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The Knowe B&B

The Knowe, Carsphairn, Dumfries & Galloway, DG7 3TQ, United Kingdom
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Out & About

Knowe what shall we do today?

Whether you're staying at The Knowe B&B overnight or perhaps a while longer, there is definitely something to interest everyone, not too far away. Carsphairn is a pretty, rural village nestled amongst some of the most stunning, untouched countryside in Scotland.  It's also neighboured by many other interesting towns and villages each with something different to offer. So, once you have rested in luxury and comfort and enjoyed a hearty breakfast, why not use this handy ‘Out & About’ page to plan the rest of your time here?  We've tried to select the most popular activities and suggest some of the most interesting places situated a short distance away, start your adventure today!

Looking for Dinner options? Our personal recommendations for 'eating out' can be found at the very foot of this page....please scroll down

Knowe what's new?

Knowe what's new?


We agree, there is no better place to spend some quality 'me time' than SCOTLAND and in particular our very special, hidden corner of this amazing country. Don't delay, plan your stay today!

Galloway Forest Park

Galloway Forest Park

The Forest Park has everything you need for a great day out, whatever the time of year. Explore the rolling Galloway hills and glens and discover picturesque forest trails, three friendly visitor centres, wonderful wildlife and a long and colourful history. You can enjoy great walks, easy family cycling, exhilarating mountain biking or just sit back and soak up stunning loch and mountain views.

There are many events happening throughout the year, for more information

Spectacular Stargazing

Spectacular Stargazing

In 2009 The Galloway Forest Park was established as the first Dark Sky Park in the UK.  Now, stargazers from all over the world visit this region to view the clearest, unobstructed night skies in Western Europe!

Carsphairn is situated on the edge of the Forest Park and night skies in the village are stunning, with many constellations being visible with just the naked eye.  The Forestry Commission also suggest areas of the Forest Park, just a short drive away, which are ideal for stargazing. More details plus a whole program of events can be found on their website:

Situated north of Carsphairn, just off the A713 near Dalmellington, is the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory. This fantastic hilltop site, with state of the art facilities is perfect for stargazing.  The Observatory holds public and private events throughout the year. To book your session or find out more, call 01292 551118 or visit

We love to meet star-gazers at The Knowe B&B. Because of this, we have constructed our very own 'STARPAD', an area of our garden, specifically designed to open up the star-spangled night sky to all our guests. Please feel free to bring your own telescope or borrow our binoculars. Wrap up warm.....the wonders of the universe await!

(Image: courtesy of Mark Tarrant)

Wonderful Wildlife

Wonderful Wildlife

The Knowe B&B is nestled amongst a varied landscape of dense woodland, sweeping hillsides and winding waterways, the perfect habitat for a varied mix of wildlife, whatever the season.   There are many species to be seen here including Red and Roe Deer, Badgers, Fox and Red Squirrels plus many bird species too. The beautiful and majestic Red Kite can be seen frequently across the stunning landscape of this area, plus Osprey and Buzzard too.

In 2003 The Galloway Kite Trail was created by the RSPB in Scotland in partnership with The Forestry Commission and Anne Johnstone of Bellymack Hill Farm.  The trail runs anticlockwise for approximately twenty four miles around Loch Ken which is situated just a twenty minute drive from The Knowe B&B.  There are six outdoor viewing points with interpretation boards along the route, nine walks, four hides and one feeding station and a visitor centre. A visit to the Feeding Station is a must, the birds are fed daily at 2pm, it’s a truly amazing sight to see. For more information visit the website;

The Red Deer Range, situated within The Galloway Forest Park, is another favourite with our guests. At 12pm most days The Ranger will feed the deer, this is the perfect opportunity to get 'up close and personal' with these beautiful creatures...make sure you have your camera handy!   For more information visit:

Plus, in our very own garden we enjoy a wide selection of garden birds. We also receive regular visits from a family of pheasants, a woodpecker, hedgehogs and a red squirrel.... Visit our Facebook Page and search #wildaboutwildlife



Whether you're planning a quick stroll or something more challenging, there are plenty of interesting walking routes to choose from.

