Destination Dumfries and Galloway

emma petting a highland coo

Guild of Food Writers South of Scotland Destination Alliance Trip

I have just returned from a day trip to Dumfries and Galloway to experience three foodie highlights in the area.  This trip is one of two planned for the South of Scotland Destination Alliance Legends project. It has been supported by the Regional Food Fund which is delivered by the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership with funding from the Scottish Government.

The South of Scotland Destination Alliance Legends Project

Quality local food and drink is a critically important part of the South of Scotland’s visitor experience.   This project is to showcase eight local food and drink ‘Legends’ and trailblazers that represent different highlights of the South of Scotland’s food and drink tourism experience including recent finalists and winners of the South of Scotland Thistle Awards.

The eight SSDA Legends are:

Kitchen Coos and Ewes, The Ethical Dairy, The Globe Inn and Annandale Distillery, Barony Country Foods, Traquair House & Brewery, Cocoa Black Chocolate School, Wilson’s Farm and Allanton Inn.


@foodieexplorers Discovering Dumfries and Galloway #foodtiktok #food #scotland #scotlandtiktok #travel #traveltiktok ♬ sometimes i wish we know each other. –

Let’s get onto the discovering Dumfries and Galloway

Kitchen Coos and Ewes near Newton Stewart

Thistle Award-winning (They picked up the Best Outdoor or Adventure Experience at this year’s Thistle Awards) Highland Cow Safaris run by Neale McQuistin and his wife Janet.  Their 900 acres of land are home to Beltex sheep and 30 pedigree Highland cattle.

emma petting a highland coo dumfries and galloway

When their three grown-up children left university, the couple diversified. Neale admits, “I always had a secret hankering for doing something in the tourist industry.”

The couple offer visitors a Highland cow safari and traditional home-baked farm fare. They offer a selection of tours: Insta Coo tour, Cream Tea Coo tour, Walking Coo tour, Hands on tour and The Haute Coo Tour.

highland coo baby

We got to get close up and hands on with the coos including seeing calves that were only a day old! They were a welcoming bunch of coos who seemed happy to interact with us.


High Airyolland Farm,  New Luce, Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire, DG8 0AU

Book a tour

Click here to find out about all of their tours.

highland coo album cover
This has got to be an album cover

The Ethical Dairy – near Kirkcudbright

Our next stop was to The Ethical Dairy where David and Wilma Finlay are pioneers of Europe’s largest cow-with-calf dairy.  This is the first commercial dairy in the UK to leave calves with their mothers for extended periods of time.

the ethical dairy french women
Draw me like one of your French girls – The Ethical Dairy

Happier cows lead to happy farmers and customers, with the added benefit that pesticide and antibiotic use is reduced by 90%, increased plant biodiversity in the area and calf growth rates have also doubled.

Find out about their journey on this video.


After learning about the cows, we tasted some of the cheese which is made on site.  There is a wide range of cheese types made here from Alpine style to cheddar and light and creamy blue cheese to ‘slap you in the face’ blue.  It was hard to pick a favourite.

the ethical dairy cheese


Rainton, Gatehouse of Fleet, Castle Douglas DG7 2DR

Book a tour

Click here to book

Book a cheese making class

Click here to book

Buy Cheese

Click here to buy

The Globe Inn in Dumfries

Our final stop of the day was The Globe Inn in Dumfries, dating from 1610.  The Globe is where Scotland’s National poet Robert Burns used to frequent.  Rabbie Burns spent his final years in Dumfries, where he is buried. Nearby you can visit his house and his mausoleum.

the globe inn burns

Current owners David Thomson and his wife Teresa Church saved the historic Burns Rooms by buying the building.  The couple also operate the Annandale Distillery, so you will of course find their whisky and many more in their bar.  Make sure to have a look in the snug bar.

the globe inn dumfries

After refurbishment, The Globe Inn has become a casual fine dining restaurant.

Head of Cuisine, Jonathan Brett, said: “The Globe Inn has been around for well over 400 years but it has really only been in the past two or three years that we have seen the investment and transformation that have made it into what we believe is one of the finest casual fine dining restaurants in Scotland.”

The Globe was recently presented with a Highly Commended accolade at Scottish Excellence Awards.


The Globe Inn, 56 High St, Dumfries DG1 2JA

Book a table

Click here to book a table at The Globe Inn

This trip to discover Dumfries and Galloway was made possible from the support of the following agencies.

Scotland Food & Drink

Scotland Food & Drink is the leadership organisation that is responsible for the delivery of the 10-year national food and drink strategy ‘Sustaining Scotland.

Scotland Food & Drink’s vision is for Scotland to be the best place in the world to own, operate, and work for a food and drink business – to be renowned as a world leader in sustainable production and responsible growth, where resilient businesses across the entire supply chain can flourish and prosper.

South of Scotland Destination Alliance

Established in May 2020, the South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA) is the industry-led Destination Management and Marketing Organisation for the South of Scotland, encompassing Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders. With a focus on place-making, people, digital capability and sustainability, the ambition of SSDA is to make the South of Scotland a top tourism destination, offer a world-class visitor experience, and increase tourism spend.

SSDA is supported by South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), VisitScotland, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Scottish Borders Council, and received £2.7million over five years in 2020 from South of Scotland Enterprise.

Scotland starts here

Scotland Starts Here is the destination marketing campaign for the South of Scotland. Defined by rolling hills and vast, open landscapes, the region invites visitors to take the time to roam and discover Scotland’s spirit at their own pace.

Today, the destination draws in visitors looking to connect with Scotland’s adventurous and creative spirit. Being within easy reach of major hubs including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Carlisle, Newcastle, and even Belfast, the South of Scotland has long been a go-to destination for those in search of accessible remoteness, with diverse scenery that reveals new experiences at every turn. The legendary affinity that visitors feel for Scotland starts here.




I am Emma and with my husband Mark write Foodie Explorers, which is a food and travel website.

I am a member of the Guild of Food Writers and British Guild of Travel Writers.

We have a wide range of judging experience covering products, hotels and have judged, for example, for Great Taste Awards and Scottish Baker of the Year.

Along the way Mark gained WSET Level 2 in Wine and I have WSET Level 2 in Spirits as well as picking up an award with The Scotsman Food and Drink Awards.    

Usually I can be found sleeping beside a cat.

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