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Dumfries ( ) ( ) is a market town and former royal burgh within the Dumfries and Galloway council area of Scotlandmarker and is situated close to the Solway Firthmarker, near the mouth of the River Nithmarker. Dumfries was the county town of the former county of Dumfriesshiremarker. The name Dumfries is suggested by some to originate from the Scottish Gaelic name Dún Phris which means "Fort of the Thicket". People from Dumfries are known colloquially as Doonhamers.


Located on the east side of the lowest crossing point of the River Nith, no positive information has been obtained of the era and circumstances in which the town of Dumfries was founded.

Some writers hold that Dumfries flourished as a place of distinction during the Roman occupation of North Great Britainmarker. The Selgovae inhabited Nithsdale at the time and may have raised some military works of a defensive nature on or near the site of Dumfries; and it is more than probable that a castle of some kind formed the nucleus of the town. This is inferred from the etymology of the name, which, according to one theory, is resolvable into two Gaelic terms signifying a castle or fort in the copse or brushwood. The district around Dumfries was for several centuries ruled over and deemed of much importance by the invading Romans. Many traces of Roman presence in Dumfriesshire are still to be found; coins, weapons, sepulchral remains, military earthworks, and roads being among the relics left by their lengthened sojourn in this part of Scotland. The apostle Paul claimed rank and privilege as a Roman citizen on account of his birth at Tarsusmarker; the Caledonian tribes in the south of Scotland were invested with the same rights by an edict of Antoninus Pius. The Romanized natives received freedom (the burrows, cairns, and remains of stone temples still to be seen in the district tell of a time when Druidism was the prevailing religion) as well as civilization from their conquerors. Late in the fourth century, the Romans took farewell of the country.

According to another theory, the name is a corruption of two words which mean the Friars’ Hill; those who favour this idea alleging that St. Ninian, by planting a religious house near the head of what is now the Friars’ Vennel, at the close of the fourth century, became the virtual founder of the Burgh; however Ninian, so far as is known, did not originate any monastic establishments anywhere and was simply a missionary. In the list of British towns given by the ancient historian Nennius, the name Caer Peris occurs, which some modern antiquarians suppose to have been transmuted, by a change of dialect, into Dumfries.

Twelve of King Arthur's battles were recorded by Nennius in Historia Brittonum. The Battle of Tribruit (the 10th battle), has been suggested as having possibly been near Dumfries or near the mouth of the river Avon near Bo'nessmarker.

After the Roman departure the area around Dumfries had various forms of visit by Picts, Saxons, Scots and Danes culminating in a decisive victory for Gregory, King of Scots at what is now Lochmabenmarker over the native Britons in 890.

When, in 1069, Malcolm Canmore and William the Conqueror held a conference respecting the claims of Edward Atheling to the English Crown, they met at Abernithi – a term which in the old British tongue means a port at the mouth of the Nith. It has been argued, the town thus characterized must have been Dumfries; and therefore it must have existed as a port in the Kingdom of Strathclyde, if not in the Roman days. However, against this argument is that the town is situated eight to nine miles distant from the sea.

Although at the time a mile upstream and on the opposite bank of the Nith from Dumfries, Lincluden Abbey was founded circa 1160. The abbey ruins are on the site of the Bailey of the very early Lincluden Castle, as are those of the later Lincluden Tower. This religious house was used for various purposes, until its abandonment around 1700. Lincluden Abbey and its grounds are now within the Dumfries urban conurbation boundary.

William the Lion granted the charter to raise Dumfries to the rank of a Royal Burgh in 1186. Dumfries was very much on the frontier during its first 50 years as a burgh and it grew rapidly as a market town and port. The land west of the Nith, Galloway, only securely became part of Scotland during Alexander II's reign in 1234:

Alexander III visited Dumfries in 1264 to plan an expedition against the Isle of Manmarker, previously Scots but for 180 years subjected by the crown of Norwaymarker. Identified with the conquest of Man, Dumfries shared in the well being of Scotland for the next 22 years until Alexander's accidental death brought an Augustan era in the town's history to an abrupt finish.

