__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 1

WELCOME TO

AYRSHIRE & ARRAN KINGFISHERVISITORGUIDES.COM

DISCOVER THE REST OF THE UK & IRELAND – VISIT KINGFISHERVISITORGUIDES.COM

NOT FOR SALE PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE


GREAT DAYS OUT IN EAST AYRSHIRE

DICK INSTITUTE, KILMARNOCK T: 01563 554300 FREE ENTRY The newly refurbished Dick Institute is one of the most important cultural venues in South West Scotland, featuring museums, galleries, East Ayrshire’s central lending library, an event space and a café. Featuring a programme of nationally important exhibitions, permanent displays of the museums diverse collections and innovative work by contemporary artists, film makers and young people from the area. Also contains an exhibition of collections from Dean Castle.

DEAN CASTLE COUNTRY PARK, KILMARNOCK T: 01563 554734 FREE ENTRY An excellent free day out for kids and adults to enjoy with a 14th century castle, beautiful woodland walks, adventure playground, Rural Life Centre, visitor centre, café and shop and events throughout the year. If you’re an Outlander fan, then a visit is a must as the Castle and surrounding area were used as a filming location for Season 2 of the hit TV series. (The castle is currently closed for major repair and refurbishment works. Some of the collections are on display at The Dick Institute).

eastayrshireleisure.com


THE PALACE AND GRAND HALL COMPLEX, KILMARNOCK T: 01563 554900

ANNANHILL GOLF COURSE, KILMARNOCK T: 01563 521644

Ayrshire’s 4 star arts and entertainment venue offers a wonderfully varied programme throughout the year including music, comedy, drama and light entertainment. Visit our website to see what’s on.

Situated on the outskirts of Kilmarnock, the newly redeveloped course is located within the grounds of Annanhill estate with stunning views. The clubhouse is open for breakfast and lunch and visitors are welcome.

BURNS HOUSE MUSEUM, MAUCHLINE T: 01290 550045 FREE ENTRY

BAIRD INSTITUTE, CUMNOCK T: 01290 427084 FREE ENTRY

Burns House Museum is in the centre of historic Mauchline. Visit the room where Burns and his wife Jean Armour lived and see original Burns manuscripts and objects that tell the story of his life and work.

World class collections of Mauchline Ware, Cumnock Pottery, artefacts of local and social history and also features displays around individuals such as Keir Hardie. The art gallery features a changing exhibition programme and has previously hosted major exhibitions including Picasso At Play.

Visit our website for information on venues, events, activities, latest THE RIVER AYR WAY AND OTHER PATH NETWORKS T: 01563 554734 East Ayrshire has a variety of path networks suitable for a range of user groups taking in some of Ayrshire’s finest and most varied countryside. Choose from over 700kms of path networks to explore including the scenic River Ayr Way.

news, online booking and more.

A Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation

eastayrshireleisure.com

Charity Number SC043987


GET THE FULL PICTURE! MANAGING DIRECTOR

Ian David Heads ian@kingfishervisitorguides.com EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Angela Upex angela@kingfishervisitorguides.com PUBLISHING ASSISTANT

Zoe Smith WRITER

If you’re planning your next trip, or you want some reminders of this one, view our full portfolio of visitor guides to the UK and Ireland at:

Dominic Ryan HEAD OF DESIGN

Howard Malone howard@kingfishervisitorguides.com

KINGFISHERVISITORGUIDES.COM

DESIGNER

Lily Ray PRODUCTION MANAGER

Search Kingfisher Visitor Guides

Ashleigh Heald ashleigh@kingfishervisitorguides.com HEAD OF ACCOUNTS

Joanne James joanne@kingfishervisitorguides.com

Like what you see…

ADVERTISING ACCOUNT MANAGER

James Gerencser​ james@kingfishervisitorguides.com Tel: 0191 482 7409 GENERAL ENQUIRIES

info@kingfishervisitorguides.com Tel: 0191 482 5799 WWW.KINGFISHERVISITORGUIDES.COM

WE’RE SUPPORTING:

Our superb visitor guides are packed with useful articles and information. Printed by Latitude Press Ltd Published by Kingfisher Media Ltd

