Ayrshire and Arran

Ayrshire & Arran

 

Ayrshire & Arran is situated on the west coast of Scotland, just south west of Glasgow. Characterised by striking contrasts, this region offers rolling green hills, a varied coastline, picturesque beaches and island adventures.

 

Explore the history of Ayrshire & Arran, a place where great kings and legendary warriors have left their mark. Discover a land which inspired the timeless poetry of Robert Burns and where ancient standing stones, crumbling medieval castles and historic buildings and homes can all be found.

 

This is a region bursting with creativity and arts and culture. The Isle of Arran is a haven of exquisite craftsmanship and artistry and there's a fantastic collection of events and festivals on all year round.

 

Also with 80 miles of unspoilt coastline and rolling farmland, there's a wide variety of eateries throughout the region to experience the delicious local food and drink.

 

Ayrshire & Arran is home to a truly epic nature and geography. You'll find miles of coastline, stunning beaches and the beautiful islands of Arran, Cumbrae and Holy Isle. There's also some magnificent forests and woodlands that are home to a wide variety of wildlife and there's lots of gardens and parks to enjoy.

 

History

 

In this wonderful part of the world, you can uncover a different century every day with the Neolithic standing stones on Arran’s Machrie Moor, the 18th century Dumfries House and the ancient ruins of Turnberry Castle, considered to be the birthplace of Robert the Bruce in 1274.

 

Ayrshire & Arran has nurtured some of the finest Scottish heroes who have gone on to influence many of Scotland’s key events and subsequently changed the future of the nation.

 

William Wallace spent his formative years in Ayrshire and the grand Wallace Tower stands proudly in the centre of Ayr High Street. Born in Elderslie, William Wallace was an early exponent of the art of guerrilla warfare, laying the foundations later completed by Robert the Bruce, who is thought to have been born at the majestic Turnberry Castle, which is today a ruin. 

 

Ayrshire & Arran also has strong links with another Scottish icon, Robert Burns. All across Ayrshire you can discover fascinating tributes to the life and work of Scotland’s National Bard. Check out the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway, a world-class attraction that houses the most important Burns collection in the world.

 

What’s more, this region is home to castles galore, from wonderful stately residences to dramatic historic ruins. Visit one of Scotland’s best loved castles, Culzean, which is perched on a cliff-top overlooking Ailsa Craig and the Firth of Clyde, and take a tour of Dumfries House, one of Scotland’s most beautiful stately homes. Nestled in the heart of Kilmarnock, Dean Castle boasts a beautiful country park covering 200 acres.

 

The beautiful Isle of Arran, often referred to as ‘Scotland in Miniature’ can provide a wonderful historic odyssey, all in one day. Check out the haunting standing stones on Machrie Moor that date back to Neolithic times. Complete your tour of Ayrshire & Arran’s history and heritage tour with the wonderful Brodick Castle and the nearby Arran Heritage Museum.

 

Arts and Culture

 

Uncover the birthplace of Scotland’s favourite son, Robert Burns, and discover how Ayrshire & Arran helped define the life and works of a man whom many consider to be the greatest Scot of all time.

 

Visit the long list of fantastic attractions throughout Ayrshire that celebrate the legacy of the Auld Lang Syne author and take part in the Burns an’ a’ that! Festival where many of Ayrshire’s top venues pay tribute to Scotland’s National Bard.

 

Continue along the literary theme and head to the Boswell Book Festival in May, which takes place in the grounds of James Boswell’s former home. Often considered the father of the modern biography, this festival in Auchinleck House features a number of guest authors and lets you see Boswell’s study and library.

 

Admire some of the region's finest architecture, like Stumpy Tower, and head across to the picture perfect Isle of Arran where the arts are hugely popular. You’ll find an abundance of magnificent creative items for sale including knitwear, woodwork, jewellery and paintings - perfect for a souvenir or gift to take home.

 

For more arts, check out the Craft Town Scotland in West Kilbride, Scotland’s first Craft Town, and peruse eight fantastic craft studios that produce a range of high quality and unique work.

 

Continue your celebration of Scotland’s vibrant creativity by taking in a couple of music festivals. You can uncover the best local and international talent at the Arran Folk Festival or experience an eclectic programme of music and a friendly ambience at the Darvel Music Festival.

 

Wildlife

 

With its varying landscape of stunning coastlines, woodlands and glens and offshore islands, Ayrshire & Arran provides a haven for wildlife and watchers alike.

 

High overhead, you'll have the chance to see golden eagles, buzzards and other rapters prowling the skies. Or stroll through woodland for the chance to spot red deer and red squirrels. In the waters of the Firth of Clyde, look out for seals, dolphins and basking sharks and be sure not to miss the incredible spectacle of the vast seabird colonies nesting on the steep rock faces of uninhabited Ailsa Craig.

 

Food and Drink

 

From freshly caught seafood and succulent meats to mouth-watering cheeses, local beers and whiskies, there is something to suit all tastes.

 

Treat yourself to afternoon tea, dine in a Michelin-star restaurant or relax in the comfort of a cosy traditional pub.

 

If you're inspired by eating out across Ayrshire & Arran, what better way to sample, purchase and experience these flavours than at a farmers' market? Chat to the stallholders and discover a great range of everything from seasonal fruit and vegetables to award-winning cheeses and ice creams, not forgetting succulent meats and seafood.

 

To round a hearty meal off perfectly enjoy a locally produced dram or beer from the Isle of Arran.

 

Come and experience the true taste of Ayrshire & Arran.

 

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