Dumfries and Galloway
Towns and villages
See this blog entry  for an overview of many of these places and more, taking a generally idyllic view of the region but a grim one of its principal town.
Although there is a limited level of public transport, much of Galloway only becomes accessible with a car.
Dumfries and Stranraer both have train stations, with services from Glasgow every few hours.
Several UK cities - including London, Glasgow, and Manchester - have bus services that go to Stranraer and then on to Belfast.
Rail services in the area are limited. All of the villages have some level of bus provision, with Stranraer, Newton Stewart and Dumfries being the main hubs for this type of transport.
Taxis are another option for short journeys, with most towns having at least one taxi company.
Although it's feasible to get around by public transport to some extent, many of the highlights in the region are only really accessible if you have your own transport.
Walking, pony trekking, mountain biking are all popular and easy to access here.
Visit the vast plantation forests of Galloway, which have various access points and amenities for visitors. Glen Trool is a forest park close to Newton Stewart with forest walks, a circular walk around Loch Trool, and a path up Merrick, the highest hill in southern Scotland.
A long distance walking trail called the Southern Upland Way passes through the area, starting on the coast at Portpatrick, trekking through the forests before leaving the region at Wanlockhead and eventually finishing on the North Sea coast south of Edinburgh at Cockburnspath.
Fishing is a popular sport here. Local tackle shops can provide advice on or sell permits for loch and river fishing. Sea fishing is also good fun, but be careful on the Solway Coast as the tide comes in quickly along the sandy, flat inlets.
Those interested in history can visit sites related to the Scottish Wars of Independence, the Covenanters and various other historical events.
Galloway is famous for dairy produce, including a variety of local cheeses and Cream of Galloway ice-cream, a luxury brand produced near Kirkcudbright and widely available throughout the region.
Pub food is generally above average; most villages have at least one pub that serves excellent meals.
Speaking of smokehouses, the Galloway Smokehouse supplies a range of excellent smoked meats, cheeses and fish. Marberry Smokehouse has an outlet close by - the company supplies many top restaurants in Glasgow and further afield.
In early summer, new pototoes are available either local or from Ayrshire, and are something of a local delicacy.
Local game is sometimes available from butchers and restaurants.
Castle Douglas styles itself as the region's food town - both locally produced and more exotic foodstuffs are available there.
Bladnoch distillery is the only whisky distillery in the region, and well worth trying.
Many of the local watering holes provide a range of real ales.