Alloway Village is situated on
the south side of Ayr. The village
is one of the most picturesque in
Scotland, an extremely popular
wedding venue and tourist
The village is also popular for
the Robert Burns Museums,
Scotland's most famous poet.
Alloway is separated from the
seaside town of Ayr by two scenic
Country Estates that are open to
visitors free of charge.
Rozelle Park has
woodland walks, ponds, and a
mansion house with an art gallery
and tea house.
Belleisle Park has
a Mansion House hotel, two golf
courses, child play areas,
extremely scenic gardens and
Starting from the south side of
The 15th Century old Brig O Doon was made
famous by the poet Robert Burns tale of
Tam O Shanter. The poem tells
of a local in the area that was returning
from a day at the market in old Ayr.
After having a few drinks, he passes by
Alloway’s haunted Old Kirk (church)
and stumbles across witches. In his
desperate attempt to escape, he rides his
grey mare Meg across this bridge hoping
the witches would be reluctant to cross
the water. Although Tam escapes their
clutches, Meg looses her tail to the
grasp of a witches hand.
Large Image . Image from
the New Bridge
The Burns Monument and Memorial
Gardens designed by Thomas Hamilton, as
seen to the right of the hotel, were
completed in 1823 with the gardens
opening to the public on the 4th July of
that year. The gardens also contain
statues of Tam O Shanter and Souter
Johnnie. About 50,000 people are said to
visit the gardens each year.
More Information & Photos of
Alloway Auld Kirk, built in 1516, is
situated about 50 yards north of the Brig
O Doon hotel. This is where Robert Burns
had his father buried. The headstone, as
seen right, is not the original as damage
by souvenir hunters meant it had to be
Church, built in 1858, is situated
directly across the road from the Auld
Large Image of
William Burns Headstone
Image . Rear
Behind Alloway Parish Church is the
Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. This
modern visitor centre with a large car
park has a large cafe, gift shop, and a
museum with images, artifacts and shows
short films about the life of Robert
The Burns Museum is open daily.
Admission charges to the museum are about
adults £9 / children £7. The
gift shop and cafe are free to visit.
The image right is of the Poets Walk
between the Robert Burns Birthplace
Museum and the Cottage where Burns was
born. Tickets cover both museums.
This short walk has many statues and
weather vanes mentioned in his famous
At the end of the Poets Walk, you
reach Alloway Main Street, with Burns
Birthplace Cottage, the entrance and
large car park are at the rear of the
William Burness built this cottage in
1757. He had moved from Kincardineshire
to Alloway in 1750 to work as a gardener
in the neighbouring Doonholm Estate.
Robert was the first of seven children
born to William Burness and his wife
Agnes Broun in the cottage 25th January
1759. In time, their eldest son became
Scotland’s most famous poet.
Robert Burns has remained a favourite
of the Scottish people, as his life saw
him stay in many parts of the country.
This means there are buildings and
monuments throughout Scotland that have
been preserved in his name and become
part of Scotland’s history. Also,
he was the father of 12 children to 4
different women; this also adds interest
to his life.
The Burness family left the cottage in
1765 to take up a 12-year lease of the
nearby farm named Mount Oliphant. From
there, Robert attended a small school in
By 1777, the family had leased Lochlea
farm in the parish of Tarbolton, about 8
miles north of Alloway. William Burness
died at Lochlea in February 1784, leaving
Robert as head of the family.The Bachelors' Club in the village
of Tarbolton has been preserved by the
National Trust as it was where Robert
took dancing lessons and formed a
debating club in the upper room.
Robert and his brother Gilbert then
rented Mossgiel farm at Mauchline, about
4 miles north of Tarbnolton. Robert met
his future wife Jean Armour at Mauchline
in 1785. He wrote some of his finest
works at that time and began to earn a
small income from their sales. It is
thought he changed his name to Burns
during that period.
In about 1786, Robert fell in love
Mary who worked at Coilsfield Castle
& Estate, situated on the outskirts
of Tarbolton. Burns referred to
Coilsfield Castle as Montgomery Castle,
the name of the owners.
Robert and Mary intended to emigrate
to the West Indies around that time. Mary
died soon after from a fever, this seeing
Robert decide to remain in Scotland.
Robert returned to Jean Armour with them getting
married in Mauchline in 1788.
Coilsfield Castle was replaced by
House in about 1804, that house was
destroyed by fire in 1969. The walled
garden of the estate now serves as a
holiday park under the name Middlemuir Heights.
In 1788, Robert Burns and Jean Armour
moved to the farm of Ellisland in the
parish of Dumfries about 50 miles
southeast of Mauchline. By 1791, he had
taken up residence in Dumfries itself and
lived there until his death on the 21st
July 1796, aged 37.
His death was atrributed to either
Rheumatic Heart Disease or alcoholism. He
was buried in St Michael’s Churchyard
Dumfries on the day his wife Jean was
giving birth to their ninth child.
Burns Night is an annual celebration
held throughout Scotland on the 25th
January, the anniversary of his
Many Robert Burns descendants can be
seen on photograph at: sites.scran.ac.uk/robertburns/descendants/
or in the Burns Museum in Alloway.
Guided tours of Alloway and Ayr
by Donald Kay focus on Robert Burns
old haunts. You can visit these
historic places and learn how they
inspired Burns to write some of his
For more information, visit the
Phone: 00 44 (0)1292 287765
Mobile: 07867 510 165
Right, Souter Johnnie’s Cottage
is situated on the main street in the
small village of Kirkoswald,
approximately 13 miles south of Ayr.
This cottage, built in 1785, was the
home of John Davidson, the local souter
(Scots for shoemaker). Davidson became
the character Johnnie Souter who was
Tam’s drinking partner in Burns
famous poem Tam O Shanter.
Burns got to know Davidson when at
sixteen years old; he spent the summer of
1775 at a school in Kirkoswald learning
mathematics. Most of the characters in
the tale of Tam O Shanter were from
Kirkoswald, and are buried in the old
church yard there.
The cottage is now owned by the
National Trust for Scotland. It is open
to the public from April 1st - September
30th 11.30 - 17.00, admission about
£3.50 per adult.
The cottage contains period furniture,
Burns relics, a souters workshop and
alehouse. The alehouse has life-sized
figures of Tam O Shanter, Souter, the
Innkeeper and his wife.
There is now a large inn and tee room
in Kikoswald next to Souter Johnnie's
Cottage named The House of Burns, one of
Ayrshire's most popular, website:
See also Mauchline for more
interesting stories about Robert