A royal castle, which no longer exists, was built in the 13th century on the site of the present Castledykes Park. In the latter part of the century William Wallace chased a fleeing English force southward through the Nith valley. The English fugitives met the gates of Dumfries Castle that remained firmly closed in their presence. With a body of the town's people joining Wallace and his fellow pursuers when they arrived, the fleeing English met their end at Cockpool on the Solway Coastmarker. After resting at Caerlaverock Castlemarker a few miles away from the bloodletting, Wallace again passed through Dumfries the day after as he returned north to Sanquharmarker.

It was not from Galloway but from England that most of Dumfries' problems came during its first 500 years. English armies variously sacked, plundered or occupied the town in 1300, 1448, 1536, 1542, 1547, 1570: and it suffered again during the strife of the 1640s. In the invasion of 1300, Edward I lodged for a few days in June with the Minorite Friars of the Vennel, before at the head of the then greatest invasion force to attack Scotland he laid siege to Caerlaverock Castlemarker. After Caerlaverock eventually succumbed, Edward passed through Dumfries again as he crossed the Nith to take his invasion into Galloway. With the Scottish nobility having requested Vaticanmarker support of their cause, Edward on his return to Caerlaverock was presented with a missive directed to him by Pope Boniface VII. Edward held court in Dumfries at which he grudgingly agreed to an armistice. On 30 October, the truce solicited by Pope Boniface was signed by Edward at Dumfries. Letters from Edward, dated at Dumfries, were sent to his subordinates throughout Scotland, ordering them to give effect to the treaty. The peace was to last till Whitsunday in the following year.

Before becoming King of Scots, Robert the Bruce slew his rival the Red Comyn at Greyfriars Kirk in the town on 10th February 1306. His uncertainty about the fatality of his stabbing caused one of his followers, Roger de Kirkpatrick, to utter the famous, "I mak siccar" ("I make sure") and finish the Comyn off. Bruce was subsequently excommunicated as a result, less for the murder than for its location. Regardless, for Bruce the die was cast at the moment in Greyfriars and so began his campaign by force for the independence of Scotland. Swords were drawn by supporters of both sides, the burial ground of the Monastery becoming the theatre of battle. Bruce and his party then attacked Dumfries Castle. The English garrison surrendered and for the third time in the day Bruce and his supporters were victorious. He was crowned King of Scots barely seven weeks after. Bruce later triumphed at the Battle of Bannockburnmarker and led Scotland to freedom. Today's Greyfriars Church was built in 1868, overlooking the site of the murder on the opposite side of Castle Street, marked by a plaque on a shop wall.

Once Edward received word of the revolution that had started in Dumfries, he again raised an army and invaded Scotland. Dumfries was again subjected to the control of Bruce's enemies. Sir Christopher Seton (Bruce's brother in law) had been captured at Loch Doonmarker and was hurried to Dumfries to be tried for treason in general and more specifically for being present at Comyn's killing. Still in 1306 and along with two companions, Seton was condemned and executed by hanging and then beheading.

The first bridge over the Nith, Devorgilla Bridge, named after Devorgilla, the mother of King John Balliol, was built here in 1432. Rebuilt more than once and shortened from the east in the 19th century, this is still used by pedestrians and is one of Scotland's oldest standing bridges.

Not all of Dumfries' bloody reputation was externally inflicted. Nine women were burned to death for witchcraft in the town in 1659, and two centuries later in 1868, Dumfries was the site of Scotland's last public hanging.
Burns status and greyfriars Church
Opposite the fountain in Dumfries High Street, adjacent to the present Marks and Spencer, was the Commercial and later the County Hotel. Although the latter was demolished in the 1980s, the original facade of the building was kept. Room No. 6 of the hotel was known as Bonnie Prince Charlie's Room and appropriately carpeted in the Royal Stuart tartan. The Young Pretender had his headquarters here during a 3-day sojourn in Dumfries towards the end of 1745. £2,000 was demanded by the Prince, together with 1,000 pairs of brogues for his kilted Jacobite rebel army, which was camping in a field not one hundred yards distant. A rumour that the Duke of Cumberland was approaching, made Bonnie Prince Charlie decide to leave with his army, with only £1,000 and 255 pairs of shoes having been handed over.

