Kept hearing on Facebook how great Dumfries was so I thought I'd take a look. Booked at a local hotel for the weekend, no grumbles there, clean, good service, nice food.
But the town itself what a dump, full of charity shops and chavs. The people we did speak too where blunt almost to the point of being rude. My wife and I went down one particular street for a look, kids blocking the pavement wouldn't move to let you pass, watched some old folk step out onto the road to avoid them, rubbish everywhere. Should have realised it would be dirty when you drove into Dumfries the sides of the roads here full of litter. Coffee shops and cafes don't stay open in the evening to accommodate locals never mind tourists. So they must make plenty of money.
Even the locals continually and whined moaned about there own town!! I can understand why. Miserable people, miserable place. Will never set foot there again.
I felt that as a Doonhamer it was only right that I post a review of my hometown. (We are known as Doonhamers due to our references of 'doon hame' when we are away from our home town.)
Dumfries is known as the Queen of the South, the same name that our local football team use. (You may have heard of our wee team after the magic of last years Scottish Cup Final). It is the biggest town in the region with a population of approximately 31,600.
The town is steeped in history having been home to such famous names as Robert Burns and J M Barrie (author of Peter Pan), Bonnie Prince Charlie even stayed the night in a hotel which is now a Waterstones - sign of the times isn't it?
The most striking feature of the town is the river Nith which runs through the town centre. The caul (think waterfall) is an amazing sight to see and you will often see salmon jumping and the watchful herons waiting. Watch out for the seagulls though, the town has quite an issue with these 'urban gulls' and despite numerous complaints and people being unable to leave their homes, our council doesn't seem to think it a problem worth spending their pennies on just yet.
Food is something that Dumfries does very well. From the fantastic Bruno's and Pizzeria Il Fiume to the Caven's Arms and Hong Kong Star, there is something for almost everyone, vegetarians get the tough end of the stick but more and more of the restaurants are realising that veggies spend pennies too! More of the chain stores are taking notice of the town and in recent years a Costa and Subway have opened. There is a Wetherspoons but the less said about that the better.
Pubs... well we definitely have plenty of those. There is a vast array of different pubs to suit every drinkers tastes and atmosphere preferences. The Hole In The Wa' and The Globe Inn can boast having Robert Burns as a punter 'back in the day' whilst the Cavens Arms wins award after award for it's real ale, fantastic food and relaxed atmosphere. There are the more 'local' pubs which are frequented by the same faces regularly such as the Five Arches and the Jolly Harvester. Unfortunately we are let down by our nightclubs, which means after a night in the pub, home is very often the next destination. There is a choice of three, Jumpin' Jaks (overpriced entrance, overpriced alcohol, same old, same old), The Venue (which seems to be dying a slow and painful death) and Chancers (for the older generation that like don't mind sticking to the floor).
Things to do - Well for things to do outside, Dumfries is amazing. On a sunny day you can walk along the river, enjoy the numerous parks, take a drive to the beach, cycle along the many beautiful cycle paths that the council have created for these rare sunny days or explore all the wee beauty spots that are hidden throughout and around Dumfries. The Mabie Forest and the Mabie Farm Park are only a short drive and offer lots of different activities for all ages.
What if it is raining I hear you ask? Well that is the problem because in this fine country we call Scotland we have a shortage of sunny, warm, dry days. The museum and Camera Obscura are very interesting for the first one or two visits but really remain something for the tourists. The cinema is great but will only show the major blockbusters and only has one screen which means there is not a great deal of choice. There is the Robert Burns Centre which has a small cinema within, it holds less than 50 people, but it is more for those wanting the 'cultural movies' rather than the latest Will Smith one. The Ice Bowl is walking distance from the town centre and offers rental of the 'death wellies' for ice-skating and the chance of some indoor bowling. There are no shortage of libraries for the bookworms amongst us but the choices of books are occasionally limited as the stock is shared over the entire region.
DGOne was meant to be the saviour of our little town, but overpriced and overrated, it is not always an option. The auditorium has rarely been filled as the acts that have used it so far have not had such wide appeal. If only we could get bands to play here again! Long gone are the days of Ocean Colour Scene and Billy Connolly visiting.
As the financial crisis takes it hold on us all, Dumfries High Street looks sadder by the day. With the demise of Woolies and Klick there seem to be more empty shops than ever on our small stretch of High Street. There are the usual big names such as Boots, River Island, Next and Burtons there are places to wander around but you have to wander into the back streets to find the hidden gems such as Alternative and Patties. There are large business parks just a short drive from the town centre which are home to the large electrical, carpet and DIY firms but even they aren't protected from the financial worries that grip us all. Many locals head to Carlisle or Glasgow for shopping to make sure we don't all end up wearing the same!
Talking of shopping - we have more Tescos than we know what do with! I knew they were taking over the world but why are they starting with Dumfries?
Living in Dumfries is relatively pleasant, we have an active police force resulting in lower crime rates compared to other towns of the same size. Yes there are those with the yob attitudes and drug problems that stick out like sore thumbs, but that is because they are a minority and you can spot them a mile off. If you're looking for trouble, as with all places, you will find it, if you're clever you can keep far away from it all. Most of the trouble is from kids with nothing better to do than cause havoc.
