Glenluce is a small rural village situated off the main A75 leading to Stranraer in the County of Wigtownshire. Its main claim to fame is the 12th-century Cistercian abbey, but it’s also home to the wonderfully relaxing and peaceful Whitecairn Holiday Park.
Our visit was rather a last minute thing. Having been on a previous trip travelling the NC500 (Travel: NC500 – Scotland. How to break your motorhoming virginity!), our hired vehicle developed engine problems and the second part of the holiday had to be cancelled. So, a quick search of Google revealed the above holiday park located in a part of Scotland I had spent little time in. And, what a lucky find it was too.
Whitecairn is in the Dumfries and Galloway Council region in the southern tip of Scotland and is very well-placed for touring this particular part of the country.
Normally access to the properties is from 2pm however, on the day before we were due to leave home, a member of staff called to advise we could arrive anytime from 10am as the unit wasn’t being used the evening prior to our arrival. A nice personal touch there, so things were looking positive from the outset.
The park and its sister one just five minutes along the road is family run and owned and it shows. There’s a certain level of attention to detail given by the owners that you rarely find in the larger corporate-run businesses.
The personal touches are also evident. Greeting you by name, escorting you to your lodge, the explanation of how everything works, where the best restaurants are, what you need to know about the hot tub all came as second nature, rather than the chore others can make it appear.
On arrival at the reception block to check in, the individual who telephoned us, and we now knew to be called Dave, welcomed us to the site. We were given maps of the local area, told to help ourselves to tourist brochures and were then told to settle in and he would pop over to show us – or rather, my wife – how everything operated. A smart man is Dave!
After parking the car in the private space provided, we unloaded the bags into what was now proving to be a rather fortuitous Google search result. From the outside, the lodge looked huge. It was situated next to the reception block and the launderette/toilet block which could be utilised by touring caravan customers. But don’t worry, they were hardly ever used, and there was no smell whatsoever.
They say first impressions count – and boy was this ever the case here. The lodge backs onto open farmland with gorgeous views to the hills beyond and in the opposite direction down to Luce Bay. At the rear of the lodge, there’s a private decked area with a picnic bench, a second separate area with a patio table and chairs and of course the hot tub, all of which are screened in with wooden fencing to ensure complete privacy. For use at night the exterior areas are illuminated.
Disabled access is great, even for wheelchair users, although you’d want to make sure that all the doors are wide enough.
Entering the Lodge via a vestibule which formed the utility room with laundry facilities, containing a washing machine, sink and plenty of storage meant we could safely remove outdoor footwear before entering the lodge.
The vestibule leads to a corridor off which the rest of the accommodation can be accessed. The open plan lounge/dining area/kitchen area is a very respectable 7m x 9m in size. It has two patio doors to a small gable decked area. This overlooks the reception block and it’s unlikely you’d want to sit out here in the evening, particularly since you have a much more private area at the back of the lodge. The dining table accommodates six people while the open plan lounge has two three-seater settees. The lodge is very well furnished to a high standard with a coffee table, electric fire, DVD player and a flatscreen TV.
The kitchen is exceptionally well fitted out, including a breakfast bar with two stools. It had everything you could possibly need for a stay even right down to the plastic glasses for outdoor hot tub use. There was ample food storage, a good size fridge, separate freezer, a dishwasher, an oven, five ring gas hob, grill, microwave, along with a double sink unit. Helpfully, all the electrical sockets also provided USB charging points.
The space is extremely light and airy due to the almost wraparound windows and the two full-length floor to ceiling patio doors. Colour-wise, it’s very neutral in shades of creams, browns and whites with the odd touch of colour to contrast and set off everything else, with red patterned cushions and curtains doing just that.
All the windows had been fitted with day/night blinds as well as curtains allowing for privacy after dark
Having had a good look round I was fairly certain that our lodge was brand new, as it was in pristine condition.
There’s room for hanging jackets etc in a hall cupboard where the ironing board was also located. Further down this corridor were all three bedrooms – a twin bedroom, the master double ensuite and a further twin room with attached bathroom which could also be accessed off the corridor. All were very well appointed and furnished to the same exacting standard.
The first twin room was 4m x 3m in size. The double room was 3.5m x 4m with an ensuite of 4m x 1.5m. The third bedroom, a twin was 4m x 4.5m with a much larger ensuite measuring 4m x 2.5m.
