A wee trip to St. John's town of dalry
almost 48 hours
It may hold the record for the Scottish place with the largest number of words, but St. John’s Town of Dalry isn’t very large at all.
Never having heard of St. John’s Town of Dalry, locally known as Dalry, a village in Dumfries and Galloway, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Dalry was nothing but quaint and completely charming. From the largely white harled cottages to the windy River Ken and the lush surrounds, Dalry is perfect for footweary travellers.
Roughly an hour and a half south of Glasgow, St. John’s Town of Dalry is a great escape from the city. The quaint but picturesque village of 600 people only has a hand full of restaurants, a general store, post office, a bank and a gas station, so there is no chance of getting lost! But if you’d rather the hustle and bustle Castle Douglas is roughly sixteen miles away.
Dalry makes a good base for exploring the surrounding region, Threave Garden & Estate, New Galloway and of course, Castle Douglas.
Accommodation: Airbnb’s Bobbin Cottage
Build in the early 1800’s, Airbnb’s Bobbin Cottage is a traditional Galloway retreat, tucked away from what would be considered the ‘main road’.
Airbnb is now known as the ‘got to’ accommodation and can be one of the most economical ways to travel, it also has some incredible, one-of-a-kind accommodations.
Bobbin Cottage, the quaint and quirky cottage has been fully renovated and modernized to provide the perfect retreat.
Decorated with Scottish emblems, a brightly coloured orange highland ‘coo’ hung near the door, tartan patterns coated the wall and accentuated the couches, while a log fire warmed the halls. We were treated to a welcome box in the kitchen full of local craft beers, eggs, chocolate and oat cookies! And we personalized wee note on the chalkboard.
Due to our dithering nature, it took us longer than expected to get to Dalry several stops were made along the journey to take photos of the stunning landscape. That's when we stumbled upon a wee yellow tearoom in New Galloway.
The Smithy is run by Andrew Walker and Margaret McSorley Walker who took it over in January 2018 after having been customers for the last 14 years. Sitting along the Mill Burn, in the smallest Royal Burgh in Scotland, the summer’s day in May helped fill the patio with travellers sipping on cups of coffee from up the road to Irn Bru drinkers from Nebraska, United States.
Specializing in home cooked food using fresh local produce, including soups, sandwiches, tartines, and hot food, we had the Cauliflower Soup, roasted vegetable and chicken pesto tartine and the house special, Scottish Roast Beef Sandwich.
We couldn’t leave the tearoom without having a Cranachan! No one really knew what it was, but we thought we couldn’t go wrong with a dessert that had whisky in it! No 'e' in this whisky, an e-less whisky is the Scottish spelling!
Cranachan is a traditional Scottish dessert made from a mixture of whipped cream, whisky, honey and fresh raspberries, with toasted oatmeal soaked overnight in a little bit of whisky. We were sold! Mhhmm….
Stuffed from the Cranachan we took to the streets and wandered around the town. Roughly a 6-minute drive or 3.4 miles from Dalry, The New Town of Galloway was first recorded in 1682. The quiet unspoilt town of New Galloway lies on the west side of the valley at the north end of Loch Ken. The actual town of New Galloway is largely built around a single High Street that climbs up through the village, where the Smithy tea room sits.
With full stomachs we found ourselves back at Bobbin Cottage for an early evening drink, so we helped ourselves to craft beer in the welcome basket. Brewed by Sulwath Brewers in Castle Douglas, the basket was filled with ales, lagers and wheat beers, a beer for ever occasion! Beers in hand we headed out to the lush scheduled garden at the back. If you are lucky enough you may see red kites circling above. The garden has ample outdoor seating, a dining area and a fire pit to keep you cosy as evening draws in.
Highly recommended by our Airbnb hosts we ventured down the road, a mere 2 minutes to the main junction where a white harled Inn sat at the bottom with red signs reading ‘The Clachan Inn’.With a dinner reservation for 8 pm, the award-winning pub was mobbed! Reservations are highly recommended!
Not your average pub fayre The Clachan Inn emits charm with its large floor to ceiling stone fire hearth and pine clad walls. Unusual for a small settlement, the Inn is the perfect blend of relaxing local pub and reliable gastropub food. Our beautifully cooked dinner had a touch of imagination, our table ordered the wild mushroom and spinach tagliatelle, hand-rolled pasta with creamed blue murder cheese and walnuts; the lemon and garlic cauliflower in romesco sauce with spring onion, roast tomatoes, peppers and quinoa; the 8oz flat iron steak with garlic butter, broccoli, roast tomatoes, red onion, and sweet potato fries; and I had the handmade beef and ale ‘proper’ pie with mashed tatties, purple sprouting broccoli and beef gravy. With forks clattering against the dishes we all had a taste of each other’s, and to top it off we ended our meal with a sticky toffee pudding, topped with butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream.
We just about rolled home. Seriously, there is something for everyone, and we would be happy to join you if you decide to visit!
Bottom Photos: Clachan Inn
On day two in St. John’s Town of Dalry, you’ll want to take a trip to the surrounding towns and walk through the Threaves Garden and Estate.
With the great ambience and wonderful hospitality, we found our way back to The Smithy for breakfast. In just as the ovens went on for the morning rush we had a bacon butty, Greek yoghurt with fresh fruit, boiled eggs with soldiers and creamed mushroom toast! The Smith is a really cosy cafe where you can fuel up on caffeine, a hot breakfast and a selection of homemade scones.
About 24 minutes or 16 miles away in Castle Douglas, situated on an island in the middle of the River Dee, Theaves Castleis only reachable by boat.
Start your journey to the castle at Kelton Mains farm and follow the picturesque 10-minute walk through fields until you arrive at the shore of the River Dee. You will be greeted by a boatman on a small dock, but if he is not there, a small brass bell with a rope pull waits to be rung, once pulled the boatman will come across from the island to take you to the castle.
Built in the late 14th century by Archibald the Grim, Lord of Galloway, this tower house became the stronghold of the Black Douglases and still today, round its base you can see the artillery fortification, innovative defence years ahead of its time.
St. John's Town of Dalry, may not have a huge to-do list, but it is the perfect village for a weekend getaway or for the traveller who needs a quiet bed at night.
Haste ye back St. John’s Town of Dalry!