KVGWTAAA-64-1019-BOS

Follow us, like us, share us on:

www.kingfishervisitorguides.com

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN

4

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: This publication, its title and content, is wholly owned by and the copyright of Kingfisher Media Ltd. It is entirely independent and does not endorse, and is not supported or endorsed by, any official or private body or organisation. Reproduction in whole or in part by any means without written permission from the publisher is strictly forbidden. The publisher accepts no responsibility for errors, omissions or the consequences thereof. The publishers cannot accept responsibility for the views expressed by contributors, or for the accuracy of claims made by advertisements appearing in this publication. FRONT COVER IMAGES: ©GORDON/KASTO/ADOBE STOCK; PAN XIAOZHEN/UNSPLASH; SHUTTERSTOCK.COM STOCK IMAGES IN THIS PUBLICATION ARE USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY

kingfishervisitorguides.com


CONTENTS

Shopping

History & heritage

Shopping in Ayrshire and Arran is a real treat... Page 34

This region’s stories are truly fascinating... Page 10

Culzean Castle, Maybole

26

14 24

CONTENTS Welcome...................................................................................... 09 Ayrshire and Arran is a region like no other!

History all around.......................................................................10 Ayrshire and Arran are steeped in history – it’s in the very fabric of the region.

©AYR CENTRAL; HEARTLAND ARTS/HETMANSTOCK2/ADOBE STOCK; NICK FEWINGS/UNSPLASH; SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

Let’s go there............................................................................... 14 With captivating castles, colourful country parks and cool coastal walks, Ayrshire and Arran offer a treasure trove of exciting places to visit.

Machrie Moor Stones, Arran

Ten things you must do........................................................... 24 There are loads of things to do here – make sure you don’t miss these.

A taste of Scotland – and the world...................................... 26 Top-end fine dining, adventurous independents and a great range of ethnic cuisine means you’ll never go hungry here.

Like to shop? You’ll love it here............................................. 34 High street chains, one-off independents and quirky specialists – they’re all waiting for the shopaholic.

kingfishervisitorguides.com

5

10 WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN


CONTENTS

Travel

Ayrshire and Arran are easy to reach and explore... Page 58

46

Burns Monument, Alloway

Ten reasons

Our top reasons to love this region... Page 54

50

If you’re only here for 48 hours.............................................. 44 You can pack a lot into a couple of days – try this itinerary to make the most of it.

A region at the heart of art....................................................... 46 ©BENETMA/K SAMURKAS/ADOBE STOCK; SHUTTERSTOCK.COM; VISITSCOTLAND/KENNY LAM

Immerse yourself in a region that’s crammed with art and culture.

56

Welcome to the night............................................................... 50 Ayrshire and Arran’s nightlife can whip up a storm when it wants to.

Ten reasons to love this region.............................................. 54 There are dozens of reasons to love it here – check out a few of our favourites.

Brodick Castle, Garden and Country Park, Arran

Our sporting life......................................................................... 56 Whether you want to watch or take part, there’s plenty on offer here.

Getting here and getting around............................................ 58 Getting to and around Ayrshire and Arran couldn’t be easier.

Let’s explore................................................................................ 60 With excellent road and rail connections, exploring further afield from Ayrshire and Arran is easy.

kingfishervisitorguides.com

7

44 WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN


WELCOME

Glen Rosa Valley, Arran

WELCOME

©ADOBE STOCK; SHUTTERTSTOCK.COM

W

hether it’s a weekend break to visit breathtaking castles, days out with the children in the beautiful countryside or a taste sensation at a Michelin-starred eatery, Ayrshire and the Isle of Arran have got it all. You can get a taste for fine dining at the end of a hard day’s shopping. Browse the local produce at the vibrant towns, climb the towering hills, explore fabulous forest trails or try a round of golf at one of the stunning fairways. Food lovers will be in heaven discovering first-class food and drink producers, and history and archaeology buffs will not be disappointed as Ayrshire and Arran are packed with historical interest. Whether you’re visiting for business or pleasure, you can always be assured of finding something exciting to do, tasty to eat or interesting to explore. So whatever you do during your visit to the region, please enjoy – and come back soon! l

kingfishervisitorguides.com

9

“FOOD LOVERS WILL BE IN HEAVEN DISCOVERING FIRSTCLASS FOOD AND DRINK PRODUCERS”

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN


The Burns Monument and Memorial Gardens, Alloway


HISTORY & HERITAGE

HISTORY ALL AROUND! Ayrshire and Arran are steeped in history – it’s in the very fabric of the region

