Whithorn can be visited by taking
south from the A75 at Newton Stewart.
Whithorn is the oldest as well of one of the newest attractions in Galloway, Scotland's Irish Sea province.
Behind the main street of Whithorn, beside the priory ruins (right), is an excavation. Since 1986 archaeologists have been investigating the site of an abandoned town, 1000 years ago the Anglo-Saxons called it 'Hwiterne' : earlier it was called 'Candida Casa' - the Shinning House.
1500 hundred years ago St. Ninian, Scotland's first saint, built a church here, beyond the failing front of the Roman empire. After Ninian's death, his church and shrine become a centre of pilgrimage. The shrine was taken over successively by Northumbrians, by Vikings and by Scots. And a cathedral was built to house the saint's remains. The Cathedral is now in ruins and the peaceful Royal Burgh of Whithorn shows little of its past importance.
The medieval Cathedral now lies in ruins. The crypts below St. Ninian's shrine and part of the Cathedral have survived in the present parish churchyard.
Whithorn houses the finest collection of carved stones and crosses in southern Scotland, including the 5th century Latinus stone , Scotland's earliest Christian monument and the 12th century Cross of Monreith.
There is a Discovery Centre where you can learn who worked and were buried in Whithorn, exhibitions and The Dig Shop, some of the craft work is in exclusive Whithorn designs, all proceeds go to the dig.
The site you can see is now restored at the level of the Northumbrian monastery, the foundations of the timber church and all other discovered buildings have been replaced where the archaeologists found them. There is an however an audio visual show of the dig which can be seen.