Whithorn is built around a long and wide main street lined with interesting town houses, many of which are listed buildings.
The villlage, known as the “Cradle of Christianity” is steeped in history as it is where St Ninian founded the first Christian Church in Scotland around 1500 years ago.
One of the main attractions for visitors to Whithorn is the Whithorn Trust Visitor Centre along with the ruins of the Priory, the archeological site and the museum. The Visitor Centre also has a cafe serving home baking and light meals as well as a gift shop.
There are several interesting shops such as Priory Antiques and Pend Books lining George Street – Whithorn`s Main Street.
St. Ninian was Scotland`s first saint who introduced Christianity to Scotland around AD 450. The remains of St Ninian`s Chapel can be seen at the Isle of Whithorn.The larger St Ninian`s Priory in Whithorn was built later and can be visited along with the gloomy Priory Crypts. King Robert the Bruce came to Whithorn in 1329 seeking a cure for his leprosy while in 1507 King James IV walked from Edinburgh to Whithorn to pray. St Ninan`s Cave, where he went to meditate is a few miles from Whithorn and is a popular place to visit both tourist and pilgrims alike.
Scotland`s Smallest Theatre?
The Swallow Theatre, about three miles from Whithorn is probably Scotland`s smallest theatre and possibly Scotland`s sothernmost theatre! It holds over 20 events each year and, interestingly, all its lighting is from renewable sources.
Whithorn Town Trail
The area around George Street, Whithorn is an Outstanding Conservation Area. The Whithorn Town Trail takes about an hour to complete and the leaflet can be purchased for a few pence at The Whithorn Story. The trail takes in over 30 properties whose history and architectural features are beautifully described in the leaflet.
The Roads around Whithorn are normally quiet and fairly level so are ideal for cycling. There are four colour coded, signposted routes in the Machars. Two of the routes take in Whithorn. The Green Route is 20 miles long and heads cross country via Mochrum, passing Bronze Age standing stones and carvings along the way to the coast at Port William and Monreith before returning to Whithorn. The 17 mile red Route takes you to Garlieston and onward along the coastline to one of the most picturesque harbour-side villages in South West Scotland – the Isle of Whithorn
Cycle hire is available at Kirkcowan. More information on Cycling in the Machars here
St Ninian`s Cave
While it is possible to walk to St Ninian`s Cave from Whithorn, it is more usual to park at Kisdale, a couple of miles form Whithorn. The walk from here takes about an hour there and back. A good path leads through delightful woodland before arriving at the shore form where it is a short walk to the cave. Excellent views of the Isle of Man from the shore. You can also walk to st Ninian`s Cave from Burrow Head which would take about 2-3 hours one way. There is no direct road access to the cave.
Where can I get a Coffee?
Try the Whithorn Story / Whithorn Trust Visitor Centre ( see above). Or perhaps the Central Cafe also in George Street where three generations of the Soriani family have owned the Cafe since 1933. They even make their own delicious traditional ice cream.