowledgeable guides of the castle, adding to the interest of a visit to this Historic Scotland monument.