Walking in Galloway Forest Park

The Galloway Forest Park has an abundance of walking opportunities and a handy map is available showing colour-coded walking routes, opening times and Visitor Centre facilities. Copy this address and pop it into your browser to download a pdf copy now?

Local Heritage Trails

The Carsphairn Heritage Group has designed a collection of Heritage Trails which take in nearby sites of historic interest as well as some dramatic views of the surrounding countryside.  Trail leaflets can be obtained from The Heritage Centre, which is situated just across the road from The Knowe B&B.

Hill Walking - Ordnance Survey Map #77

Carsphairn village lays between the majestic Cairnsmore of Carsphairn, the tallest of the three Cainsmore summits located in Dumfries and Galloway, and the beautiful Rhins of Kells, part of the Galloway Hills.  This entire area is noted for its abundance of hill walking opportunities and is made up of many peaks, trails, waterways and woodland. 

The Southern Upland Way

Is a 212 mile, coast to coast walk across Scotland from Portpatrick in the west to Cockburnspath in the east. It takes between 2-3 weeks to complete depending on your experience and fitness level. The walk is divided into manageable sections and the section between St. John’s Town of Dalry and Sanquhar passes through Carsphairn’s north western boundary, not far from The Knowe Bed and Breakfast. Taking in stunning views of Cairnsmore of Carsphairn, Benninner and the Water O’Ken.



There is nowhere more suited to cycling than Dumfries and Galloway, after all, the rear wheel driven bicycle was born here!

Nearby routes - Ordnance Survey Landranger Map #73

The mix of scenic countryside, vast forest estates and the abundance of relatively quiet lanes are perfect for cycling.  Carsphairn Forest, which can be accessed from the A713 just north of The Knowe B&B, is perfect for mountain biking, its array of tracks and roads offer some great scenery and places of historical interest along the way. The B729 which leads from Carsphairn to Moniaive is also extremely popular with cyclists.  A little way long this quiet road you can take a right hand turn on to the B7000 which takes you to the neighbouring St Johns Town of Dalry, this route offers spectacular views of The Rhins of Kells looking out across the River Deugh and Carsfad Reservoir. 

Cycling Lands End to John O’Groats?

The Knowe B&B is the perfect stop-over when heading for Ardrossan to catch the ferry to Arran. We have secure storage for your bike and can arrange a tasty, two-course evening meal. This, plus the most comfortable beds and refreshing power showers around, is everything you might need to wind-down, relax and wake up ready for the next stage of your challenge!

Activity and Adventure

Activity and Adventure

For those guests looking for the thrills and spills of activity-based adventure then we have an abundance of nearby facilities to satisfy almost every adventure-seeker, here are our tried and tested favourites:-

Forrest Estate Experiences

Set in 11.000 acres of stunning Scottish countryside on a privately owned estate, this purpose-built Country Sports Activity Centre specialises in providing access and education to full range of country sports, including clay pigeon shooting, trout fishing, rifle and game shooting and deer stalking. For anyone who’s ever wanted to try country sports but wasn’t sure where to start Forrest Estate Experiences is exactly where you should begin. A.P.S.I qualified professional and friendly instruction is provided, and with over 25 years of experience in organising sporting activities for sportsmen and women from the UK and overseas, you will be in expert hands. You can tailor your choice of activity to suit your ability from absolute beginner to the more experienced sportsperson, all levels are catered for. 20 min drive from The Knowe B&B - For more information visit

Galloway Activity Centre

Located on the banks of breath-taking Loch Ken this all round wet and dry activity-based centre offers an abundance of things to do for families, groups, individuals and couples alike. All ages and abilities are catered for. Activities include: -  sailing, kayaking, wind-surfing, and stand-up paddle boarding plus the new ‘wobbly waterpark’. Also, combat laser games, climbing tower, zip-wire, archery and mountain biking! Also onsite the Waterfront Cafe offers stunning panoramic views of Loch Ken and across to Bennan Hill. 25 min drive from The Knowe B&B – For more information visit

Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology 2017

Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology 2017

From World Heritage Sites to ancient monuments, listed buildings to historic battlefields, cultural traditions to our myths, tales and legends, the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, running from 1 January to 31 December will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s fascinating past, some of our greatest figures, attractions and icons, as well as our hidden gems. For further information on events please visit

The history of our own beautiful home; 'The Knowe' is also steeped in intrigue and mystery with just a sprinkle of scandal for good measure! 

