Ayrshire Main Attractions
Below are Ayrshire's main attractions listed in a way that may be helpful to anyone planning day trips.
The village of Alloway about 2 miles south of Ayr makes a good half day out with the poet Robert Burns Cottage and Museum, Robert Burns Birthplace Museum with a cinema showing Burns life and work, scenic gardens containing the Burns Monument, the Auld Brig o Doon made famous by Burns tale of Tam o Shanter and the Brig o Doon Hotel with its scenic gardens, Ayrshire’s top wedding reception venue. See also photo Tour of Alloway. Map.
The Belleisle Estate with scenic gardens and golf courses are situated next to Alloway and Rozelle Park. There are regular inexpensive buses that run from Ayr to Alloway all day. Belleisle Map and Postcode: KA7 4DU.
View the Alloway, Rozelle and Belleisle Walk.
A full day should be allowed for visiting Culzean Castle & Country Park by traveling the 12 miles south from Ayr on the Scenic Coastal Road A719, the National Trust for Scotland's top attraction. Map / KA19 8LE.
Another Kennedy castle, Dunure Castle, an impressive ruin, is situated 6 miles south of Ayr on the same road. This castle is also worth a visit along with the small scenic harbour in the village of Dunure. Map KA7 4LN.
Turn north at Turnberry towards Maybole on the A77. This road passes through the village of Kirkoswald with Souter Johnnie's Cottage, made famous by Robert Burns, open to visitors throughout the summer. Kirkoswald is also where you will find one of Ayrshires finest Inns for meals, the Souters Inn. The village also has a Whiskey Experience shop. Map KA19 8HY.
Passing through Maybole going north towards Ayr you will see another Kennedy Castle (Maybole Castle) situated on the Main Street. There is a car park behind the shops opposite Maybole Castle to park your car for a visit. See also Clan Kennedy for more information on their castles. Map KA19 8YG.
On the road north back to Ayr, you can take the road 2 miles north of Maybole sign posted for the village of Dalrymple. About 3 miles along this road, low on your left hand side, you can view Cassillis House, the main castle of the Kennedy's until they sold it in 2010. Map.
The Waverley paddle steamer that steams out of Ayr, Girvan and Largs to the islands of Ailsa Craig, Cumbrae and Arran is an experience not to be missed. The only seagoing Paddle Steamer in the world. See more at Waverley Paddle Steamer.
Dean Castle & Country Park situated in Kilmarnock is a good day out with free admission to the park and tours of the castle. See Clan Boyd for more information on Dean Castle. A few miles southwest of Kilmarnock is Dundonald Castle that is situated in the small village of Dundonald, built for Robert II (grandson of Robert the Bruce). There is a small visitor centre at the castle that can provide tours, or just explore the castle your self free of charge. See Clan Bruce for more information on Dundonald Castle. Map KA2 9HD.
Kelburn Castle & Country Centre 3 miles south of Largs in north Ayrshire is a good place for a day out with young kids. There is also pony trekking throughout the estate for youths and adults and pony rides for kids. See Clan Boyle for more information on Kelburn Castle. Map KA29 0BE.
The Island of Cumbrae off Largs makes a great day out for cyclists with there being a cycle lane around the island and many cycle hire shops in the town of Millport. The only town on the island Millport has a beach, kids play area and the smallest Cathedral in Europe situated on College Street in the centre of the town. There is a sailing centre and a few B&Bs on Cumbrae, including the Cathedral, for anyone wishing a peaceful relaxing holiday. Map KA28 0AA.
The Island of Arran makes a great day out or even a few days or weeks. Brodick Castle a short distance north of the main town of Brodick is the main attraction on Arran. Other attractions are the many scenic villages, candle/perfume factory, brewery, whisky distillery, legendary caves, many top hill walking trails, horse riding, helicopter rides, golf, ancient standing stones and the many mountains. Map KA27 8AW.
The Island of Ailsa Craig is now a bird sanctuary. It is situated 10 miles west of the town of Girvan. Local boat owners offer trips around the island or the Waverley paddle steamer visits the island in summer, normally Monday’s, from Largs, Ayr and Girvan. Map KA26 9AG.
Drive the 12 miles or walk between Girvan and Ballantrae, another scenic route. About 3 miles north of Ballantrae is a car park on top of cliffs. About 150 feet below the car park is the cave of Sawney Bean the Cannibal. Only people 100% fit should attempt the steep path down and climb back up. Always make sure you have a phone and people know you are visiting the cave. Sawney and his family are believed to have been executed in Edinburgh a few hundred years ago and the last resident of the caves along that shoreline died in the 1970s. The Kings Arms Hotel in Ballantrae is popular for Bar Meals. Map KA26 0NB.
A full day can take in Irvine Beach Park with the huge Magnum Leisure Centre and Maritime Museum. There are some nice Restaurants and Bar/Diners in the Beach Park and Gailes area. See also photo Tour of Irvine along with Irvine Restaurants & Irvine Bar Diners. To the north of Irvine is the scenic Eglinton Country Park and Castle Ruin free to visit and explore. Next to Eglinton is the town of Kilwinning with the ruin of Kilwinning Abbey. The Abbey Tower Heritage Centre is open Mid May until Mid September, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm - 3pm.. Access for pre-arranged group visits outwith these times may be possible. Phone 01294 551496 for details. See Clan Montgomery for more information on how the splendid Eglinton Castle became a ruin. Map KA12 8QE.
Loch Doon & Loch Doon Castle that was a castle of Robert the Bruce (Scotland’s most famous king). There is about a six-mile long scenic drive, walk or cycle from east of Dalmellington through the hills and alongside the loch to get to the castle. An excellent hill walking site. You can also continue into the Galloway Forest to view another two lochs, Riecawr and Braden. See Clan Bruce for more information on Loch Doon Castle. Map KA6.
The peaceful village of Barr 8 miles northeast of Girvan, high in the hills, is popular for hill walking and its scenery with three walking routes well displayed and marked. There is a narrow hill road between Barr and Straiton 12 miles north, another peaceful scenic village. This road passes the Nick of the Balloch and Stincher Falls. Some excellent hill walking sites and scenery all around this area. Map KA26 9TU.
Blairquhan Castle (Mansion) situated 15 miles southeast of Ayr just outside the village of Straiton is open to the public certain days in summer. Visit the website. blaiquhann.co.uk for more information on opening days/times and prices for tours. Map KA19 7NF.
View Ayrshire Walking Routes for information on more good days out.