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Prime Location Dumfries Area Guide

‘The Queen of the South’, otherwise known as Dumfries, is a gentle place surrounded by some of the loveliest countryside in Scotland. It has a long, rather turbulent history, having seen its fair share of Picts, Britons, Saxons, Danes and Romans try and claim this southerly quarter of Scotland.

There are still plenty of signs of that history. The ancient Devorgilla Bridge dates from 1432 and still spans the river Nith in rather splendid fashion. Robert Burns – who ended his life here – has a significant presence in the town in the form of Robert Burns House and his mausoleum in St Michael’s churchyard. The town itself is full of buildings constructed from the imposing local red sandstone as well as pretty, white and grey terraced housing. Beyond Dumfries is one of the most spectacular coastlines in Scotland and the gorgeous forests and hills of the Southern Uplands.


The population of Dumfries has grown steadily since the middle of the last century and now stands at 32,000. It was once a busy market town with a prosperous port, but industry has declined in recent years.

While Dumfries couldn’t be described as deprived, the surrounding area is largely rural in nature with a sparse population and low average incomes.


Educational standards in Dumfries are high; the pass rate for higher stands at 76% while the standard grade pass is at 98.5%.

There are four secondary schools to choose from, including Dumfries Academy, Dumfries High School, Maxwelltown High School and St Joseph’s College.


Dumfries is at the intersection of a number of major roads. The A75 travels east towards Stranraer and the easterly tip of Dumfries and Galloway and south west towards the English border. The A76 goes north towards Ayr and the A701 north towards Glasgow.

Rail links are not great. Dumfries only has one station, with is served by the Glasgow South Western Line with routes to Glasgow, Carlisle and Newcastle. To get farther afield you would need to change at Carlisle for the West Coast Mainline to Edinburgh or England or at Glasgow for routes into the rest of Scotland.

Amenities and shopping

Dumfries has seen some hard times recently, and its fortunes weren’t helped by the abandonment of a multi-million pound redevelopment plan in 2008. A bypass has also helped to take some of the life out of the town centre.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. The attractive, pedestrianised centre boasts big names such as the newly opened Debenhams and the Loreburne Centre has a fair mix of chain stores such as Next and Sports Direct. Culture fares a little bit better here. Dumfries is home to the Theatre Royal, Scotland’s oldest theatre, the Dumfries Museum and the Aviation Museum, and a well regarded arts cinema in the Robert Burns Centre.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.

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