The Ayr that Robert Burns knew would have been considerably different to today’s bustling town of 50,000 people which boasts Scotland’s fifth largest shopping centre.
The most prominent remnant of the Old Town is the 13th century Auld Brig (Old Bridge) which was the town’s only river crossing for 500 years.
Ayr is the largest town in Ayrshire and there are plenty of things to see both in the town itself, known for its golf courses and coastline, and in the neighbouring settlements.
Alloway, a suburb of Ayr, is famous for its association with Robert Burns. The Isle of Arran, often called ‘Scotland in miniature,’ is only a ferry ride away.
The nearby Ayrshire Coastal Path is Scotland’s long –distance walking route, which goes along one of the finest panoramic coastlines in the British Isles.
Ayrshire also offers the golfer perhaps the best choice of historic courses in the world, including Royal Troon, Turnberry, the Old Prestwick course and lots of other rewarding courses along the coast.
Ayr is surrounded by beautiful unspoilt green rolling hills, including the Galloway Forrest Park, Culzean Castle and Country Park, and Glasgow is a one-hour drive.
WhatsOnAyrshire has a complete listing of all the best things to do and and the latest events planned. Below are some of the owners' top tips.
Robert Burns is synonymous with Ayrshire.
The story of his life is woven into the very fabric of the Ayrshire countryside and many of his most famous poems and songs were set here.
At Alloway, just outside Ayr, the various sites including his humble cottage birthplace, have been grouped together to form the Burns National Heritage Park.
A single admission fee gives access to all the attractions.
The Burns Cottage, the poet’s birthplace, lies adjacent to a museum that keeps his original manuscripts, and a 19th century Burns memorial designed by Thomas Hamilton is located next to the local church.
Brig o’Doon, the nearby old bridge over the River Doon, and the Alloway Auld Kirk, the church where Burns’ father was buried, now in ruins, are both featured in the poem “Tam o’Shanter” and are now popular tourist attractions.
The Brig o’Doon is a late medieval bridge over the River Doon near Alloway.
It is famous for being the setting for the last verse of "Tam o’Shanter," the scene in which Tam is on horseback, fleeing from Nannie the witch across the bridge.
Brig o’Doon is located near the Burns Monument and Memorial Gardens.
Belleisle Park is another popular landmark for visitors. It has a golf course, a playground, Camelia House, and a walled garden.
The Turnberry beach is located next to the famous Turnberry golf course. The lighthouse at the end of the beach lies on the ruin of the castle where legendary Scottish king Robert the Bruce was born.
Rozelle Park, located in Alloway, has an art gallery open to visitors throughout the year, and a permanent sculpture collection, including a number of granite carvings by the Ayr artist Ronald Rae and a piece by the famous British modernist Henry Moore.
The park hosts the annual Ayr Flower Show every summer.
Alloway Auld Kirk is believed to date way back to the 1200s, even though parts of it were built in the mid-16th century. It has stood as a ruin since the 17th century.
The Auld Kirk is famous for being the setting of the witches’ dance in "Tam o’Shanter," published in 1791. Robert Burns knew the place very well, as he was born in a cottage not too far from the ruins.
While the church itself is a ruin, the churchyard contains an impressive collection of old pictorial gravestones that are much better preserved than those found elsewhere in Scotland.
Our properties are ideally located to benefit from Troon, Turnberry and Prestwick courses. See our top tips on accessing affordable golf in Ayrshire.
Bucket and spades and ice cream on Ayr beach! The owners can recommend a lovely little beach, protected from the wind, and ideal for building sand castles and paddling.
There is a fantastic playground on the Ayr beach, just 10 minutes walking distance from all the properties.
Visit the outdoor Animal Park at the Heads of Ayr, play Poo Sticks on the Brig o Doon (Alloway), and follow the story of Tam O Shanter as he was chased by the witches!
Scoot or bike along the promenade, or picnic and explore Dunure Harbour and the ruined castle & playground!
Dunure is a small fishing village near Ayr, on the coast of the Firth of Clyde.
Dunure Castle, built in the 13th century and once home to rulers of south western Scotland, today stands in ruins overlooking the Carrick coast.
It is the central feature of the Kennedy Park, which has a number of facilities for tourists and travellers.
Like most parts of Scotland, Ayrshire is rich in history and historic buildings and its most famous castle is Culzean Castle, perched on the edge of a cliff.
Designed in 1777 by Robert Adam and built round a 13th century tower, the castle was partly occupied by General (later President) Eisenhower during World War II.
The apartment was subsequently gifted to him by the people of Scotland.
The Country Park surrounding the castle was recently named “Britain’s most beautiful” and features a deer park, walled gardens, little coves, sandy beaches and ranger service.
Beside golf, Ayr can also offer tennis, swimming pools, ice-rink, bike hire, leisure centre, cinemas, bowling, horse riding, fishing and some stunning coast, country and riverside walks.
For sports enthusiasts, the Cambusdoon Sports Club in Alloway, built in 1997, is home to the Ayr Cricket Club, Alloway Bowling Club, and Ayr Hockey Club, and hosts sporting events throughout the year.
Walking in Ayrshire - A comprehensive guide including rainy day itineraries, kids and geneaology. Ayrshire is also home to the newest long distance walking route, the 100 mile long Ayrshire Coastal Path.
From the flats at the harbour side you can join these walks immediately. There are great walks from all the cottages. There is the Great Scottish Coastal walk and the Ayr River Way.
The Ayr River Way goes from the mouth of the river Ayr into the hills, way out to East Ayrshire, taking you through beautiful typical Ayrshire rolling farmland wooded areas and along the old east-west rail line. It is an easy, well marked way. The Ayrshire coastal walk can be picked up on the beach in Ayr and a walk north or south both ways gives you the most memorable walks, being the most panoramic coastal area in Britain with the Isle of Arran as a backdrop.
You can hire bikes just 5 minutes walk from the Ayr cottages, at AMG Cycles, 55 Dalblair Rd. There is a good network of scenic bike trails in the region. For example cycle to Troon for the day or cycle around Millport.
To find out more about what this wonderful part of the world has to offer, visit the official site of Scotland’s National Tourism Organisation.