All the bedrooms had plenty of storage space including chests of drawers, built-in wardrobes, dressing tables, bedside cabinets etc. The bathrooms contained fitted shower cabinets which were built in and contained both storage space and a seat. The main bathroom space contained plenty of extra storage. The showers provide ample hot water and while not a power shower it’s absolutely fine and more than fit for purpose in a lodge.
It’s a small park and you can walk around it in 10 minutes. It has a mix of caravan and holiday lodges, some for hire and others which are quite obviously privately owned. The site has a small fishing pond – the website claims it’s a trout pond, but reception advised me it’s now filled with coarse fish – tench and carp. On visiting for a look before casting a fly, I decided not to bother. The pond was dirty and brown, and I’m unsure where the water supply for it originates, or if it’s simply rainwater fed. Either way, it needs a good flush out. It’s now regarded by the park as a children’s fishing pond and not one for the serious game angler.
Apart from that there really are no other facilities, so don’t arrive expecting a shop, entertainment complex, restaurants, bar etc.
For touring caravans and motorhomes there’s a toilet block along with the launderette and showers both at reception and within the area of the park designated for these. At the time of my visit, May 2019, this section had four marked electric hook-up bays on hardstanding surfaces.
Reception is open 9am to 5pm however a 24 /7 warden is available on a dedicated telephone line. For those without a mobile telephone in need of the warden overnight there’s also a public call box located at reception.
VisitScotland, Scotland’s national tourism agency have awarded this park a five-star award. There’s free Wi-Fi throughout the site but it’s rather hit and miss though. Connecting is no problem, but remaining connected is the main difficulty. My connection would not stay active and sometimes dropped out within seconds of logging in. Luckily, O2 provided a 4G signal locally so I had no real problems in tethering to the internet.
The park and its environs are a wonderfully relaxing location but suited to a more mature customer. There is a small family play park, but it’s limited in kit. There’s plenty of green space available though for children to utilise. Parents should note that the fishing pond located near the play park area is unfenced and children should, therefore, be supervised at all times.
Dogs are permitted, and we saw several owners walking theirs during our stay. Some hire units permit customers to bring their pet with them. If like us, you don’t have any pets, and would rather a hire unit that has had no pets in it, this is possible via the booking system.
The park management do not promote accommodation for large party groups, such as stag or hen parties and there are signs by the hot tubs advising guests to respect others, keeping noise to a minimum after 10pm.
After our first night, I can confirm that this is a noise-free environment. We never heard a thing, other than an owl hooting. Bliss, sheer bliss.
What was perhaps missing and would have been handy, was a dressing gown and disposable slippers which could have been used when walking between the lodge to the hot tub and back again.
As I said, it’s a very relaxing location, and at the time of my visit (May 2019), it was still very quiet in the park.
The unit we were in was named Aviemore. Making enquiries with reception it turns out this is 18 months old, however, it would have been difficult to guess because it was in immaculate condition, almost like new. The living room in the lodge is lit by LED downlighters and perhaps a couple of standard lamps would have been a nice addition rather than the harshness of the overhead lighting, of which there were 16 downlighters in total and it made for a fairly bright environment.
I would caution if your cooking sausages like we did one morning, to think about opening a window in advance, as the smoke detector is extremely sensitive. This meant lots of flapping of t-towels until such time as we could hear ourselves again!
It was nice to see that a staff member arrived every morning around 8am to test and check the water quality in the hot tub. This feature of the hire was a perfect prescription for the stresses of a back injury, although management point out that only plastic glasses should be used out of doors or in the hot tub. On leaving that same member of staff arrived to drain down the tub and clean it for the next guests.
So, is it good value? Based on a three-night weekend booking at the standard cost of £550, and remembering it’s a six-berth unit, that makes it £30.61 per person per night. To my mind, for what you get, that’s exceptional value for money.
Off on holiday now? There’s plenty to see and do in the area.
See links below
Whitecairn Holiday Park – Visit here for latest prices.
The Mull of Galloway experience – You can climb the lighthouse here.
Glenluce Abbey – 400 years of monastic life.
Stranraer – VisitScotland’s guide to this seaside town.
Wigtown Book Town – Scotland’s National Book Town.
Logan Botanic gardens – Almost like being abroad on holiday!
Glenwhan Gardens – Travel: Glenwhan Gardens. A delightful gem in Scotland’s gardens crown.
Logan Fish Pond – Rough and ready, but hugely interesting.
Ryan Leisure Centre – Swimming pool, flumes, cinema – great for the kids.
7stanes Glentrool – One for all the biking fans out there.
Creetown Gem Rock Museum – Perhaps a small sparkler for the special person in your life?