With its plethora of bookshops, quiet streets, views over Wig Bay, abundant birdlife and a colourful history, Scotland’s National Book Town is an overgrown village where you can wrap yourself in the comfort of a slower way of life.
There is something unreservedly appealing about a town that has a bowling green at its very heart, set out neatly in the town square in front of the disproportionately large and imposing County Building, a sign of past prosperity.
Looking at today’s peaceable town with its gaily coloured houses and its delightful dedication to matters bookish, it is difficult to believe that this was once a major centre with a trade built upon the fortunes of a port that is now silted up, where cattle were corralled in the railed enclosure in the town centre and the green was the common dunghill, and where the savage murder of innocent victims occurred during Covenanting times.
Wigtown Book Festival
Founded in 1999, the Wigtown Book Festival is now in its third decade and the town itself now boasts almost 20 independent shops that sell books, from full blown bookshops to a café and gallery with book sections, covering vintage and antiquarian tomes as well as modern and recently released editions.
The Book Festival itself is run by the Wigtown Festival Company and is normally held in late September/early October. It’s a fun affair with a wide range of talks on all manner of topics given by everyone from international celebrities to local authors. The Telegraph said it is ‘one of the best autumn festivals in the world’. As attendees and speakers ourselves, we would have to agree!