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129km (80 miles) SW of Edinburgh; 127km (79 miles) SE of Glasgow; 55km (34 miles) NW of Carlisle

A county town and royal burgh, the Galloway center of Dumfries enjoys associations with national poet Robert Burns and Peter Pan author James Barrie. Burns lived in Dumfries from 1791 until his death in 1796, and wrote some of his best-known songs here, including "Auld Lang Syne" and "Ye Banks and Braes of Bonnie Doon." A statue of Burns stands on High Street; you can visit his house, his favorite pub, and his mausoleum. Barrie was a pupil at the academy here and later wrote that he got the idea for Peter Pan from his games in the nearby garden.

Whitesands, the widest esplanade in Dumfries, flanks the edge of the River Nith. It was once the scene of horse and hiring fairs and is a fine place to park your car and explore this provincial town. The town center is reserved for pedestrians, and on the opposite bank of the Nith, the public Deer Park offers a small-scale manicured version of the wild majesty of Scotland. Allow a morning to visit the city's major sights, but there's even more to see in the surrounding countryside, including Sweetheart Abbey, Ellisland Farm, and Drumlanrig Castle at Thornhill, which is filled with artwork by Rembrandt and Leonardo da Vinci, among others.