Robert Burns moved to Dumfriesshire in 1788 and Dumfries itself in 1791, living there until his death on 21st July 1796. Today's Greyfriars Church overlooks the location of a statue of Burns, which was designed by Amelia Paton Hill, sculpted in Carraramarker, Italymarker in 1882, and was unveiled by future Prime Minister, Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery on 6 April 1882. Today, it features on the 2007 series of £5 notes issued by the Bank of Scotland, alongside the Brig o' Doonmarker.

The statue is just one of a series of associations with Scotland's most famous poet to be found in the town. Heading south past the Mid Steeple on the High Street, once the town tolbooth and prison, you come to a tiny vennel leading to the Globe Inn, his favourite drinking place. There is also Robert Burns' house at 24 Burns Street, South of the High Street, and his mausoleum in St Michael's Churchyard. On the west side of the River Nith is the Robert Burns Centre, housed in what was once the Dumfries Mill. In the suburb of Summerhill the majority of streets are named with Burns connotations.

After working with Patrick Miller of Dalswinton, inventor William Symington intended to carry out a trial in order to show than an engine would work on a boat without the boat catching fire. The trial finally took place on Dalswinton Loch near Dumfries on October 14, 1788. The experiment demonstrated that a steam engine would work on a boat. Symington went on to become the builder of the first practical steamboat.

In World War II the bulk of the Norwegian Army during the years in exile in Britain consisted of a Brigade in Dumfries. When the army High Command took over, there were 70 officers and about 760 privates in the camp. The camp was established in June 1940 and named Norwegian Reception Camp, consisting of some 500 men and women, mainly foreign-Norwegian who had volunteered for war duty in Norwaymarker during the Nazi occupation in early 1940. Through the summer the number was built up to around 1500 under the command of General Carl Gustav Fleischer. Within a few miles of Dumfries are the villages of Tinwaldmarker, Torthorwaldmarker and Mouswald all of which were settled by vikings.

Dumfries has experienced two Boxing Day earthquakes. These were in 1979 and 2006. There were no serious consequences of either.

Notable people

Dumfries was the hometown of Robert Burns from 1791 until his death in 1796. The poet is now buried in St. Michael’s Churchyard in the Burns Mausoleum. Burns was born in Ayrshire and spent many years there before moving to Dumfriesshire.
A number of well-known people were educated at Dumfries Academy, among them Henry Duncan, founder of the world's first commercial savings bank, Sir James Anderson, who captained the SS Great Eastern on the Transatlantic telegraph cable laying voyages in 1865 and 1866, James Matthew Barrie, author of Peter Pan, missionary Jane Haining, international diplomat Alexander Knox Helm, John Laurie, actor (Private Fraser in Dad's Army), artist Robin Philipson, singer John Hanson, Alex Graham, cartoonist best known for the Fred Basset series and Jock Wishart, who in 1998 set a new world record for circumnavigating the globe in a powered vessel.. Roger White, CEO of soft drinks group A G Barr is a local lad who went to Dumfries Academy.

William Charles Wells, predecessor to Charles Darwin on the theory of natural selection was another schooled in Dumfries. Geologist Robert Harkness was schooled in Dumfries and subsequently resided in the town. Sir Frank Williams of F1 motor racing fame was educated at St Joseph's College, Dumfriesmarker as was Charles Forte, Baron Forte. St Joseph's was founded by Brother Walfrid, the founder of Celtic F.C.

Chart-topping record producer Calvin Harris is from Dumfries. Ray Wilson, lead singer of Stiltskin and later Genesis was born in Dumfries as were fellow musicians Geoffrey Kelly and Ian Carr. While Bill Drummond of KLF is from Newton Stewartmarker he is one of the Queen of the South fans included here. Opera singer Nicky Spence was born in Dumfries as was Britain's Got Talent singer Andrew Johnston. Nigel Sinclair CBE is a Hollywoodmarker film producer. Michael Carter's acting career has seen him appear in a variety or productions ranging from Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi to Rebus.