©SHUTTERSTOCK.COM; VISITSCOTLAND/KENNY LAM

W

Ayr. Legendary King of Scots Robert the Bruce, who led his side during the First War of Scottish Independence, is said to hail from Ayrshire, with his birthplace being the imposing Turnberry Castle. In fact, there are more than 40 castles in the area, principally used by the ancient clans who supported the Scots Kings during battles. A fantastic example to visit today is Dean Castle in Kilmarnock, which was awarded to the Boyds in 1316 by King Robert the Bruce for their support at the Battle of Bannockburn. Historically, the shire or sherrifdom was divided into three districts: Carrick in the south, Kyle in the centre and Cunninghame in the north. Presently, the region is sub-divided into North, South and East Ayrshire, with each having its own distinct council area. Alloway, outside of the principal town of Ayr, is also the birthplace of Scottish bard Robert Burns. Inspired by the people and landscapes of the area, his work remains as important and p12

ith an historical tapestry that weaves fact with colourful fiction, Ayrshire and Arran’s stories are truly fascinating, stretching from the Neolithic age and the Roman invasion to the Vikings and the Gaels. Ayrshire has been occupied by various different tribes through the millennia, including the Romans, the Britons and the Scots. During the early Middle Ages, it was part of the kingdom of Strathclyde and in the 11th century its King Duncan became the first ruler of all Scots. Invading Norwegians were defeated at the Battle of Largs in 1263 and today visitors to Vikingar! in Largs can meet ‘real Viking’ storytellers, who narrate terrifying tales about their battles. William Wallace, whose life was celebrated in the movie Braveheart, began the struggle to regain Scotland’s independence in 1297 at

“AYRSHIRE HAS BEEN OCCUPIED BY VARIOUS DIFFERENT TRIBES THROUGH THE MILLENNIA, INCLUDING THE ROMANS, THE BRITONS AND THE SCOTS”

kingfishervisitorguides.com

11

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN


©ING IMAGE; VISITSCOTLAND/KENNY LAM

HISTORY & HERITAGE

relevant today as it was in the 18th century. You can immerse yourself in his poetry at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway. In more recent history, Ayrshire was known as a powerhouse of industry and production, with steel fabrication and coal mining both in full force. Shipbuilding flourished on the coast and industries such as textiles design, shawl-making and weaving were prevalent. It is also the birthplace of the global Johnnie Walker whisky brand. Scotland’s aviation industry has a long and illustrious association with Prestwick Airport. As well as being of commercial and military importance, the airport holds claim to being the only known place in the UK where Elvis ever set foot! Evidence of life on Arran dates back as far as the Neolithic period – approximately 4500BC – with standing stones, cairns and burial chambers abundant on the island. It’s little

“BY THE 11TH CENTURY, ARRAN HAD FALLEN FOUL OF THE VIKING INVASION AND WAS PROPERTY OF THE NORWEGIAN CROWN UNTIL BEING RECLAIMED BY SCOTLAND IN THE 13TH CENTURY”

wonder the history of the island is entangled with folklore, myth and legend. From the 6th century, Irish settlers made Arran an important centre for their religious activity, with monasteries built and The Holy Isle designated as a main hub. St Columba is even said to have been present on the island. By the 11th century, Arran had fallen foul of the Viking invasion and was property of the Norwegian Crown until being reclaimed by Scotland in the 13th century. In the early 19th century, the island was devastated by the Clearances. The violent and forcible removal of people from the land and cottages had a dramatic effect on the 6,500-strong population. Whole villages vanished and the Gaelic culture was quickly eroded. Today the Arran community both celebrates and commemorates in art, poetry and song the vibrant, curious and often heartbreaking history of their island. l

Machrie Moor Standing Stones, Arran

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN

12

kingfishervisitorguides.com


DISTILLERY

TOURS AVAILABLE G L E N S C O T I A , C A M P B E LT O W N

WE OFFER A RANGE OF TOURS TO SUIT EVERY TASTE! STANDARD TOUR - 1 HOUR

SHOP CORE RANGE TASTING - 45 MIN – 1 HOUR

£7 PER PERSON A tour of our distillery with one of our staff and a dram of our Double Cask to round it all off. Available Monday – Friday 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3pm. Saturday 11.30am and 3pm.

