Newest Review: ... 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 po... more
Dumfries in General
Member Name: duskmaiden
Dumfries in General
Date: 02/05/03, updated on 02/05/03 (1597 review reads)
Advantages: God for tourists, smeof the pubs, nik nakc shops
Disadvantages: the people
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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