Dumfries has produced a steady stream of professional football and managers. The best known footballers of their eras to come from Dumfries are probably Dave Halliday, Ian Dickson, Bobby Ancell, Billy Houliston, Jimmy McIntosh, Willie McNaught and Ted McMinn. Halliday, Dickson, Houliston and McMinn played for home town club, Queen of the South during their careers. Dominic Matteo was born in Dumfries but moved to England while still a young boy. Barry Nicholson lost 4 - 3 to Queens playing for Aberdeen in the 2008 Scottish Cup semi-finals despite scoring against the team he supported as a boy. Ancell, Houliston, McNaught and Nicholson have represented Scotland. Matteo gained 6 full caps for Scotland after having represented England at under-21 level. Halliday was overlooked by Scotland in favour of Hughie Gallacher. Gallacher played for Queens but was not from Dumfries. It was as a manager rather than a player that Thomas Mitchell made his name as a multiple F.A. Cup winner at Blackburn Roversmarker before joining Woolwich Arsenal as Arsenal F.C. were then named.

Dumfries is also the hometown of twice 24 Hours of Le Mansmarker winner, Allan McNish, as it was to David Leslie . Another racing driver, David Coulthard was born in Dumfries and raised in nearby Twynholmmarker. Scotland rugby union internationalists Duncan Hodge, Nick De Luca and Craig Hamilton were born in Dumfries as were professional golfers Andrew Coltart and Robert Dinwiddie. Curling world champions David Murdoch, Euan Byers and Craig Wilson were all born in Dumfries. Former darts champion Rab Smith is another Doonhamer.

BBC Broadcaster Kirsty Wark was born in the town as was fellow broadcaster Stephen Jardine. Neil Oliver (archaeologist, historian, author and broadcaster), grew up in Ayr and Dumfries. Author and earth scientist Dougal Dixon is from Dumfries. Hunter Davies (author, journalist and broadcaster) lived in Dumfries for four years as a boy. James Hannay as well as being a novelist and journalist spent the last five years of his life as the British consul in Barcelonamarker. John Mayne was born in Dumfries in 1759 and contributed in the field of poetry. World War I poet William Hamilton was another born in Dumfries.

Archibald Gracie, shipping magnate and business tycoon in USA, was from Dumfries. John McFarlane, CEO of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) originates from the town, as does Bill Nelson (DFP) who was also with the ANZ (formerly AMP, Westpac and now with AXA). The architect George Corson who worked mainly in Leedsmarker, Englandmarker, was born in Dumfries and articled to Walter Newall in the town.

Politician David Mundell was born in Dumfries as were William Dickson, William Pattison Telford, Sr. and Ambrose Blacklock all of whom made their mark politically in Canadamarker. Malcolm H. Wright was also born in Dumfries, father of Sophie B. Wright – New Orleans' educator and pioneer for women and children's rights. Suffragette and feminist campaigner Dora Marsden spent the last 25 years of her life being cared for in Dumfries after her psychological breakdown. Dr Ian Gibson is another to leave his mark on politics.

James Edward Tait was a Dumfries-born recipient of the Victoria Cross. William Robertson and Edward Spence are other Victoria Cross recipients. Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool, UK Prime Minister from 1812 to 1827, was quartered in Dumfries in 1796 during his military service.

John Richardson, naturalist, explorer and naval surgeon was born in Dumfries as was John Craig, mathematician, and polymath James Crichton. Benjamin Bell after being born in Dumfries went on to become considered the first Scottish scientific surgeon. His great grandson was Joseph Bell who Arthur Conan Doyle has credited Sherlock Holmes as being loosely based on from Bell's observant manner. Doyle's father, artist Charles Altamont Doyle, died in Dumfries. Thomas Peter Anderson Stuart left Dumfries to go on and found the University of Sydney Medical School. John Allan Broun's contribution to science were his discoveries around magnetism and meteorology. James Braid, surgeon and pioneer of hypnotism and hypnotherapy, practised in Dumfries from 1825 to 1828 in partnership with William Maxwell. Ian Callum is eminent in the world of motor engineer.