£13 PER PERSON Relax in our stunning Victorian styled shop whilst learning about the history of Glen Scotia and of course enjoying this great introductory tasting to the Glen Scotia range with four of our core range whiskies – Double Cask, 15 year old, 18 year old and the Victoriana.

HERITAGE TOUR - 2 HOURS

DUNNAGE TOUR AND TASTING - 2 HOURS

£30 PER PERSON A tour around our distillery with one of our staff and finish with a tasting of 5 drams, 3 of our core range and 2 of our distillery limited editions. Available Monday – Friday 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3pm. Saturday 11.30am and 3pm.

£50 PER PERSON Take the grand tour of Glen Scotia Distillery finishing with a tasting session in our Dunnage Warehouse led by one of our staff. Includes 5 drams drawn straight from selected casks in the Dunnage. Minimum 2 people per tour and subject to availability. Available Monday - Friday 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3pm.

THE MANAGERS TOUR - 2.5 HOURS

£75 PER PERSON This is the ultimate Glen Scotia experience. Join our Distillery Manager, Iain McAlister, on a tour of the distillery and learn all about the production of our whiskies. Afterwards enjoy a tasting of five whiskies drawn straight from casks in our Dunnage Warehouse. Minimum 4 people per tour booking and subject to availability. Must be booked 2 weeks in advance. Available Monday – Friday 10am – 2pm. Please contact us for information on the full range of tours and tastings available and to make a booking glenscotiashop@lochlomondgroup.com

Tel. +44 (0)1586 552288 email. glenscotiashop@lochlomondgroup.com www.glenscotia.com @Glenscotiamalts Glenscotiawhisky Please enjoy responsibly

Individual tours and tastings can be arranged upon request.


DAYS OUT

LET’S GO THERE! With captivating castles, colourful country parks and cool coastal walks, Ayrshire and Arran offer a treasure trove of exciting places to visit

©ING IMAGE; SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

I

glorious gardens, breathtaking beaches, wonderful woodlands and the Adventure Cove and Wild Woodland play areas to tire out hyperactive holidaying children. The jewel in its crown is the spectacular castle itself, an 18th-century masterpiece that was once home of the Earl of Casillis. Visitors can enjoy guided tours of the castle, taking in the opulent interiors and marvelling at the fine collection of paintings, furniture and military swords on display. Even simply wandering around the grounds is enchanting, with more than 40 buildings and secret follies to be explored, as well as the flamboyant formal gardens, ice house and Swan Pond. There are several dining options available on-site and a gift shop. Less than ten miles from the Castle is Heads of Ayr Farm Park. This action-packed adventure hub offers activities, events and animals galore. Monkeys, meerkats and snakes all call Heads of Ayr home, providing visitors with the perfect chance to learn more about different creatures great and small. Activities on offer include bumper boats, a giant sand pit, an adventure p17

f much of the mountainous highlands of Scotland resemble the spectacular backdrop of a Lord of the Rings landscape, you could regard Ayrshire as its Shire: a beautiful vista of gently rolling hills and perfectly husbanded farmland. That’s not to say Ayrshire does not have its fair share of adventure – there are many places to have fun. In fact, there’s no shortage of fantastic days out for families, friends or couples eager to explore the region. Eglinton Country Park is one of Ayrshire’s largest yet best kept secrets. Located in the grounds of the Eglinton Castle Estate in Kilwinning, it encompasses 400 hectares of beautiful parkland and forest. Through all four seasons, there’s always something to enjoy: from exploring the many walking paths or setting off on the cycle routes to horseriding and angling. The dedicated countryside rangers also arrange a monthly programme of events, including birdwatching and guided walks. One of the must-see attractions is Culzean Castle and Country Park. Perched atop the Ayrshire cliffs, this National Trust property features

“THIS ACTION-PACKED ADVENTURE HUB OFFERS ACTIVITIES, EVENTS AND ANIMALS GALORE – MONKEYS, MEERKATS AND SNAKES ALL CALL HEADS OF AYR HOME, PROVIDING VISITORS WITH THE PERFECT CHANCE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT DIFFERENT CREATURES”

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN

14

kingfishervisitorguides.com


kingfishervisitorguides.com

15

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN


W E H AV E A WHISKY FOR E V E RYON E W H I S K Y & G I N TA S T I N G PERSONALISED WHISKY S COTC H W H I S K Y WORLD WHISKY | GINS LIQUEURS | GIFTS

