The town of Stranraer is the main focal point of the Rhins, with the natural harbour of Loch Ryan. The harbour has been an important element of the development and growth of the town, with roots tracing back in history. Most notably ‘The Battle of Loch Ryan’ 1307 during the Scottish Wars of Independence. The harbour is home to one of the last, wild native oyster beds in Scotland, fished sustainably by Loch Ryan Oyster Fishery Co. Ltd. The area’s unique seafood heritage inspired the first Oyster Festival held in Stranraer in 2017. The harbour has also played an important part for connecting Scotland with Ireland by ferry. Additionally, there are key transport links from Stranraer taking you further north into Scotland or further south, by rail and coach.
Ardwell is a small village in the southern part of the Rhins, nestled in Luce Bay, 10.3 miles from Stranraer. The bay at Ardwell has car parking facilities and picnic benches. Ardwell is home to a landscape designed developed by Ardwell House which is accessible to the public. In 1901 Ardwell House formed a loch which now showcases the ‘pond walk’. Ardwell village has numerous self-catering options and a local shop.
Drummore is the most southernly village in Scotland and the last stop before the Mull of Galloway, 16.6 miles from Stranraer. The village has a small beach with views overlooking Luce Bay with an accessible car park. Luce Bay is renowned for sea fishing, the harbour at Drummore has chance for sea fishing day trips. There are several self-catering options in and around Drummore, a local shop, play park, café, and pubs.
Leswalt is a small village 3.8 miles from Stranraer. In Leswalt you will find Angew Monument found at the Iron Age hillfoot of Tor of Craigoch and the Aldouran wetland garden and woodland trails. Leswalt has a well-stocked local shop and play park.
Portpatrick is on the west coastline of the Rhins, 7.6 miles from Stranraer. With spectacular views Portpatrick is a tourist favourite. To one side of the village, along the cliff tops stands the ruins of Dunskey Castle and to the other side is Killantrigan lighthouse a short walk from the village. There are many accommodation options in Portpatrick from hotels to caravans to self-catering, with many dining options! Portpatrick boasts its own play park, bowling club, putting green, 18 Hole golf course, several gift shops, and local shops.
Cairnryan is a small village on the A77 road 6.4miles from Stranraer. The A77 takes you to and from Ayr, Glasgow, and further north. Cairnryan is home to the two ferry ports Stena Line & P&O Ferries with links to Northern Ireland. There is a functioning lighthouse in Cairnryan which was automated in 1964. The lighthouse is visible from Cairn Point but not accessible to public. There is a caravan park in Cairnryan and several B&Bs.
Dunragit is a small village, 6.3 miles from Stranraer, which has been bypassed in recent years. The bypass is part of the A75, which takes you further into Galloway, Dumfries and South. Nevertheless, the road to Dunragit takes you to Glenwhan Gardens. A family run gardens & arboretum, with a tea room on site. Open Daily (seasonally) from 10am – 5:30pm.
Port Logan is south of the Rhins, 13.7 miles from Stranraer. The village dates to the 17th century and was developed by the Laird at the time. A fishpond was also created from the natural features of the coastline, which allows visitors to feed fish. The beach at Port Logan is great for swimming, with mild temperatures in the summer months, there is also opportunity for Paddle Boarding.
Sandhead stretches across Luce Bay, 7.4 miles south of Stranraer. Sandhead beach is popular amongst locals and visitors for its sandy beach reaching more than a mile. There are picnic benches on a grass banking beside plentiful car parking before going onto the beach. Sandhead is also home to caravanning and camping parks, with on site activities and events. The village also has a few cafés, a hotel restaurant, play park and a local shop.
Castle Kennedy is a small village on the A75 road, 3.2 miles from Stranraer. The A75 road takes you to and from areas in Galloway, Dumfries, and further south. Castle Kennedy is home to Castle Kennedy Gardens and Lochinch Castle of Stair Estates. The Gardens are open daily from 10am to 5pm and host many activities throughout the season that are bookable online. Castle Kennedy also has Green Valley 6 Hole Golf Course and Driving Range open Wednesday – Sunday. Castle Kennedy has a petrol station with a shop.
Kirkcolm is a small village 6.6 miles north of Stranraer on the east bay of Loch Ryan. The village has several walking paths with public access. From Kirkcolm you can get to Corsewall lighthouse, the lighthouse is at the north of the Rhins and which now functions as a hotel. From this viewpoint you can see Alisa Craig, Arran, and Mull of Kintyre. Soleburn garden centre and tearoom can be found on the way to Kirkcolm.
Mull of Galloway
Iconic in its setting, the Mull of Galloway is the most southernly point in Scotland, 20.8 miles from Stranraer. The Mull of Galloway experience entails lighthouse tours, an RSPB centre, and the Gallie Craig Coffee House. The is also self-catering accommodate at the Mull of Galloway. There are serval walking paths around the cliff tops to take in the 360 views, sandy beaches, and a plenty opportunity for wildlife spotting!
Stoneykirk is a small residential village in the Rhins, 5 miles from Stranraer. The Church in the village is thought to date back to 12th – 14th century, in honour of St. Stephen. The Torrs Warren Country House Hotel was also a former vicarage. Today the village has an aviation museum open to visitors on Sundays.