A Church of Scotlandmarker minister of Troqueer in Dumfries produced eleven children of whom some have made a notable mark. Peter Ewart was an engineer who was influential in developing the technologies of turbines and theories of thermodynamics. His brother Joseph Ewart became British ambassador to Prussia. John, a doctor, became Chief Inspector of East India Company hospitals in Indiamarker. William, father of William Ewart, was business partner of Sir John Gladstones (sic), father of four times Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone. Gladstone junior was named after Ewart, his godfather.

Internationally renowned Buddhist monk Geshe Kelsang Gyatso did a three-year retreat at Tharpaland in Dumfries.


Scottish communities granted Royal Burgh status by the monarch guarded the honour jealously and with vigour. Riding the Marches maintains the tradition of an occasion that was, in its day, of great importance. Dumfries has been a Royal Burgh since 1186, its charter being granted by King William the Lion in a move that ensured the loyalty of its citizens to the Monarch.

Although far from the centre of power in Scotland, Dumfries had obvious strategic significance sitting as it does on the edge of Galloway and being the centre of control for the south west of Scotland.

With the River Nith on two sides and the Lochar Moss on another, Dumfries was a town with good natural defences. Consequently it was never completely walled. A careful eye still had to be kept on the clearly defined boundaries of the burgh, a task that had to be taken each year by the Provost, Baillies, Burgesses and others within the town.

Neighbouring landowners might try to encroach on the town boundaries, or the Marches as they were known, moving them back 100 yards or so to their own benefit. It had to be made clear to anyone thinking of or trying to encroach that they dare not do so.

In return for the Royal status of the town and the favour of the King, the Provost and his council, along with other worthies of the town had to be diligent in ensuring the boundaries were strictly observed. Although steeped in history, Scotland's burghs remained the foundation of the country's system of local government for centuries. Burgh status conferred on its citizens the right to elect their own town councils, run their own affairs and raise their own local taxes or rates.

In 1974 the burghs became part of larger districts and regions. Those boundaries lost the significance they were granted by Royal statute. Ancient titles like Provost and Bailie were discarded or retained only for ceremonial purposes. Robes and chains often found their way into museums as a reminder of the past.

Dumfries remains a centre of local government for a much bigger area than just the town itself. But its people, the Doonhamers still retain a pride in their town and distinctive identity. This is never more so than during the week long Guid Nychburris Festival and its highlight the Riding of the Marches which takes place on the third Saturday in June each year.

Dumfries hosts the headquarters of Dumfries and Galloway Council. The name Dumfries and Galloway is given to one of Scotland's 32 council areas comprising the former (1975-96) districts of Nithsdale, Annandale and Eskdale, the Stewartry of Kirkcudbrightshire, the Machars and Wigtownshiremarker. Dumfries also lends its name to the Lieutenancy Area of Dumfries, which is similar in boundaries to the former Dumfriesshire county.

Dumfries and Galloway is represented in Westminster by Russell Brown MP and Dumfries constituency is represented in the Scottish Parliament by Elaine Murray MSP.

Dumfries is centre to Scotland’s smallest police force. It took part in one the largest criminal investigations in modern history when neighbouring town, Lockerbiemarker, was devastated by the events that took place on board Pan Am Flight 103 on 21 December 1988.


Whitesands, from Buccleuch Street
The fountain and midsteeple on Dumfries High St
Devorgilla Bridge
The Old Bridge House
The 'Caul' and Devorgilla Bridge

Like the rest of Dumfries and Galloway, of Scotland's three major geographical areas Dumfries lies in the Southern Uplands.

The river Nith runs through Dumfries in a southwards direction. There are several bridges across the river in the town. In between the Devorgilla (also known as 'The Old Bridge') and the suspension bridges is a weir colloquially known as 'The Caul'. In wetter months of the year the Nith can still flood the surrounding streets in the town centre.

Dumfries High Street hosts many of the historical, social and commercial centres of the town. During the 1990s, these areas enjoyed various aesthetic recognitions from organisations including Britain in Bloom.

Towards the end of 2005, the Bell Tower of the town's Midsteeple was dismantled conceding to safety concerns of its structural integrity. This event caused much controversy within the town on the council’s capability to maintain key features. The landmark is now in the final stages of renovation, the costs of which are estimated to be around £1.6m.

