Peter Pan Moat Brae, Dumfries – Fly with Peter Pan to Neverland

The fabulous Joanna Lumley, patron of Moat Brae.

Peter Pan Moat Brae Dumfries opens on 1 June 2019. This house and its gardens inspired JM Barrie to write Peter Pan, and it was saved from the wrecking ball three days before demolition!

Moat Brae has been renovated and transformed into Scotland’s National Centre for Storytelling and Children’s Literature. And with Joanna Lumley as a patron, it has to be something pretty special. We experienced a preview visit, so whilst things weren’t 100% finished, I can reveal lots of juicy details covered in fairy dust.

First impressions

Let us in!

Moat Brae is so imaginative regarding how it conveys information to children. It’s about peeking, clapping, reading, listening to whispers, climbing and crawling. It’s not a boring museum with artefacts in glass boxes with dull descripitions in tiny print. It’s about interaction and imagination.

When you arrive you’re measured to discover if you’re ‘young enough to know everything’, and to discover which character from Peter Pan you are. Junior was Nibs and Mr Tot was Wendy. A door to Neverland beckoned them onwards.

In the Dining Room a table is set, with each setting revealing a key player in the story of JM Barrie and Peter Pan. Next moment, a painting comes to life, and it’s JM Barrie telling his own story.

Another room reveals a little bit about the house, its architect, and places in Dumfries that resonated with JM Barrie. A wonderful touch is a wee keyhole – peer through it to discover what happened when Barrie and his mates were accidentally locked in at school and had to break their way out!

Moat Brae also has the original ‘Tinker bell’ that tinkled during the first stage production of Peter Pan. Kids clap their hands and stamp their feet to activate the bell, it tinkles, then Joanna Lumley’s voice ‘translates’ what the fairy just said. So cute, and the kids believed it all!

Mr Anderson’s Library

Tick tock tick tock…

This library is a gem. A beautiful space for hanging out and reading a few retro books with the kids. The decor is imaginative – an alligator’s tale sticking out of the wall adds a certain something! There are also reading nooks under the stairs, perfect child-sized snugs to cosy up in. Ideal for slow rainy days.


Theatreland features a ‘real life stage’ and a big box of dressing up clothes, giving the tots the chance to act out scenarios as daring pirates or as the Darling children. Another wonderful touch is a dog kennel in the wall. Kids crawl through the kennel to reach the next room. Parents can follow suit or they can take the conventional door route!

Welcome to Theatreland

Catching Tinkerbell & Peter Pan

Once you’ve caught up with your kids, you’ll discover that next door to Theatreland is the ultimate chase! Our kids adored catching the glitter ball of Tinkerbell and the shadow of Peter Pan. ‘Catch it’ by hitting the wall. Tinkerbell then bursts into a glittery display, and Peter Pan transforms into a moving pirate ship or alligator. Hard to explain, but quite addictive for tots. The voice of Joanna Lumley encourages children in their pursuit of our heroes.

The Discovery Garden

A map of the Discovery Garden

Outside is a riverside play park for wee ones. A Lost Boys Lookout provides a climbing frame and slides. The Jolly Roger pirate ship is another climbing, sliding endeavour. The Mermaid’s Lagoon transforms mini-mortals into shimmering beasts with glistening tales – a great photo opportunity. And of course there’s a Wendy House.

Café and Shop

A café and a gift shop will be open to visitors. These weren’t available to use during our preview.

Ultimately, Moat Brae is a fantastic addition to Dumfries, and it offers something one-of-a-kind. If you’re interested in children’s literature, reading, Peter Pan, Scotland, architecture, Dumfries, Joanna Lumley, magic or fun, then it may be the place for you. #NeverGrowUp

Our Story

Moat Brae is in Dumfries itself so it’s relatively easy to reach by public transport. We drove from Aberdeen, which took roughly 3.5 hours. We spent three nights in the area, discovering a range of child-friendly activities in Dumfries and Galloway. I’d recommend private transport for touring and sightseeing.

If you like what you read then don’t miss a post, enter your email address in the follow box and You’re In, join the conversation on Facebook, or check out the bonny photos on Instagram. For any queries or opportunities please email Text copyright of Scots2Travel. Check out our Privacy Policy here. We received a complimentary preview of Peter Pan Moat Brae Dumfries for press purposes, covering our own transport and food. 




  1. Reply

    Catherine's Cultural Wednesdays

    June 7, 2019

    This sounds like the perfect place to visit and I really want to try that silvery mermaid tail! #CulturedKids

    • Reply


      June 10, 2019

      I did ram my adult body into the tail! I’m sure it was quite fetching 🙂

  2. Reply

    Kids of the Wild

    June 8, 2019

    This sounds like a really well thought out attraction for children. I absolutely love the dog kennel in the wall door! The kids must have loved the feeling of independence going through without you! #culturedkids

    • Reply


      June 10, 2019

      Exactly, I chased after them on all fours, but my husband had to take the door. Lots of lovely little details here.

  3. Reply

    Diary of a Londoness

    June 9, 2019

    How wonderful that Joanna Lumley’s exquisite voice has been used for the tour. This exhibition sounds absolutely magical, a perfect excuse to travel to Dumfries if ever there was one! Thanks for linking up with #CULTUREDKIDS.

    • Reply


      June 10, 2019

      Her Tinkerbell translations were a hit with me…

  4. Reply


    June 11, 2019

    sounds like a great attraction for kids #culturedkids

    • Reply


      June 17, 2019

      That’s what they’re aiming for…

  5. Reply


    June 14, 2019

    I love how imaginative and child-friendly the interpretation sounds. And that playground looks AMAZING! Such a great day out idea for young kids #CulturedKids

    • Reply


      June 17, 2019

      Naturally, the site really promotes reading and storytelling too. Ideal in Scotland’s changeable weather!

  6. Reply

    Nancy | MapandFamily

    June 18, 2019

    It sounds wonderful and full of clever ideas. I love the dog kennel door though that big tail looks a bit scary! I’m so glad they saved the house from demolition too!

    • Reply


      July 29, 2019

      A lovely piece of history.

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