Kilmarnock is the largest town
in Ayrshire, situated seven miles
inland from the coast with good
shopping, restaurants, bar diners,
leisure facilities and historic
The success of Robert the Bruce
and his loyal supporters at the
Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, saw
the lands of Kilmarnock awarded to
his most faithful clans.
The Boyd’s built Dean
Castle to the north of Kilmarnock,
Craufurd’s built Craufurdland
Castle to the northeast,
Cunningham’s built castles to
the north at Kilmaurs and south at
Caprington, and the Mure’s
built Rowallan Castle to the north.
Estates formed or expanded at that
time, allowed the town to grow
rapidly, as they employed many
workers to cultivate the land for
growing crops, vegetables, and
Kilmarnock became known for
Scottish bonnet making from 1647,
and later for carpet manufacturing,
some of which were laid in the
finest homes throughout the world.
The town was created a Royal Burgh
by Charles II in 1672.
One of the world's most famous
whiskey producers was born in
Kilmarnock in 1805, named John
Kilmarnock’s main shopping area,
as seen right, is King Street in the town
centre. This pedestrian only street leads
to Kilmarnock Cross.
The town centre quite often has
busker's and market stalls.
Kilmarnock Cross, or Forgate Square,
with a statue of Robert Burns, is
situated at the centre of
Kilmarnock’s shopping area. The bus
station and London Road are to the right
in this image, and the train station
The bus station is right next to the
square, ideal for shopping trips.
The Burns Mall Shopping
Centre is also to the right in this
To the left of the square is Sandbed
Street, with the Laigh West High Kirk
being the most prominent building.
You can find a life size statue of
Johnnie Walker at this church. Johnnie
Walker built one of the top Scottish
whisky blending warehouses at
Walker Statue Large Image.
There are at least eight churches
around the centre of Kilmarnock, varying
in age and architecture.
The Johnnie Walker Bond building, as
seen left, is situated across the road
from the Laigh West High Kirk, on Strand
This was the old Johnnie Walker whisky
warehouse. The first part of the building
was built in the French Renaissance style
in 1895, with later extensions added in
1898 and 1907.
The building now holds the local
council's Planning, Social Work, and
Roads Departments. The windows have large
images of the warehouse when it was in
production, and information on the
Walker built up an Italian warehouse,
grocery, and wine and spirits shop on the
High Street in Kilmarnock, where he sold
his own brand of whiskey, named Walker's
Kilmarnock Whisky. His son, Alexander
Walker, was credited with blending their
Old Highland Whisky in about 1867, that
was re-named Johnnie Walker Black Label
in 1909, one of the most famous brands of
whisky around the world to this day.
The Johnnie Walker whiskey was made
around Scotland, at various distilleries,
then taken to Kilmarnock to be
The last Johnnie Walker plant in
Kilmarnock closed in 2012. Their whisky
is now blended in Levin, Fife, and
For more information on Johnnie
Walker, and other wealthy Kilmarnock
businessmen, and their grand houses, you
have to visit the Dick Institute
Kilmarnock’s Palace Theatre is
situated at the corner of London Road,
and Sturrock Street, a short distance
east of Kilmarnock Cross. The theatre was
completed in 1862.
Theatrical entertainment at the
theatre consists of classics,
children’s shows, and contemporary
and classical music. Tel: 01563 554
Website . Map/Reviews .
The Dick Institute, as seen left, is
situated on Elmbank Avenue, just off
London Road, a short walk from the town
centre, a few hundred yards past the
This museum and art gallery, that
opened in April 1901, host’s
collections showing local industrial,
social, and natural history.
Here you can find information on
Johnnie Walker, and other wealthy
businessmen from the area, and their
grand houses. The Institute is open Mon,
Tue, Thur, and Friday 09.00 - 20.00, Wed
and Sat 09.00 - 17.00. Tel: 01563 554
Map/Reviews . Large
Kay Park is situated a short walk
north of the Dick Institute, up Holehouse
Road, past Kilmarnock College. The park
contains a large pond with swans and
ducks, large outdoor children's play
area, and vast parkland.
Kay Park also holds the Burns Monument
Centre, with a large monument to the poet
The centre also contains Family
Research facilities, and Archives for
Family and Local History. The centre can
be hired for weddings, and is used for
the registration of births, deaths, and
Robert Burns most famous work (The
Kilmarnock Edition) was published in
Kilmarnock by printer John Wilson in
1786. The Burns Monument Centre houses a
3 dimensional digitised representation of
the Kilmarnock Edition, also with a
selection of poems sung and narrated.
Tel: 01563 576 695.
Map/Reviews . Large
Image . Large Image across Kay
Dean Castle is situated on the north
side of Kilmarnock off Dean Road.
The earliest parts of Dean Castle,
that can be seen today, were built in the
1750s for the Boyd’s (Earls of
Howard de Walden, the last owner,
gifted Dean Castle and estate to the
people of Kilmarnock in 1975.
The estate is now run as a Country
Park, free to visit, with a visitor
centre with a cafe, children's play area,
many walk/cycle routes, pony trekking,
tower museum, and free tours of the
castle. Tel: 01563 554 734.
Map/Reviews . Large Image
from a woodland walk .
The Garage is situated on Grange
Street, close to the town centre. The
Garage hosts go carts, ten pin bowling,
soft play area, Wimpy, bar & function
suite, amusements, kids parties suite,
and night club.
The ten-pin bowling is situated
downstairs, just inside the entrance.
The Galleon Centre is situated on
Titchfield Street, a few hundred yards
south of King Street (the town centre).
This centre contains a swimming pool, ice
rink, bowling hall, 2 sports halls,
squash courts, sauna/solarium suite,
fitness room, and two bars, one of which
overlooks the ice rink. Tel: 01563 524
The website for the Galleon, giving a
full list of fees for each activity is
The 6,000 yard par 69 Annanhill Golf
Club is situated on the west side of
Kilmarnock, off Irvine Road. This is a
fine looking course with many fairways
being lined with trees. Prices about
£20 per round. Tel: 01563 521
On the south side of Kilmarnock is the
Gaprington Golf Course, another fine
tree-lined course, also inexpensive for
visitors to play. Tel: 01563 521 915.
Website . Map .
Just north of Kilmarnock is the Morris
Equestrian Centre with large riding
arenas that host regular show jumping
events. The centre also has a Bar & Restaurant,
Shopping, and a Games Arcade. Tel: 01560
Also at the Morris Equestrian Centre
is the Scottish Paintball Centre with
over 60 acres of playing zones. Tel:
07597 960 245.