Dumfries has several suburbs including Summerhill, Summerville, Troqueer, Georgetown, Larchfield, Calside, Lochside, Lincluden, Newbridge Drive, Sandside, Heathhall, Locharbriggs, Noblehill and Marchmount. Maxwelltownmarker to the west of the river Nith, was formerly a Burgh in its own right within The Stewartry of Kirkcudbrightmarker (also known as Kirkcudbrightshire) until its incorporation into Dumfries in 1928; Troqueer, a settlement situated to the south west of Dumfries was part of the Burgh of Maxwelltown. Summerhill, Lochside, Lincluden, Sandside are among other suburbs located on the Maxwelltown side of the river. Palmerston Parkmarker, home to the town's senior football team Queen of the South, is on Terregles Street, also on the Maxwelltown side of the river.


Dumfries has a long history as a county town and as the market town of a surrounding rural hinterland. Dumfries is a relatively prosperous community but the town centre has been exposed to the centrifugal forces that have seen retail, business, educational, residential and other uses gravitate towards the town's urban fringe. In a bid to stimulate development in Dumfries town centre, both economically and in a social context, several strategies have been proposed by the controlling authorities.


Dumfries got its nickname 'Queen of the South' from David Dunbar, a local poet, who in 1857 stood in the general election. In one of his addresses he called Dumfries "Queen of the South" and this became synonymous with the town.

People from Dumfries are nicknamed Doonhamers. This is because when in towns in Scotland further north (most places as Dumfries is near the south coast of Scotland) they would refer to Dumfries as 'Doon hame'; 'Doon hame' being Scots for 'Down home'.

The Doonhamers is also the nickname of Queen of the South representing Dumfries and the surrounding area in the Scottish Football League.

The crest of Dumfries contains the words, "A Lore Burne". In the history of Dumfries close to the town was the marsh through which ran the Loreburn whose name became the rallying cry of the town in times of attack - A Lore Burne (meaning 'to the muddy stream').

The Loreburn Hall (sometimes known colloquially as The Drill Hall) has hosted concerts by performers such as Black Sabbath, Big Country, The Proclaimers and Scottish Opera. The hall has hosted sporting events such as wrestling. The new DG One sport, fitness and entertainment centre has now become the principle indoor event venue in Dumfries.

Located on top of a small hill, Dumfries Museum is centred around the 18th century windmill which stands above the town. Included are fossil footprints left by prehistoric reptiles, the wildlife of the Solway marshes, tools and weapons of the earliest peoples of the region, stone carvings of Scotland's first Christians and everyday things of the Victorian farm, workshop and home. On the top floor of the museum is a camera obscura.

Based in the control tower of RAF Tinwald Downs, the aviation museum has an extensive indoor display of memorabilia which strives to preserve aviation heritage, much of which has come via various recovery activities. During the second world war, aerial navigation was taught at Dumfries also at Wigtownmarker and nearby Annanmarker was a fighter training unit. R.A.F Dumfries doubled as an important maintenance unit and aircraft storage unit. The museum is run by the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Group and is the only private aviation museum in Scotland. It has considerably increased in size in recent years making room for a new shop display area, picnic area etc. The control tower has been re-roofed, the pathways given metalled surfaces and much other work has been done.

The restored control tower of the former World War II airfield is now a listed building. The museum is run by volunteers and houses a large and ever expanding aircraft collection, aero engines and a display of artefacts and personal histories relating to aviation, past and present. Both civil aviation and military aviation are represented. There is also a small collection of memorabilia honouring airborne forces, a new display representing aviation in Scotland and a mock-up of a World War II living room are now complete.

The Theatre Royal, Dumfries was built in 1792 and is the oldest working theatre in Scotland.

The theatre is owned by the Guild of Players who bought it in 1959, thereby saving it from demolition, and is run on a voluntary basis by the members of the Guild of Players. It is funded entirely by Guild membership subscriptions, and by box office receipts. It does not currently receive any grant aid towards running costs.

In recent years the theatre has been re-roofed and the outside refurbished. It is the venue for the Guild of Players' own productions and for performances from visiting companies. These include: Scottish Opera, TAG, the Borderline and 7:84.

