Several south of Scotland businesses shortlisted in regional Thistle Awards

The Trimontium Museum in Melrose.

The Trimontium Museum in Melrose and The Devil's Porridge Museum in Eastriggs have made the shortlist for the first Scottish Thistle Awards, hosted by the South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA).

It celebrates the best of the tourism and events industry which is worth £11.5 billion to the Scottish economy.

More than 30 tourism businesses, events and individuals are in the running to receive the award, selected from a pool of 112 entries from across the region. 

The award ceremony will take place at the Cairndale Hotel and Leisure Club in Dumfries on 5th October 2023.

The Devil’s Porridge Museum in Dumfries and Galloway is shortlisted in the Best Visitor Attraction category, as well as in the new Celebrating Thriving Communities category, alongside Go Wild Scotland Community Interest Group in Selkirk.  

Collection of Roman coins in the Trimontium Museum, which has made the shortlist.

Dalscone Farm Park in Dumfries and the Trimontium Museum in Melrose are in running for the Best Visitor Attraction category and are also going head-to-head in the Innovation in Tourism category. 

Meanwhile, Gather near Gatehouse of Fleet is shortlisted for the Best Eating Experience award, alongside The Allanton Inn in Berwickshire, and Out-there Artisan in Jedburgh.  

Eilidh Cox, owner of Out-there Artisan in Jedburgh, said: “The pandemic has been such a test to many businesses and being able to continue to build and expand Out-there Artisan by being shortlisted for the regional award fills me with pride. "Just making it to the final is a huge honour but to bring the award home would be a huge achievement for my whole team and our amazing customers that make running my business possible.”  

Ellis Corrigan, from Dalscone Farm Park said, "We work hard to ensure visitors of all ages have an unforgettable and fun day out at Dalscone  and it’s great to be recognised for this.

"Our live streams about our farm park on social media platforms have resulted in an increase in national and international visitors to the region."

“Tourism, events and hospitality businesses are crucial to the South of Scotland’s community and economic prosperity," said David Hope-Jones OBE, Chief Executive of the South of Scotland Destination Alliance."The sector has weathered some huge challenges in recent years but, through all this, businesses have worked tirelessly to ensure the South of Scotland remains a leading global destination – as recognised by Lonely Planet. 

“Our new South of Scotland Thistle Awards allow us to celebrate our region’s leading lights in the sector, recognising quality and excellence.  "My hearty congratulations to the outstanding businesses named today as regional finalists.  We look forward to our inaugural South of Scotland Thistle Awards in Dumfries in October – the ‘Oscars’ of tourism in the South!” 

Dalscone Farm Park, Dumfries and Galloway

The full South of Scotland Thistle Awards shortlist, by category: 

Best B&B or Guest House Experience 

  • The Ghillie B&B, Melrose


  • Queensberry House, Moffat


  • Nithbank Country Estate, Thornhill


Best Bar or Pub 

  • The Cross Keys, Ettrickbridge


Best Eating Experience 

  • Allanton Inn, Allanton


  • Gather

    , Gatehouse of Fleet


  • Out-there Artisan, Jedburgh


Best Hotel Experience 

  • The Cairndale Hotel and Leisure Club, Dumfries


  • Cringletie Hotel, Peebles


  • The Selkirk Arms Hotel, Kirkcudbright


Best Outdoor or Adventure Experience 

  • Beirhope Alpacas, Hownam near Kelso


  • Kitchen Coos and Ewes, Newton Stewart


  • Ridelines, Innerleithen


Best Self-Catering Accommodation Experience 

  • Arden Holiday Cottage, Dumfries


  • Loch Ken Eco Bothies, Castle Douglas


  • Tiny Home Borders, Hawick


Best Visitor Attraction 

  • Dalscone Farm Park, Dumfries


  • The Devil’s Porridge Museum, Eastriggs


  • Trimontium Museum, Melrose


Celebrating Thriving Communities 

  • The Devil’s Porridge Museum, Eastriggs


  • Go Wild Scotland Community Interest Group, Selkirk


  • KPT Development Trust, Thornhill


Climate Action Award 

  • Nithbank Country Estate, Thornhill


Innovation in Tourism 

  • Dalscone Farm Park, Dumfries


  • Trimontium Museum, Melrose


Outstanding Cultural Event or Festival 

  • Borders Book Festival, Melrose


  • Newton Stewart and Minnigaff Traditional Music and Dance Festival, Newton Stewart


  • Spring Fling Open Studios, Dumfries


  • Stranraer Oyster Festival, Stranraer


Tourism & Hospitality Employer of the Year 

  • Barend Holiday Lodges & The Beagle Country Pub, Dalbeattie


Tourism Individual of the Year 

  • Melanie Allen, Thornhill


  • Richard Brodie, Eastriggs