Ardrossan & Saltcoats

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The image below is from the the smaller of the two Isle of Arran ferries looking over Ardossan harbour, marina, and apartments built around the marina.

The towns of Ardrossan and Saltcoats to the south have merged, and Saltcoats has also merged with the town of Stevenston further south, now referred to as The Three Towns. Ardrossan Map .

Hotels Ardrossan B&Bs
Restaurants Arran Information
Ardossan Harbour image

The image below is of the larger of the two ferries arriving at Ardossan from the Isle of Arran. This image was taken from the large inexpensive ferry car park. The ferries run from about 07.00 to 19.00, taking about 55 minutes. Prices are about £8 per passenger, £31 per car per return. About 700,000 passengers use these ferries each year.

Arran Ferry Website.

Ardrossan Ferry Car Park image

The image below is of Arran Place on the road south of Ardrossan Harbour, leading to the beach. The church here is the Barony St. John’s Church, now used as an Education Centre. This is a nice walk or drive alongside the shore front for about one and a half miles.

Arran Place Ardrossan image

The image below is of Ardrossan Castle from the beach area. The modern Church here is the Saint Peter in Chains completed in 1937.

The first castle was built on that spot in the 1100s. It was severely damaged during the Wars of Scottish Independence.

Ardrossan Castle image

The image below is of Ardrossan Promenade by the Ardrossan South Beach. You can see the two churches and castle over to the left, with the harbour further round to the left.

Ardrossan Promenade image

The image below is of Ardrossan South Beach, a popular large beach on warm days. This is the area where Ardrossan and Saltcoats merge. The beach is often referred to as Saltcoats Beach.

Ardrossan South Beach image

The image below is of the Apollo Leisure Centre at Saltcoats shore front. There is a cinema, indoor kids play, bar diner / restaurant and an outdoor kids play.

Apollo Leisure Centre Saltcoats image

The image below is of Dockhead Street in Saltcoats, the main shopping street in The Three Towns.

Dockhead Street Saltcoats image

The image below is of Saltcoats Railway Station that links Stevenston, Saltcoats, and Ardossan to Glasgow Central Train Station. The town centre, shopping, and shore front are down to the left in the image below.

The church in the distance is the Kirkgate Parish Church, with the North Ayrshire Heritage Centre situated just behind the church.

Saltcoats Railway Station image

The image below is of the North Ayrshire Heritage Centre, in the former Parish Church of Saltcoats, built in 1776.

North Ayrshire Heritage Centre Saltcoats image

The image below is of the interior of the Heritage Centre. The collection has a stone sarcophagus, said to be one of the finest examples from the Scottish medieval period. The museum also covers archaeology, social, domestic, military and natural history. The Centre provides resources for local and family history research.


North Ayrshire Heritage Centre interior image

Ardrossan History

Ardrossan is thought to have been built around the first castle built on Castle Hill, by the present day harbour for Simon de Morville.

The first castle is thought to have been built in the early 1100s. Ardrossan Castle was enlarged over the following centuries, with the most work carried out around 1449.

The castle fell into disrepair in the late 1500s, then was looted for its stone by Cromwell's army in 1654, with them using the stone to help built their vast Citadel at Ayr.

The town of Saltcoats on the south side of Ardrossan grew from the 1200s through coal mining, and using the coal to evaporate seawater to produce salt.

The port at Ardrossan was built up during the 1700s and 1800s exporting coal and pig iron to Europe and North America.

The main structure of the harbour was completed to what can be seen today in 1864. Hugh, Earl of Eglinton had began the extensive work in 1806.

Ardrossan has three train stations, with the first opened in 1831, linking the town to Glasgow. One is at the harbour, one in the town centre close to the harbour, and the main station is about one mile south of the harbour named Ardrossan South Beach.

Ferries between Ardrossan and Brodick on the Isle of Arran began in 1834. A service to Belfast in Northern Ireland began in 1884, and a service to the Isle of Man in 1892.

Ardrossan had a number of shipbuilders with the first opening in the 1840s, with the last closing in the 1990s. The shipyards built fishing boats and small cargo vessels.

The Belfast and Isle of Man ferry services stopped in the 1970s.

The Clyde Marina was built at Ardrossan Harbour around 1997, with many apartments built around the marina.

A ferry service between Ardrossan and Cambpeltown on the Mull of Kintyre began in 2013.