In addition it is extensively used for Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival, Dumfries Music Festival, the Dumfries Musical and Operatic Society.

The Guild of Players was founded as an amateur dramatic company in 1913. It has put on a season of plays for all but six of the 94 years since then. There were no productions between 1915 and 1919, and none in 1944. Nowadays the Guild puts on a season of five plays (each running for a week) and a pantomime (running for a fortnight) every year. Every job, from directing the plays to serving the coffee in the intervals, is undertaken voluntarily by the Guild members. There are no paid staff in the Theatre.

The plays are open to the public but taking out membership of the Guild brings entitlement to priority ticket booking at half price.

There are two cinemas in Dumfries. The Odeon shows typically mainstream films. The Robert Burns Centre shows mainstream productions and also independent films.

A collection of over 400 Scottish paintings, Gracefield Arts Centre hosts a changing programme of exhibitions featuring regional, national and international artists and craft-makers. Facilities include darkroom, pottery, studios, bar/cafe, craft shop, and car parking. Studios and ground floor galleries accessible to wheelchair users.

The Burns Howff Club was formed in the Globe Inn, Dumfries, South West Scotland in 1889, and meets on 25 January each year to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns in 1759 with a Burns Supper. The Club takes its name from a reference by Robert Burns to the Globe Inn being his favourite "Howff", an old Scottish term for a meeting place.

The Howff Club has an extensive library of Burns works and the works of other Scottish poets and literary figures. Members are always pleased to welcome visitors to the Globe Inn and Dumfries, and to host Burns Suppers at The Globe Inn or other venues.

The club runs Robert Burns walking tours Dumfries.

There are a number of festivals which take place throughout the year, mostly based on traditional values.

Good Neighbours (Guid Nychburris in Middle Scots) is the main festival of the year, a ceremony which is largely based on the theme of a positive community spirit.

The ceremony on Guid Nychburris Day, follows a route and sequence of events laid down in the mists of time. Formal proceedings start at 7.30am with the gathering of up to 250 horses waiting for the courier to arrive and announce that the Pursuivant is on his way, and at 8.00am leave the Midsteeple and ride out to meet the Pursuivant. They then proceed to Ride the Marches and Stob and Nog (mark the boundary with posts and flags) before returning to the Midsteeple at 12.15pm to meet the Provost and then the Charter is proclaimed to the towns people of Dumfries. This is then followed by the crowning of the Queen of the South.


2008 Scottish Cup semi final result on the scoreboard at Hampden Park
Queen of the South represent Dumfries and the surrounding area in the Scottish Football League First Division. Palmerston Parkmarker on Terreglesmarker Street is the home ground of the team. This is on the Maxwelltown side of the River Nith. They reached the Scottish Cup final in May 2008, losing to Rangers 3-2.

Dumfries Saints Rugby Club is one of Scotland's oldest rugby clubs having been admitted to the Scottish Rugby Union in 1876-77 as "Dumfries Rangers".

Dumfries is also home to a number of golf courses:-

  • The Crichton Golf Club
  • The Dumfries and County Golf Club
  • The Dumfries and Galloway Golf Club
  • The Pines Golf Centre

Of those is listed only the Dumfries and Galloway Golf Club is on the Maxwelltown side of the River Nith. This course is also bisected into 2 halves of 9 holes each by the town's Castle Douglas Road. The club house and holes 1 to 7 and 17 and 18 are on the side nearest to Summerhill, Dumfries. Holes 8 to 16 are on the side nearest to Janefield.

DG One complex includes a national event sized competition swimming pool.

The David Keswick Athletic Centre is the principle facility in Dumfries for athletics.

Dumfries is home to Nithsdale Amateur Rowing Club. The rowers share their clubhouse with Dumfries Sub-Aqua Club.

The town is also home to Solway Sharks ice hockey team. The team are current Northern Premier League winners. The team's home rink is Dumfries Ice Bowl. Dumfries Ice bowl is also recognized as Scotland's only centre of ice hockey excellence, and trials for the Scottish Jr national team are carried out at this venu.

