The chambered burial cairns above Wigtown Bay date back to neolithic times, while Christianity first touched Scotland at Whithorn.There is a cluster of resplendent ruined abbeys, along with the moated remains of Caerlaverock Castle and some grand 18th-century country houses, set amid spawling estates; in stark contrast to the latter is the model industrial town of New Lanark, a designated World Heritage Site.
The interiors are sumptuous, theestate a mixture of formal gardens and terraces, kitchen gardens, woodland and farmland.. An award-winning and hugely popular gastropub with four neat B&B rooms (£50-£90 double incl breakfast), the Sorn Inn sits in the eponymous village of Sorn, 14 miles inland from Ayr on the B743, via Mauchline.
The cooking can be quite ambitious: confit of rib of beef with smoked hickory potatoes, vegetables, merlot and thyme jus, for example.
A 212-mile footpath runs from coast to coast, through dramatic scenery and rolling hills, while the mighty River Tweed is renowned for its salmon fishing, and there are world-famous golf courses at Troon and Turnberry.
Men have made their mark on the landscape for centuries.
Like Glasgow over in the west, Edinburgh does have its pockets of poverty and problem housing estates – this is Trainspotting country, after all – but it is also a prosperous, cosmopolitan city, attracting incomers from all over Scotland and further afield. See the full Time Out Edinburgh city site The Zoo has been delighting visitors for almost a century.