Situated on the beautiful Clyde coast, your holiday experience in Ayrshire and Arran is sure to be memorable. Exhilarating scenery, a fascinating history, exciting outdoor activities, world class golf and forever associated with Robert Burns, the National Poet of Scotland. And that’s not all… visit ancient castles, colourful gardens, peaceful country and forest parks, unspoiled market towns and taste some of the finest, freshest food available in Scotland.
Ayrshire and Robert Burns are synonymous. Born in the village of Alloway near Ayr in 1759, you can trace the life of the Bard starting at the Burns National Heritage Park. The towns of Irvine, Mauchline and Kilmarnock, and a host of rural villages, have close associations with the poet. Ayrshire, its countryside and people, provided Burns with the inspiration for many of his best loved poems and songs. His influence and popularity in the region live on.
Discover some of the remarkable historic properties that grace the area. Culzean Castle and Country Park near Maybole, is the masterpiece of the 18th century architect, Robert Adam, offering panoramic views of the Firth of Clyde. Kelburn and Dean Castle are very well preserved and certainly worth a visit. Many more are now atmospheric ruins, but all with tales to tell, such as Dunure, Greenan and Portencross.
This corner of Scotland is awash with beautiful gardens of all shapes and sizes. Grand castle estates and parks at Culzean, Dean and Eglinton are complemented by more intimate, privately owned gardens. Many of these open to the public through Scotland’s Garden Scheme.
Search no further for your golfing paradise – Ayrshire and Arran have over forty outstanding courses offering superb challenges for the professional or amateur alike. Chief among them are the famous Open Championship links at Turnberry, Royal Troon and Prestwick. In fact, it was at Prestwick that the Open – the most important golf tournament in the world - was first played in 1860.
So here is your own ‘open’ invitation to come and explore this marvellous area. Whether it’s to tee-off, join the Burns trail, enjoy an island idyll or the romance of its fascinating heritage.
All our recommended B&Bs are run by the owners who live on site
The Isle of Arran is just 20 miles long and 10 miles wide and is often described as ‘Scotland in miniature’. Indeed, it encapsulates everything that’s best about the country, but in a manageable, digestible form. A lovely coastline is studded with pretty villages and is complemented by a rugged mountainous interior in the northern half of the island. In contrast, the south is characterized by gentle, green rolling hills and sandy bays. A very scenic road circumnavigates the island and makes a wonderful tour by car or cycle.
Brodick is the island capital, reached by ferry from Ardrossan across the Firth of Clyde, a relaxing passage of under an hour. Spend time in the stunning gardens of Brodick Castle or enjoy some of the island’s speciality foods like cheese, ice cream, relishes and shellfish. At Lochranza visit the gaunt castle ruins before sampling a dram at the Arran Distillery.
Feeling more adventurous? Then climb Goat Fell, Arran’s highest peak or explore tranquil glens like Glen Rosa and Glen Sannox. Keep a keen watch for the local wildlife – from golden eagles to red squirrels, hen harriers to deer. Golfers can be tempted by a choice of seven courses, all with great views of the island.
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