There are plenty of schools which means commuting times are relatively short, thankfully as the town cannot handle the volume of traffic and the town often comes to a standstill some nights at 5pm. As a non-driver I am a regular user of the bus networks, which are pretty reliable unless you need to go somewhere after 6pm, then you're chancing your luck. Thankfully with the cycle routes and well lit areas, walking and cycling are viable options in the region.
Throughout the year the residents try their hardest to bring people together and attempt to improve the little town. The People's Project attempt to clean up and promote cleanliness e.g. anti-littering campaigns. Burns Night is always an excuse for a party and there will be numerous events for the whole family to get involved in. This year was particularly great for the little ones what with the lantern making. Guid Nychburris and the following gala's are a particularly sociable time. The organisers of Guid Nychburris are trying to bring the day back to what it was and step away from the idea that it is an excuse to hit the pubs at 6am until closing. The parade is getting bigger and better (no longer a poor excuse for advertising), the events are becoming more family orientated and generally there are more people entering 'the spirit of things'! The local papers are the best place to track what is going on in the town.
Most residents of Dumfries have a love/hate relationship with the town! It's a very typical small town and everyone is bound to know everyone through a friend of a friend. It's nice that this small town community attitude can survive in modern times, but sometimes it would just be nice if your business could be just that...YOURS!
Growing up in the town was difficult, there's not much to do for certain age groups and everyone knows everyone's business. After having lived in Glasgow for a number of years before returning home I can now appreciate what I probably hated beforehand. I'm also a lot more relaxed so the Desperate Housewife wannabes don't bother me all that much when they knock my door to tell me that my cat has lost yet another collar and "we don't want people thinking we have strays in our area."
Dumfries is definitely what you make it and I'm trying to make the most of it. Do I see myself moving back to the big lights? I honestly can't say I do, I've fallen in love with my hometown and am proud to lay claim to being a Doonhamer! (16 year old me is disgusted!)
Dumfries. Well where to begin. I'm from Glasgow originally and moved down here 22 years ago. I have watched Dumfries grow and grow the town is developing new sites and new housing schemes all the time unfortunately each day there are businesses closing in the main high street.
I myself and my father both have businesses in Dumfries we have done for well over 10 years; We watch the development as consumers and as traders ourselves.
The general opinion of Dumfries is that it's a run down town full of drug abusers, homeless and general scallies. Granted it does have its fair share of rubbish, but what town doesn't.
I have lived here over 22 years now and I don't see me moving any time soon. Dumfries has a lot of good facilities and is constantly growing and improving.
OK we don't need 3-4 Tescos in the town, but someone obviously sees a need for them.
Dumfries has a thriving pub trade, there are well over 25 pubs / clubs in Dumfries Town Centre alone. But the quality of the night life leaves a lot to be desired. Three night clubs Jumpin Jaks, Chancers, the Venue. All of which have seen refurbishments come and go and still nothing seems to change. Same old places, with the same old faces and unfortunately, the same old music still playing 10 years after its release.
There is not a lot to do in Dumfries itself as a result most people go to Carlisle for a night out.
But Dumfries does have The IceBowl, which has both indoor ice skating and indoor carpet bowls.
Up till recently we also had an indoor Go-Karting track on the outskirts of Dumfries but it recently closed for reasons I can only assume.
Dumfries was the home of the famous Robert Burns poet. Everywhere in Dumfries there are reminders of the past with all the famous people who used to reside in Dumfries, but the only thing to come out of Dumfries recently has been Calvin Harris (Adam Wiles).
Overall Dumfries is a nice place to live; after all, I do call it my home.