Book a tasting online at

A D R AT T R AY. C O M Mon-Sat 10am-6pm all year. Sun 12 Noon-5pm during April-December. 32 Main Road, Kirkoswald, Ayrshire, Scotland. KA19 8HY. T 01655 760 308


DAYS OUT

“AS WELL AS TOURING THE COLOURFUL, GRAFFITI-CLAD CASTLE, VISITORS CAN RAMBLE THROUGH THE GLEN AND ENJOY HORSE RIDING OR MOUNTAIN BIKING”

playground, quad biking, trampolining and an aerial runway. There are also numerous special park events taking place throughout the summer calendar. There are a couple of cafes onsite, too, for when it’s time to recharge the batteries. With so much on offer, one day may not be enough! The park is open throughout the summer season.

©VISITSCOTLAND/KENNY LAM/PAUL TOMKINS

Kelburn Castle, Fairlie

Burns Cottage, Alloway

kingfishervisitorguides.com

17

ROBERT BURNS Alloway is just a little further up the coast and no visit to Ayrshire would be complete without a visit to the birthplace of Scotland’s national bard Robert Burns. As well as the fascinating Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, the town acts as a living monument to the poet and boasts Burns Cottage, Brig o’ Doon, Alloway Auld Kirk and a Poet’s Path. A truly immersive Burns experience, visitors can explore first-hand the life and works of the poet. Throughout the year, there are also a variety of Burns-themed events that take place, including artisan food fayres, open-mic music sessions, ceilidhs and even a theatrical Halloween tea party. Another famous Ayrshire monument is Kelburn Castle and a visit to this eccentrically-decorated building is an unforgettable experience. A winner of Best Family Venue at the Scottish Hospitality Awards, the accolade is certainly well-deserved. Kelburn Estate, which occupies 3,500 acres of land near Largs, has music and drama events, adventure activities and trails to explore. As well as touring the colourful, graffiti-clad castle, visitors can ramble through the glen, enjoy horse riding or mountain biking, or attend one of the many hosted events. Murder mystery tours, theatre and even its own summer music festival makes Kelburn the top choice for a day out in the region. For anyone serious about having fun on the water, Sportscotland Cumbrae offers a variety of courses that range from dingy sailing, windsurfing, powerboating, sea kayaking, cruising, all the way up to instructor training and professional yachtmaster – and all from its base on the beautiful isle of Great Cumbrae. Participants can choose to stay at the centre, with prices inclusive of accommodation and meals unless courses are identified as individual day or non-residential. For those who prefer their coastal experience mixed with a little history and lots of live action, the town of Largs is home to Vikingar! This fabulous discovery centre has everything you need to p21

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN


Blackstone Farm offers an individual closed group experience from 1 to 4 hours, unique and tailor made just for you. Join us on our working farm to experience first hand the Clydesdale Horse magic and the DIG-a-Day thrill. Booking is essential. Closed on Mondays.

The experience is your time, pop along and create moments into memories

Use your time to work with our prize winning Clydesdale Horses in harness on the carriage, ride in saddle at the farm or beach, assist in washing, grooming, mucking out, tacking up and feeding with your guide by your side every step of the way. The choice is yours! Weight restrictions apply for riding. Booking is essential.

Looking for more get up close and personal. Meet our Clydesdale horses, highland coo’s, alpaca boys, cheeky donkey, boars, sheep, ducks, geese and hens, while finding out about Blackstone farm and our animals history on your guided walking farm tour. Open all year.

BOOK NOW +44 [0]7785 522735 Please text, email or call again if we don’t answer your call. Blackstone Farm, Cumnock, KA18 3JJ | +44 [0]1290 432 639 bookings@clydesdales.co.uk | www.blackstoneclydesdaels.co.uk

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN

We are totally HorseOME LIFT IT, SHIFT IT, HEAVE IT, LEAVE IT… come back and shift it some more Why? Cos you can with DIG-a-Day….

Big

DIG-a-Day BIG Toys Toys, is exactly what is says on the tin! Try you hand at practical digger FUN with mini to 22Ton excavators. Learn about their uses and feel first hand the excitement of the digger. Open all year. Closed on Mondays.