Dumfries Ice Bowl is also home to two synchronised skating teams, Solway Stars and Solway Eclipse. In addition, Dumfries Ice Bowl is also home to several curling teams, competitions and leagues. Junior curling teams from Dumfries, consisting of curlers under the age of 21, regularly compete in the Dutch Junior Open based in Zoetemeer, Holland. In 2007, 2008 and 2009 a Dumfries based team have been the winners of the competition's Hogline Trophy.

Dumfries hosts three outdoor bowls clubs:-

Dumfries hosts cycling organisations and cycling holidays.


Dumfries has several primary schools, approximately one per key district, and four main secondary schools. All of these institutions are governed by Dumfries and Galloway council. The secondary schools are:

Dumfries Academy was a grammar school until adopting a comprehensive format in 1983.

In 1999 Scotland's first multi-institutional university campus was established in Dumfries, in the 85-acre Crichton estate. In order of campus presence it is host to the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) (formerly known as University of Paisley & Bell College), Dumfries & Galloway College, and, the University of Glasgowmarker. Still in its infancy, the campus offers a range of degree courses in initial teacher education, business, computing, environmental studies, tourism, heritage, social work, health, social studies, nursing, liberal arts and humanities. Despite the short-lived threat of closure to the University of Glasgow part of the campus in 2006, a campaign by students, academics and local supporters ensured that the University of Glasgow remained open in Dumfries. The University of Glasgow has announced the launch of a new undergraduate programme in primary teaching.


Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary is the principal secondary care referral centre for Dumfries and Galloway region.

The Crichton Royal Hospital is part of the Royal Infirmary complex and provides a regional psychiatric, psychological and specialist addicitions service within Dumfries and Galloway. In 1838 William A. F. Browne accepted the position of Physician Superintendent at the newly created Crichton. It is at the Crichton where Ursula Fleming gained much of her education and experience.


Dumfries is linked to the A74 motorway northbound via the A701 road. The A75 road eastbound links Dumfries to the southbound A74(M). The A75 road west links Dumfries with the ferry port of Stranraermarker. The A76 roadmarker connects to Kilmarnockmarker in Ayrshiremarker.

Dumfries railway stationmarker lies on the Glasgow South Western Line, the train service is operated by private company FirstScotrail which provides services to Glasgow and Carlisle, and less frequent services connect Dumfries with Stranraermarker. The nearest station to Dumfries on the West Coast Mainlinemarker is 12 miles east along the A709 road at Lockerbiemarker.

Maxwelltown station in the Summerhill district of the town was closed as part of the Beeching Axe in the 1960s.


The most significant of the parks in Dumfries are all in or close to the town centre:-

  • Dock Park - located on the East bank of the Nith just to the South of St Michael's Bridge
  • Castledykes Park - as the name suggests on the site of a former castle
  • Mill Green (also known as deer park) - on the West bank of the Nith opposite Whitesands


Dumfries is home to one of the 11 BBC studios in Scotland.

West Sound FM, part of the Big City Network, broadcasts from Dumfries.

Local journalism

The two local newspapers that specifically cover Dumfries and the surrounding are:-

Architectural geology

There are many buildings in Dumfries made from sandstone of the local Locharbriggs quarry.

The quarry is situated off the A701 on the north of Dumfries at Locharbriggs close to the nearby aggregates quarry. This dimension stone quarry is a large quarry. Quarry working at Lochabriggs dates from the 18th century, and the quarry has been worked continuously since 1890.

There are good reserves of stone that can be extracted at several locations. On average the stone is available at depths of 1m on bed although some larger blocks are obtainable. The average length of a block is 1.5m but 2.6m blocks can be obtained.

Locharbriggs is from the New Red Sandstone of the Permian age. It is a medium-grained stone ranging in colour from dull red to pink. It is the sandstone used in the Queen Alexandra Bridge in Sunderlandmarker, the Manchester International Convention Centremarker and the base of the Statue of Libertymarker.

Surrounding places of interest

Dumfries is recognised as a good centre for visiting the surrounding area. The following are all within easy reach:-

Twin towns

Other places subsequently named Dumfries

See also


External links

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