Introduction I've written snippets about Dumfries. One of my very first reviews at Dooyoo was one about umfries's shopping area and I recently mentioned it in my A-Z of myself. I thought I would write a longer more thorough review of Dumfries in general, so sit back and enjoy. I?m a Doonhmaer (a resident of Dumfries) born and bred but I have a love-hate relationship with it! I do not actually live there anymore as I escaped to Manchester. Dumfries is the biggest town in Dumfries and Galloway which is the southwest corner of Scotland and is situated in a loop of the river Nith. Its population is about 32000. History It is an old town. It celebrated its octocentenary in 1986. The oldest house in the town dates to 1660 and now is a museum of social history. It has had an illustrious past with its most famous residents being Robert Buns the poet and James Matthew Barrie the playwright and author of Peter Pan. It was also the site of the last public hanging in Scotland and also plenty of witch trials. Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite army rode through the town and stole the town folk?s shoes and the slates off their roofs. Burke of Burke and hare 9 the grave robbers of Edinburgh) was hounded out of the town. From a visitor's point of view the town is quite pretty. The river flows through the middle and there is an old bridge dating back to mediaeval times. Parks There are nice attractive parks such as the Dock park (Dumfries used to be a port in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries until ships became too big to navigate the river), Grensands Park that used to contain deer until Foot And Mouth and Castledykes Park (the site of the old castle. Nothing of it remains now) Museums There are three museums. The main one Dumfries Museum is your standard local museum but is housed in an old windmill and also has a Camera Obscura. This is fantastic and well worth
visiting. It?s a forerunner o f the cinema. It?s lenses projecting an image onto a screen. It is really good. There is Burn's House Museum. I worked there for two summers. It is a must if you are interested in Burns as his Mausoleum in St Michael?s graveyard. The final museum is only open in the summer months. It is the Old Bridge House and consists of furnished period rooms including a nineteenth century dentist, complete with chair and cases of instruments. I've also worked there. The town also has the garden that inspired JM Barrie's Neverland in peter pan. However it is going to ruin in the hands of private ownership that is a travesty. It the council or a Heritage body should own it and it should be open to the public. Guid Nychburris (pronounced Good Neighbours) Guid Nychburris is the local town fesitival . it has something to do with the signing of Dumfries's charter. It is held in the middle of June. In the week leading up to the main Saturday all the horsey types flee about the boundries of Dumfries and the main roadson horseback. This is called the Riding of The Marches. It is an old tradition dating to when the English would come over the border and burn down Dumfries. The prinipal player's in this are the cornet who has a horn type thing and his lass. On Guid Nychburris Saturday the Queen of South is crowned. She is a girl from one of the four secondary schools. Later in the day (it used o be six o clockish but is now about mid afternoon) there is the big vehicle parde with decorated floats, pipe bands, majorettes and lots more. They moved it as there were tooo many drunk people around including some of the people on horseback!!. I used to love Guid Nychburris but it now seems less magical. I used to get sweets from the floats but now get car advertisiemnts from the useless cars in the parade soley being there to advertise garages. Be warned do not go out to the pubs on Guid Nychburris Saturday for a quiet
drink. The tradition is to have all day drinking and is proably the best day for the publicans bar hogamany. Shopping The shopping is not bad but it is not good either. There are some great little specialist shops such as Alternative. However it is mostly High Street shops that are smaller than others of the same chain elsewhere. Some of the streets have rows of boarded up shops, or mobile phone shops and charity shops have replaced them. Eating and Drinking Dumfries is actually not that bad for restaurants. It is especially good for little coffee shops. Try the Three Crowns Bistro. There light lunch of soup and a half-filled baguette is good value. Pumpernickel in the vennel is also good and if you ant to treat yourself or are with your granny the Old Bank is very genteel. For a more substantial meal there are plenty of pubs, hotel and a couple of Chineses and Indians. I would recommend you drive out to the Swan at Kingholm Quay which is a few miles outside of Dumfries. There are also plenty of Italian restaurants. The Pancake place was always a treat but I now find it expensive for what it is. Nightlife. I may be slightly outdated in this. The Lyver was always a good proper pub. I would recommend The Globe, as it was Robert Burn?s local haunt. Baker Street a Sherlock Holmes themed pub. You can not beat the Robe rt the Bruce, the local Weatherspoons pub. The pubs in Dumfries are generally quite cheap and if with the right company it is not a bad night out. However I would not really recommend it if you are looking for a hip happening clubbing venue. There are three clubs. The Venue is the best of a bad lot. It did have two floors one playing harder dance and the other playing a mix of cheese and chart. If back in Dumfries I go there. The only reason though is my best friend is the assistant manager. Chancers is more of the same only a slightly older audience. I have to admit I've only been there onc
e. The last one is Jumping Jacks a chain and I?ve been told to avoid it like the plague. Living in the Town The town was voted best place to live in Britain. I never understood that. The hospital is very good and most of the schools apart from Maxwellton High School are above average. However the town does have its bad points. The people I find are very cliquey and very narrow minded. It is the sort of town where it helps if your family have lived from time immoral. It is not great for cinema buffs. There are two cinemas. One is the Odeon and the other is the film theatre in the Burns Centre. The Odeon has one screen and only really shows blockbusters and kids films. The Film Theatre shows a variety of films including art house films. The only problem is it is only has 32 seats and you have to book about a month in advance. For theatre goes there is the Theatre Royal that sometimes has touring productions and regular productions by their Guild of Players. The ton is not great if you are particularly into music. There are local bands playing the pubs but if you want to see anyone half-decent you really need to go to Carlisle or Glasgow. Then again Terrorvision, Ocean Colour Scene and the Supernaturals have played Dumfries. Dumfries is a nice place to visit especially if you are older. However for younger people there is not much for them. Most of them like me leave
Dumfries, a very over estimated town in Scotland half an hour from the English border. It has a mix for everyone, it is full of history with Robert the Bruce and Rabby Burns having an influence on the town. It boasts a thriving town centre for shopping and a great night life. It has a variety of cafe's and restaraunts in and around the town and has many activities for children to keep them occupied. The town centre has been pedestrianised, parents enjoying the walk around town without the worry of kids and cars. The town also boast a very low crime rate The seaside is less than half an hour away. It also has many forest walks. The town is very picturesque with the river nith running through and the people are very friendly