Click HERE to find out more. Or better still, book your stay today and come see for yourself.  

Heritage on the doorstep!

Heritage on the doorstep!

Carsphairn Heritage Centre (just across the road)

Open from Easter to late September, showing a different exhibition each year....

for 2017 it's..... 'THESE FOUR WALLS - Building Memories of a Community'.

The Heritage Centre is run by a voluntary group of local residents who have a collective interest in the history of Carsphairn and its surrounding area. You are always assured of a friendly welcome and a very informative chat....
Free Admission too, all donations gratefully received.

The Scottish Industrial Railway Centre (a 20 min drive, north on the A713)

Open most Sundays during the Summer

The Scottish Industrial Railway Centre is a 'living museum' where unique and historically significant industrial steam and diesel locomotives are restored and can be seen working in an authentic setting. Take a ride on a steam locomotive!

For more information on admission prices and 'Steam Days' visit the website:-

Horse Racing

Horse Racing

The Knowe B&B is ideally located just a 30 minute drive from the famous Ayr Racecourse, the only Grade 1 track in Scotland which hosts both first class jumps racing and top flat racing. 

Ayr Racecourse stages more than 30 fixtures throughout the year including the 'Coral Scottish Grand National' in April and the 'William Hill Ayr Gold Cup' in September, plus much much more!

So why not race on over to The Knowe and make a break of it?

For the full fixture list and tickets, visit: http://

(Image: 'Taking Liberties', courtesy of John Joyce)

Eating Out

Eating Out

We can recommend some lovely places to eat in the area, all have been road-tested by ourselves.  Whether you’re looking for Traditional Scottish Fayre, quirky Afternoon Tea, famous Fish n Chips or something more exotic, there’s a good choice of pubs, restaurants, tearooms and takeaways not too far away. 

Please note: There are no evening eating places in our village. If you are planning to arrive later in the evening, it may be advisable to eat on route.

Carsphairn Shop and Tearooms  just a 2 min stroll along the road - serving tasty hot and cold snacks and daily specials in a lovely light and airy space. The garden has spectacular views across the Galloway Hills, the perfect place to sit on a sunny day and eat cake!   NEW in 2017 - on the last Friday evening of each month the Tearoom is transformed into '7.1.3 Pop-up Bistro', fully licenced and with a different themed menu each time. Booking is strongly advised, please call Lindsay on 01644 460568

The Clachan Inn - situated in St Johns Town of Dalry has established itself with great food and drink, and friendly, attentive service to match. Enjoy a real ale or craft beer by the log fire before ordering your meal. A very relaxed traditional Scottish Inn with a cosy atmosphere...perfect!  Booking is advisable, especially on a weekend. (15 min drive) Tel: 01644 430241

The Ken Bridge Hotel – has a very pretty riverside location. The hotel’s restaurant is noted for its good food and real ales. Each Sunday, lunch is a veritable feast with the renowned Ken Bridge Carvery. (20 min drive). Tel: 01644 420211

The Roundhouse Cafe – is situated on the banks of stunning Loch Doon and offers a great selection of hot and cold drinks and snacks. With covered outside seating, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a bite to eat amongst some of the most breath-taking scenery in the area, whatever the weather. During the Spring and early Summer nesting Osprey can be seen here! (20 min drive).

The Hollybush Inn - located north of Carsphairn around 6 miles from Ayr, in the heart of the Ayrshire countryside. Ideally situated if you're travelling from Glasgow and the North as you will pass it on-route. A perfect retreat to enjoy good food in a relaxing atmosphere overlooking the spectacular Carrick Hills.  The menu is extensive and very reasonably priced. (25 min drive) Tel: 01292 560017

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