Stranraer, the second largest town in south-west Scotland, is an up and coming tourist hotspot hidden within Dumfries and Galloway.
This coastal town prides itself on its beautiful, sweeping natural landscapes, lovely accommodation, long history, and harbour directly on the shores of Loch Ryan.
Sometimes called “The Toon”, this quaint but growing town in south-west Scotland boasts unique activities and stunning sights. This guide will help you discover the best things to do in Stranraer, whether you’re coming from Belfast or Scotland.
Stranraer Town Centre
A pleasing pebble tile mosaic adorns the town centre of Stranraer, with many great attractions hidden within the curving walkways.
As the town expands with tourism and trade after gaining its first hotel recently, it’ll blossom with further port development, service, and parks.
Booking this hidden gem now will allow you to see a side of it that may not last long.
The Stranraer Ferry Port is likely the most obvious. It joins the southerly point of Loch Ryan to the main industries of Stranraer and Belfast, Northern Ireland. Dappling its roads along the harbour are the town’s cosy cafes with excellent service, shops, and perfect views of the Irish ferries that weave in and out of this busy ferry port.
The town centre is also the hub for this market town, where you can find information about its many services, accommodation options, and parks.
The lifeblood of Stranraer, Loch Ryan is a picturesque body of water that takes up your field of view with its serene waters. The area is prone to heavy seas during storms, so pack a raincoat if you’re using one of the ferry services out of this area’s main port!
Loch Ryan is best appreciated from the town’s main street or along the beautiful military road built between Stranraer and Dumfries and Galloway.
This historic museum occupies the immaculate old town hall of Stranraer and explores the fabulous history of Wigtownshire, with its old ploughs and polar explorers before they finally established Stranraer.
Understanding Stranraer’s history, like its port development and rail connection north to nearby Cairnryan, is crucial to elevating your experience while visiting this coastal town in Scotland, so why not take some time to visit Stranraer Museum.
Castle of St. John
The Castle of St. John breathes history with its historic 1500s design and the complex stories woven within it.
Home to prisoners, soldiers, and lords, the castle of St. John is located right in the middle of Stranraer, so you won’t have to search hard to find this historic site.
Sometimes called Stranraer Castle, this location is too interesting to miss out on while you’re in Stranraer.
Just south-west of Stranraer, this gorgeous gold-and-white lighthouse is almost Mediterranean in design and is one of the stunning attractions near Stranraer.
The Killantringan Lighthouse looks over the Stranraer towns and villages with its incandescent and rhythmic shine. A bastion to the towns of Dumfries and Galloway, this squat lighthouse is a must-see when visiting south-west Scotland.
Castle Kennedy Gardens
One of the showpieces of Galloway is the grand Castle Kennedy and its surrounding south gardens, a centrepiece for all those who visit the town of Stranraer and the nearby Dumfries.
With 75-acres of pristinely sculpted grounds, the Castle and its greenery is a romantic opportunity to spend time with a loved one and search through this never-ending park.
The Castle is a gorgeous landmark that is visible as you wander through the grounds, savouring the time with your partner or family.
Agnew Park has it all! A brief look at their website reveals a gateway to such a wide range of activities that it’s a wonder it all fits inside. This serves the second largest town in Galloway with many activities and excitement to break up the daily monotony.
Right in the middle of Stranraer, a brief walk west from the town centre and harbour, the park has a miniature train, mini-golf, go-carts, and a boating lake in the middle.
Agnew Park is one of the best places to take your children in Stranraer, but it’ll be a fun time for everyone involved.
Aldouran Wetland Garden & Woodland Trails
The woodland trails of Aldouran are a haven for locals to exercise, enjoy nature, and appreciate the abundant wildlife that the wetland gardens are famous for.
Located north-west of Stranraer, you can find a wide array of birds, amphibians, insects, and plants indigenous to the wetland areas near Dumfries and Stranraer.
A trip to the Aldouran Wetland Garden & Woodland Trails is necessary when visiting Stranraer.
St. John’s Well
St. John’s Well is a fantastic walking trail that follows the southerly point beaches along its east coast, with stunning views of the main Scottish port of Stranraer, Scotland.
Many locals walk the trail of St. John’s in the morning after a hearty breakfast to soak in the views of Loch Ryan and its harbour.
Garden of Friendship
The Garden of Friendship is a corner within the centre of Stranraer that holds host to a myriad of stunning flowers and plants where people can sit and chat with each other. This is an excellent spot if you want to chat to the locals.
Take a visit to the Garden of Friendship and perhaps you’ll meet a friend for life!
The Agnew Monument is a three-storey tall tower with intimidating parapets that are visible for miles amongst the wetland landscape around you.
Built in 1850 in memory of Sir Andrew Agnew, a notable individual of the historic South Wigtownshire, Agnew Monument now serves as a grand attraction for visitors who wander these south-west areas of Galloway, Scotland.
Glenwhan Gardens & Tea Room
One of the most beautiful man-made gardens in all of Scotland, the bountiful green pastures of Glenwhan Gardens are a must-see attraction for those who love the idea of hand-sculpted landscaping and foliage.
You will see many delicate plants, tended to by the Gulf Stream. These plants are unlike anything else you will see in Galloway and Scotland.
Next time you’re in Stranraer, this beautiful collection of plant life should be on the top of your list of things to do.
Stair Park is an absolute hub of activity for the locals around Stranraer and is the centre for the local football team, Stranraer FC.
Watch the teams of Scotland face those of Northern Ireland and other parts of the United Kingdom and allow yourself to get caught up in the cheer of the local football fans of Stranraer!
Other Things To Do in Dumfries & Galloway
- Things to do in Castle Douglas
- Things to do in Dumfries
- Things to do in Gretna
- Things to do in Kirkcudbright
- Things to do in Moffat