Whithorn is famed as the site where the earliest known evidence for Christian practice and settlement has been found anywhere in (what is now) Scotland – in around 450AD. Archaeologists have been excavating here for 130 years and have uncovered evidence of Scotland’s first town, widespread trading contacts, a burgeoning pilgrimage trade and occupation dating back 1600 years. The Whithorn Trust manages the site, a permanent exhibition and temporary displays, offers guided tours of the outdoor site where there is a full-scale Iron Age roundhouse for you to experience. It also promotes research and organises community events.

Visit contemporary Whithorn and dig into the past.

Whithorn has a pristine Georgian streetscape, but, scratch the surface, and you will find layers of archaeological evidence relating to centuries of its thriving monastery and a much earlier, more surprising history of international trade and contact with the late Roman Empire.

Buy a Digital Ticket

Before you visit and get access to our films and slideshows introducing the site. The same ticket gets you access to the museum and visitor centre. Our ticket gives access for one full year to the Roundhouse tours, permanent and temporary exhibitions, and the Museum of early carved stones, including the oldest Christian monument in Scotland.

Walk the Whithorn Way

The Whithorn Way is a 149 mile walking and cycling route, reimagining the pilgrimage route to Whithorn from Glasgow in the Middle Ages. Broken into 13 segments of around 15 miles each. Collect passport stamps at venues on the route on your passport or smartphone and get your certificate! From August 2022, there’s a bunkhouse in Whithorn operated by the All Roads Lead to Whithorn charity.

Watch our video of Whithorn, which gives you a contemporary take on the town and modern life in Whithorn.

Whithorn Origins

Whithorn enters the historical record in the work of Bede, who speaks of “Candida Casa”, the white shining house, which translates into the “Whithorn” of the Anglo-Saxons. The landscape around Whithorn is rich in archaeological sites, dating back to prehistory, while you can also see mottes, tower houses, and other sites relating to St Ninian dotting the countryside.

RESEARCH

The Whithorn Trust acts as an ambassador for archaeology in our region and promotes research, particularly into the story of Whithorn. The vast archaeological archive unearthed by the excavations of the 1980’s to 1990’s is now the subject of extensive scientific testing as part of our Cold Case Whithorn project. We often have lectures and projects that the public can join.

Shop

Through our online shop, you can buy your Whithorn Way guidebook, maps and a small selection of local artisan products. Buying from us helps support our charity’s wider operations. Please drop by to sample our tearoom and fresh baked cakes and scones!

Take part – volunteer

The Whithorn Trust runs successfully thanks to a small army of volunteers, who do everything from giving guided tours to arranging flowers, gardening and helping in the Cafe. Our family of staff and volunteers are friendly and devoted to telling the story of Whithorn through the ages. If you’re thinking about volunteering, please get in touch!

Latest news and events

The Whithorn Trust runs an activecalendar of events, working with local schools to promote high quality educational projects and also hosts well-loved community events such as the Christmas grotto and lectures at Wigtown Book Festival. Keep up to date through oursocial media pages as well!