THE best of the Borders was celebrated last week at Visit Scotland's 27th annual tourism awards.

Four Borders businesses were regional winners at the Scottish Thistle Awards held in Edinburgh on November 14.

Over 600 entries were made to the 2019 awards, and over 1000 public nominations were made.

The Lothian and Borders regional round of the awards featured 14 categories, with the Borders running away with four awards.

Kingsmuir House, Peebles won the award for the most hospitable B&B/Guest House, where judges commended the business for its collaboration with local suppliers. Malcolm and Karen Mullarkey who own Kingsmuir House said: "We were delighted when Kingsmuir House was selected as the Winner for Lothian & Borders regional finals. This an exceptional achievement making me so proud of the quality, attention to detail and the continued customer service we provide to all of our guests has been recognised once again."

Winners of the Working Together for Tourism award was Ride Scottish Borders. The Southern Uplands Partnership run project promotes the Borders as a holiday location for horse riders and their families. The project was praised by judges for highlighting a unique aspect of tourism in the Borders.

Ride Scottish Borders project coordinator, Gowan Miller, said: "Winning this award has been thanks to a tourism collective of very talented & dedicated individuals and businesses. From our funders & stakeholders through to the accommodation providers and associated services. All have one drive and that is to get the Scottish Borders recognised as the premier equestrian destination in the UK."

From Melrose, Wildtree Adventures received the Best Outdoor Adventure Experience award for their work in providing new adventure experiences to guests, helping them build new skills and confidence. Wildtree will also go on to the National awards next March.

Director of Wild Tree Adventures, Tim Chamberlain, said: "We are honoured and delighted to be recognised in these awards, thank you! Over the last two years we’ve helped hundreds of people to adventure high into the canopy of amazing trees. All have discovered something of the magic of up there. We look forward to a fabulous 2020!"

And last, but not least, Rutherfords Micropub, Kelso. Rutherfords were awarded the Best Bar/Pub in the region, with judges praising the smallest pub in Scotland for finding new and innovative ways to grow the business.

Owners, Debbie and Simon Rutherford, told us: "We are absolutely thrilled to win this prestigious award, and would like to thank our staff who work so hard to offer a really personalised experience. Customers are welcome to 'try before you buy' and experience some drinks you definitely won't get anywhere else."

Rebecca Brooks, chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel and VisitScotland Board member, added: "On behalf of the panel, I’d like to congratulate all our regional winners. The Scottish Thistle Awards give businesses and individuals working within tourism in Scotland the opportunity to earn the recognition and appreciation they deserve from their own industry peers.

"They celebrate those people and businesses throughout the country responsible for offering the warmest of welcomes that Scotland is famous for.

"Tourism is more than a holiday experience, it creates jobs and sustains communities. These awards let us recognise the unsung heroes of our industry who show real dedication and enthusiasm for Scotland’s tourism industry.

"I would like to wish all our regional winners the very best for the next stage of the competition."

The National Awards will be held on Thursday, March 5, 2020 in Edinburgh.

For a full list of all the regional winners, visit