Lowland flings, spectacular hikes – and organic ice cream too

British breaks: Dumfries & Galloway
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The Independent Travel

What's on?

See terriers racing, bands piping, falcons swooping and more at the Galloway Country Fair (galloway countryfair.co.uk). This wonderfully traditional summer celebration takes place just outside St Ann's near Moffat on 15 and 16 August. There'll be more music over at Drumlanrig Castle on 22 and 23 August with the All that Jazz festival (drumlanrig .com) featuring Craig McMurdo and his trio on the Sunday.

Tread with caution at Logan Botanic Garden on 31 August (rbge.org.uk). The garden's Discovery Centre is hosting a Walking with Dinosaurs afternoon (from 2pm to 3.30pm) when you can meet cavemen, learn what plants the dinosaurs ate and find out how vegetation has evolved since then. Head to Kirkcudbright in the early evening on 31 August and join the crowds in St Cuthbert Street gathering for the annual tattoo (summer festivities.com). This kicks off at 7.30pm with music from pipers and marching bands. After working dog displays and dance competitions, the evening will be rounded off with a large firework display.

See the sights

Enjoy this area's rolling hills, acres of sky and miles of rugged coastline in late summer sunshine. August and September are perfect walking months in Dumfries and Galloway. Top scenic hikes include the six-mile trail from Portpatrick to Killantringan Lighthouse, and a two-and-half-mile strenuous hill walk to the top of the spectacular Grey Mare's Tail waterfall. (Details of these and other walks can be found on dumfriesandgalloway.co.uk.) To see local wildlife head to the Red Kite Trail (gallowaykitetrail.com). Developed by RSPB Scotland, this is a route of some 30 miles around Loch Ken. The path is dotted with lookout points and information posts and a feeding station with a hide has been established at Bellymack Hill Farm near Laurieston.

You can also see nature tamed at some of the country's loveliest gardens. The area is warmed by the Gulf Stream, so a diverse range of plants thrives here – particularly at Threave (nts.org.uk), Craigieburn (craigieburn.com) and Dunskey (dunskey.com).

Get a true taste of Galloway with a day out at the Cream o' Galloway Visitor Centre near Castle Douglas (creamogalloway.co.uk). The organic dairy farm's ice creams are sold across the UK but here you can make your own ice cream, take a farm tour, then head out on some of the estate's miles of nature trails or cycle routes.

In need of stronger refreshment? Then make for Dumfries and enjoy a wee dram at the Globe Inn (globe inndumfries.co.uk). This was a haunt of the region's famous son, Robert Burns. Dating back to 1610, it's one of the oldest pubs in the country. It became a favourite watering hole of the poet in the 1790s and it was here, in 1819, that the annual tradition of the Burns Supper started.

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