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Holidays in the countryside

Award for family helping put Dumfries on tourism map

Auchenlarie Holiday Park
Helen and Marshall Swalwell (foreground) and other family members who have developed the popular park

The family who helped pioneer camping and caravan holidays in Dumfries and Galloway have been given a special “thank you” by their trade association.

Auchenlarie Holiday Park in Gatehouse of Fleet has received a prestigious gold award from the British Holiday & Home Parks Association for its enterprise and loyalty.

The association is marking its 70th anniversary this year, and is celebrating its longest-serving members who have helped popularise outdoor holidays in Britain.

Park owners Marshall and Helen Swalwell first joined BH&HPA 25 years ago, and are assisted today in the running of the business by their sons Paul, Neil and Bob.

The couple bought the park in 1986, attracted by its picture-perfect location overlooked by the Galloway Hills, and its access to a secluded beach.

Since then, the family has invested much time and effort into creating an idyllic holiday destination for families visiting Southern Scotland.

Their reward has been to see guest numbers rise every year, and a raft of awards including a top five-star rating from VisitScotland and the maximum five pennants from the AA.

Facilities include an indoor pool, aromatherapy massage room, professional nightly entertainment in season, and plenty of activities for children to enjoy.

There is also a popular restaurant for freshly prepared meals, plus bars and takeaway facilities.

Guests can bring their own touring caravan, motorhome or tent, or rent or buy one of the park’s luxury holiday lodges or caravans, some of which have their own private hot-tubs.

Paul Swalwell says that Auchenlarie has always appealed to people seeking a high quality stay in one of Dumfries and Galloway’s most beautiful regions:

“Our family is immensely proud to be able to live and work in this glorious area, and from the outset we have always tried to run Auchenlarie on sustainable lines,” he said.

“There’s an abundance of animal and bird life here, and over the years we have planted many native trees and shrubs to provide additional habitats and feeding resources.

“We are also in the process of replacing the park’s five-strong housekeeping fleet with electric vehicles which are both quieter and non-polluting, and more vehicles will follow.

“We have always worked closely with BH&HPA and appreciate the help it gives to smaller businesses like ours, so it’s great to have them saying thanks to us in this way,” added Paul.

Auchenlarie is also a member of the Best of British group, a consortium of independent parks providing some of the highest quality standards and levels of hospitality in the UK.

There is more information about Auchenlarie, and its nearby smaller sister park, on the family’s website at www.swalwellholidaygroup.co.uk

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