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Out & About

Knowe what shall we do today?

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 one of our comfortable, individually designed guest bedrooms and enjoyed a hearty breakfast, why not use this handy ‘Out & About’ page to plan the rest of your time here? We've personally road-tested the most popular activities and attractions and suggested some of the most interesting places situated a short distance away. Everything you need to start your adventure today! If you can't find what you're looking for, then please get in touch, we would be happy to assist you further. Simply email your questions to:

Looking for Dinner options? Our personal recommendations for 'eating out' can be found below.....

Eating Out

Eating Out

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. Due to recent COVID-19 precautionary measures, some eating places may be working with restricted physical distancing. Therefore it is strongly advised to book in advance.

Carsphairn Shop and Tearooms  2 min stroll along the road - serving tasty hot and cold snacks in a lovely light and airy space. The garden has spectacular views across the Galloway Hills. On the last Friday evening of each month the Tearoom offers a 'Dinner Bistro Menu', fully licenced to serve alcohol and showcasing different themes each time. Booking is essential. Please contact Lindsay on 01644 460568, or visit their website:

The Clachan Inn, DG7 3UW - situated in St Johns Town of Dalry offers 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 strongly advised, often busy. (15 min drive) Tel: 01644 430241

The Hollybush Inn, KA6 6EZ - located closer to 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. The menu is extensive and great value. (30 mins drive) Tel: 01292 560017 

The Kirkton Inn, KA6 6DF - located in Dalrymple. Boasting a wide range of traditional Scottish dishes with a modern twist, plus a full vegan menu, all served in a light and airy, newly renovated, stylish setting. (30 mins drive) Tel: 01292 502123

Piccola Italia, DG3 4HN - Situated in the picturesque village of Moniaive. This quaint traditional Italian restaurant serves authentic mediterranean cuisine in a cosy atmosphere. (30 mins drive) Tel: 01848 200400

The Roundhouse Cafe, KA6 7QE – situated on the banks of Loch Doon offering a great selection of hot and cold drinks and snacks. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a bite to eat amongst some of the most breath-taking scenery in the area. (20 min drive).

Cafe at Clatteringshaws, DG7 3SQ - situated on the banks of Clatteringshaws in the heart of The Galloway Forest Park, a wonderful spot for a scenic walk and a tasty bite to eat. (30 min drive).



The Knowe B&B have been proud members of 'Visit South West Scotland' for many years. We are dedicated to promoting Tourism within our beautiful corner of Scotland and we share this passion with many other tourism related businesses across our region.  There is an abundance of information available on their website to help you plan your check-in and be inspired today: 

Discover a place that relaxes your soul, fires your imagination and invites you to linger as you make holiday memories that will last a lifetime.  South West Scotland is a place steeped in history and filled with unique experiences in a magnificent landscape that's a joy to explore....again and again!

"So easy to reach, so hard to leave"

South West Coastal 300 (SWC300)

South West Coastal 300 (SWC300)

The South West Coastal 300 is a superb circular route of just over 300 miles, taking in much of the stunning landscape and seascape that this wonderful corner of Scotland has to offer. The Knowe B&B is centrally situated for exploring each section of the route, whilst relaxing in the knowledge that you can return to the same stylish, comfortable, surroundings each night during your trip. So don't waste precious time searching for numerous accommodations along the route when you can be sure of a friendly welcome every evening back at The Knowe.

For additional information, photographs and a detailed version of this amazing driving/cycling route, visit the webpage:

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. 

We highly recommend the 'Red Deer Range' situated on The Queens Way plus the wonderful wildlife and bird hide located at Kirroughtreee Visitor Centre, especially if you want to see red squirrels!

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

Spectacular Stargazing

Spectacular Stargazing

In November 2009 The Forestry Commission Scotland established part of Galloway Forest Park as the first 'Dark Sky Park' in the UK. Now star-gazers from all over the world visit this part of South West Scotland to view the clearest, unobstructed, almost light pollution free night skies in Western Europe. There are few areas of the world awarded 'Dark Sky Status'; other Dark Sky Parks include areas of Utah and Pennsylvania in the USA and another in Hungary.

The Knowe B&B is situated in Carsphairn on the North Eastern edge of the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park and the night skies over the village are simply stunning, with many constellations visible to the naked eye. The Forestry Commission also suggest several areas of the Forest Park, just s short drive away, which are ideal for viewing these amazing night skies. Details can be found on their website:

Just north of Carsphairn, following the A713 towards Dalmellington are signposts for The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory. This fantastic hilltop site, a short drive from the main road, is perfect for star-gazing. The observatory is open to the public, amateur astronomers, groups, clubs, schools and universities and it's aim is to introduce stargazers of all ages and backgrounds to the wonders of the Universe! The observatory holds public and private events every week and prices vary depending on the activity.  Pre-booked sessions are essential. For more information visit their website:

If you're interested in the stars you haven't seen anything until you've experienced the spectacular view of a 'Dark Sky' sky. Due to the low level of light pollution the skies above The Knowe B&B are simply stunning and not to be missed.....even our street lights are special. Enjoy our very own 'Star-pad'; an area of our garden dedicated to viewing the night sky. Wrap up warm, borrow our binoculars or bring your own telescope and let the stars do the rest!

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. 

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?

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

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:

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

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