Dumfries & Galloway is the only Scottish region shortlisted for a prestigious award as the UK’s ‘Holiday Destination of the Year’.

The region is one of seven top Scottish attractions nominated across 11 categories in the BBC Countryfile Magazine 2015/16 Awards. The public are invited to vote for their favourites and choose the winners.

Voting closes on 31 January and votes can be placed online at the publication’s website: http://www.countryfile.com/awards2015-16

The magazine’s annual awards, which are now in their fifth year, celebrate the UK countryside and its people – from great heritage attractions and favourite holiday destinations, to the best nature reserves and rural pubs.

BBC Countryfile Magazine chose a panel of experts to select the shortlist of finalists for each category. They included BBC presenters John Craven, Ellie Harrison, Chris Packham and Miranda Krestovnikoff, writers Simon Barnes, Dixe Wills and Matt Swaine; photographer Guy Edwardes, BBC Gardener’s World editor Lucy Hall, Good Pub Guide editor Fiona Stapley and BBC Countryfile Magazine art editor Tim Bates.

Travel writer, Dixe Wills selected the nominees for ‘Holiday Destination of The Year’. In addition to Dumfries & Galloway, he shortlisted Suffolk in England, Snowdonia and Pembrokeshire in Wales and Causeway Coast and Glens in Northern Ireland.

In his nomination notes he summed up his reasons for selecting Dumfries & Galloway by saying: “An overlooked corner whose time has come. Castle Douglas is its gastronomic centre, Kirkcudbright its artistic beating heart, bookish Wigtown a worthy rival to Hay-on-Wye, while Galloway Forest contains the UK’s original Dark Sky Park. The jewel in the crown is Moniaive whose diverse music festivals have seen it proclaimed “Britain’s coolest village.”

VisitScotland Regional Director Paula McDonald said: “It’s absolutely fantastic that Dumfries & Galloway has been named as a finalist for such an important category in this year’s BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards. To be nominated by one of the country’s top travel writers is a superb acknowledgement of what an amazing location this is to visit and the incredible range of excellent range of things there are here to see and do. Dumfries & Galloway definitely deserves to be recognised as a national winner so I’d encourage as many people as possible – not only from the region but also across the length and breadth of Scotland – to take time to vote and help us win this wonderful accolade.”

The other Scottish contenders battling it out with Dumfries & Galloway against stiff competition from Britain’s best across the awards’ 11 categories are:

• Cairngorms for ‘National Park of the Year’
• Sand Beach near Applecross for ‘Beach of the Year’
• Applecross Inn in Applecross for ‘Pub of the Year’
• Glendoick Gardens for ‘Garden of the Year’
• The Old Man of Storr for ‘Landmark of the Year’
• Bass Rock for ‘Nature Reserve of the Year’ (the category winner in the 2014/15 awards)
Fergus Collins, editor of BBC Countryfile Magazine, commented: “With increasing pressures on the countryside and wider natural environment, it’s even more vital to shout about what makes rural Britain so special. Our annual awards help champion our landscapes, our wildlife and our country heroes. This year’s nominees represent the best of rural Britain and are exceptional examples of what the UK’s countryside has to offer.” Unsurprisingly, the wonders of Scotland are well represented in this year’s awards.”

The winners of the BBC Countryfile Magazine 2015/16 Awards will be announced online in March and will appear in the May issue of the publication which is on sale from 8 April. The complete list of nominees is available at: http://www.countryfile.com/awards2015-16

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