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Head South


The South of Scotland has been named as one of Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel destinations for 2023. 

The publication revealed that the region, which covers the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway, is one of only two UK destinations and 30 worldwide to make the annual list. 

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2023 draws on expert local perspectives with the aim of helping travellers to discover a destination in the way most meaningful to them. 

The South of Scotland has been named in the Learn category, alongside Manchester, New Mexico, Dresden, El Salvador and Marseille. The region’s history and culture make it the ideal place for delving into the past to learn more about iconic figures such as Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott.  

The other categories are: Eat, Journey, Unwind and Connect.  

Responding to the South of Scotland’s inclusion in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2023, Tourism Minister Ivan McKee said: “Scotland is one of the world’s most iconic destinations with diverse and varied regions to be explored. The inclusion of the South of Scotland in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2023, only highlights this rich diversity.  

“This recognition will put the South of Scotland on the map for more foreign and domestic visitors and encourage them to stay longer and spend more as they sustainably explore and discover the region’s historical, cultural and natural attractions. This will contribute to supporting the recovery of the tourism and hospitality sector.”   Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said:“Scotland’s history, heritage and culture is what defines the country for many people, and one of the top reasons for visiting. The South of Scotland has close ties to some of our country’s most iconic literary figures and is home to many historical assets and attractions that offer visitors the opportunity to learn more about our fascinating country by delving into the past.“To be included in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2023 guide is a fantastic accolade for the South of Scotland and will help provide a welcome boost to the recovery of our valuable tourism industry by connecting with visitors from across the world and encourage them to explore the region more widely.“Tourism is a force for good. It creates jobs, sustains communities and contributes significantly to the economy.”Councillor Scott Hamilton, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Community and Business Development, said“Of course it is not just about our history though - visitors can learn about the production of lowland malt whisky at The Borders Distillery, or see how world-class cashmere is designed and made in various mills across the Borders, and all the while enjoying the incredible scenery of the Scottish Borders.“I have no doubt that this recognition will help drive more tourists to explore the Borders, and that is hugely important as our local businesses and the economy continue to recover following the Covid-19 pandemic.”Cllr Stephen Thompson, Co-Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council: “Cllr Linda Dorward, Co-Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council:Melanie Allen, Interim Chief Executive of the South of Scotland Destination Alliance and member of the newly-created Scottish Tourism Industry Leadership Group, said:“And what better year for the south of Scotland to capture the world’s attention than 2023, when we’re set to launch our incredible Coast to Coast cycle route, linking through sustainable travel, from Stranraer in the west with Eyemouth in the east.  I am sure that with our warm hospitality, the South of Scotland will become a magnet for visitors who wish to stay a while to experience and learn about our fascinating heritage with some of the most fabulous places to eat and drink that Scotland has to offer.”Professor Russel Griggs, South of Scotland Enterprise’s Chair, said:“While it continues to be a difficult time for the tourism industry, accolades such as this highlight the strength of the South of Scotland as a destination which offers so much to visitors.“There are a huge number of exciting events coming up in 2023, and working alongside our local and national partners, we are optimistic that the South of Scotland can attract even more visitors to stay, spend and enjoy our wonderful region.”

For more information visit:   or  


*Lonely Planet’s “Best in Travel 2023” list:Eat

Umbria, Italy 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

Fukuoka, Japan 

Lima, Peru 

South Africa 

Montevideo, Uruguay 


Istanbul to Sofia 

Nova Scotia, Canada 



Western Australia 

Parque National Naturales, Columbia 


Halkidiki, Greece 



Raja Ampat, Indonesia 






Accra, Ghana 

Sydney, Australia 


Boise, USA 


Manchester, UK 

New Mexico, USA 

Dresden, Germany 

El Salvador 

Southern Scotland 

Marseille, France  

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Head South

South of Scotland included in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2023

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ID 111568
Word count 1174 words


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