Entertainment and Visitor Attractions in the Newton Stewart area
Newton Stewart Cinema
The Cinema, with its classic art-deco frontage, is a prominent feature of Victoria Street. This is a community-owned facility showing recently-released films, which also provides a venue for “live” theatre, concerts and shows at intervals throughout the year. Superb facility accommodating 240. May be booked for private functions and screenings.
Newton Stewart Museum
Museum website – for opening times & further information.
Housed in the former St John’s Church, the Museum contains a wealth of historical treasures, photographs & atrefacts, with exciting and interesting displays of the natural and social history of Galloway.
Run entirely by volunteers, to provide an informative, memorable and entertaining experience for visitors and locals alike. Help with local family history and group visits can be arranged.
For details of the other museums in the region, visit the D&G Museums website.
Visitor Centres in Galloway Forest Park
This great forest covers an area of 293 square miles and areas are being developed for public use, as an activity area with marked trails for walking & mountain biking, star-gazing events, sculptures and picnic areas. There are 3 Visitor Centres: Glentrool (right), Clatteringshaws, and Kirroughtree
The Taylor Collection at Barraer
This charts the advancement of agricultural production, with a local twist, from subsistence farming to post-war mechanisation. A unique compilation of agricultural implements from scythes and ploughs to tractors and hay balers, many with intriguing stories attached. Come and hear the story straight from the Farmer’s mouth! Enjoy the wonderful views to the Galloway Hills.
Please phone to arrange a visit: 01671 402184, or visit the Taylors’ website.
Wigtown Book Town
Scotland’s National Book Town is only 7 miles from Newton Stewart, with 15 book related businesses. The Scottish Book Town Festival takes place at the end of September, with various other events throughout the year including the Book Town Spring Weekend. Street markets are held on Saturdays from spring till autumn.
Creetown Gem Rock Museum
Experience this world class collection of gemstones, crystals, fossils, rocks and minerals. A fully interactive museum in Creetown, 6 miles from Newton Stewart, with lots to see and do for all the family. As well as the fascinating collection, there is a gift shop, study facilities and a cafe serving delicious lunches and refreshments.
Cream o Galloway, Gatehouse of Fleet
Fabulous adventure play for adults and children to play together with Flying Fox, Pedal Karts, Go Boing and indoor play area with an ‘under 6s’ corner. Famous for luxury homemade ice cream, the centre has a tearoom, garden and nature trails. Book for the daily Ice Cream Tasting event at 1.30pm and for Finlay’s Farm & Creamery Tour at 2.45pm. Charges apply for playground entry and tours. Open daily from late March to end of October. For other times & more details, see the website.
Kirkdale Water-driven Sawmill and Nature Trail
Restored estate sawmill, dating from the 1800s, driven by an over-shot water wheel. Visitors can enjoy a walk up the wooded glen alongside the mill lade to the mill pond.
Open April – September, Mondays from 1- 4pm.
Other times by appointment.
The CatStrand, New Galloway – Arts, Community & Visitor Centre
Exhibitions, film, theatre, live music, local arts & crafts, tourist information, cafe, shop and more …
Open 7 days/week, all year.
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History and Archaeology
The long history of human inhabitation of this part of the country and the fact that so little of it has been built over, means that Galloway has a wealth of historical and archaeological sites, ranging from prehistoric cairns and stone circles to old castles, abbeys, churches and ancient gravestones. Ordnance Survey maps identify the major sites and many of them are open to the public, with descriptive leaflets or display information boards.
Cairnholy and Torhouse Stone Circle are two notable examples.
Within a thirty-mile radius of Newton Stewart there are many castles, fortified buildings, brochs and tower houses. Good examples lie on the main A75 road and can be found at Carsluith, Cardoness, Threave, Glenluce and Stranraer.
Newton Stewart is an ideal base for exploring the region’s history and family ancestry.
Bruce’s Stone at Glentrool
King Robert Bruce, known to posterity as “Robert the Bruce”, vanquished the English forces at Bannockburn in 1314 and restored independence to Scotland. During Robert’s long campaign there were several battles in the vicinity of Newton Stewart, including one at Glen Trool (10 miles from the town) commemorated on the memorial shown on the left. Apart from its historical interest, this memorial sits in a spectacular location overlooking the loch, woodlands and surrounding hills.
One of Galloway’s major archaeological sites is the site in Whithorn of St. Ninians church, established in the 4th Century. The Whithorn Trust was set up in 1986 to explore the archaeology and history of Whithorn, and it’s role in the evolution of Christianity in Scotland. The Visitor Centre includes a visual interpretation display of Whithorn through the ages, a souvenir shop, cafe and gallery, and a small museum next door which houses some of the important early Christian crosses found nearby.
A recently-constructed Iron Age Roundhouse, built to exact details from a local excavation, is the latest attraction in Whithorn with daily tours and occasional themed events.
There are many gardens open to the public in due season. Our mild climate favours tender species of plants. To describe the environment as semi-tropical is an exaggeration, but sites such as Logan Gardens on the Mull of Galloway, a dependency of the Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh, do exhibit exotic plants and trees from warm climates such as South Africa and South America.
Castle Kennedy on the A75 towards Stranraer, is worth a visit, not so much for the romantic, ivy clad ruins of the 1607 castle, destroyed by fire in 1716, but for the gardens. These gardens are renowned for their display of rhododendrons and azaleas and for the monkey puzzle avenue. Many gardens on the acid soils of this area are particularly noted for azaleas and rhododendrons in early summer. Glenwhan Garden, nearby in Dunragit, is also worth a visit. Many of the gardens offer refreshments and also plants for sale.
The Gardens of Galloway – Scotland’s Garden Route, 6 public gardens in the Wigtownshire
Gardens and Nurseries in South West Scotland
Scotland’s Gardens Scheme – public & private gardens open on particular days or by arrangement, to raise money for charities.