18

kingfishervisitorguides.com


kirsty malone

CHRIS FORBES DAME AGGIE TROTT

fairy bluebell

KAREN BARTKE

SLUGGIE THUNDERPANTS

DAVID MCGOWAN

JILLIAN CUNNINGHAM

SIR HECTOR LAIRD OF AUCHINFLEG

FAIR FIONA

GAVIN JON WRIGHT JACK TROTT

FRIDAY 29TH NOVEMBER 2019 TO SUNDAY 5TH JANUARY 2020

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

BOX OFFICE 01292 288235 OR BOOK ONLINE WWW.THEGAIETY.CO.UK DIRECTED BY KEN ALEXANDER WRITTEN BY FRASER BOYLE & KEN ALEXANDER


See for yourself how a nuclear power station works Visit Hunterston B Power Station on the West Coast of Scotland. All plant tours require at least 3 weeks’ notice for booking. It is free of charge to visit us. The Hunterston B Visitor Centre has an interactive exhibition to help visitors understand more about nuclear power generation and allow people to ask questions to our trained guides. There is no advanced booking required to visit our exhibition. Advanced booking is however required to take part in a site tour of the power station. Hunterston B is located on the North Ayrshire coast, approximately one hour west of Glasgow. It generates enough low carbon electricity to power approximately 1.5 million homes. Email – hunterstonbtours@edf-energy.com Telephone – 01294 826008 Monday to Friday 09:00 - 16:00 hours.

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN

20

kingfishervisitorguides.com


DAYS OUT

know about the Vikings. With so many years of Scandanavian-Scottish history to explore, Vikingar! is the prime place to experience notorious tales of battle and adventure as they’re brought back to life. As well as the immersive Viking experience, the centre also features a four-lane 25m pool and a teaching pool for beginners or younger swimmers, fitness centre, theatre and soft play area.

©KZENON/ADOBE STOCK; VISITSCOTLAND/KENNY LAM

BICYCLE ISLAND Just a short hop across the water from Largs, tiny Great Cumbrae may not have Vikings but it is famous for being a bicycle island. With more than 1,000 bikes available for hire in its single town of Millport, this is the perfect place to explore on two wheels. With quiet beaches, watersports, shopping, cafes, galleries, curious historical sites and more, it certainly won’t disappoint. Just make sure to stop for a holiday snap at the famous Crocodile Rock! Another ocean-themed attraction is the Scottish Maritime Museum. Located in Irvine, this is a must for anyone interested in Scotland’s illustrious seafaring heritage as it boasts the largest collection of shipbuilding tools and machinery in the country. You can explore the “Cathedral of Engineering” in the form of the Linthouse Shipyard, discover historic boats and

“WITH MORE THAN 1,000 BIKES AVAILABLE FOR HIRE IN ITS SINGLE TOWN OF MILLPORT, THIS IS THE PERFECT PLACE TO EXPLORE ON TWO WHEELS”

vessels, and even have a go at sailing your own boat in the indoor and outdoor ponds. Youngsters will enjoy the Pirate Takeover Weekend, which has returned by popular demand and takes place in September. It features a treasure hunt trail, face painting and bouncy pirate ship castle. Pirates, young and old, are encouraged to dress up for the day. There are also regular art exhibitions, too, in the purpose-built Lomond Gallery. Travelling inland again, right into the heart of Kimarnock, a trip to Dean Castle and Country Park makes for a fantastic – and completely free – day out. Featuring an historic 14th-century castle, countless woodland walks, an urban farm, a rural life centre and even an enchanting illuminated forest during the autumn months, Dean Castle attracts visitors from far and wide. The castle is temporarily closed for renovation work, but this shouldn’t deter today’s day-trippers eager to explore the stunning Ayrshire countryside. Talking of exploring, horseriding is a popular way to discover Ayrshire’s beautiful countryside and coastline. It’s a great way to take in views over the Firth of Clyde to Ailsa Craig and Arran from the saddle. Ayrshire Equitation Centre offers 74 acres of pasture to explore and its own on tack shop. Approved by the British Horse Society and the p22

Crocodile Rock, Isle of Cumbrae

kingfishervisitorguides.com

21

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN


Trekking and Riding Society of Scotland, it comes highly commended by the Scottish Tourist Board and specialises in tuition and livery – catering for all ages and levels, from complete beginners up to competition level. Taking one of the regular ferries from Ayrshire to Arran promises to fill your eyes and ears with the sights and sounds of this island’s spectacular scenery and enchanting flora and fauna. There are many unique attractions to create fun days out. Many visitors begin their island adventure with a visit to Brodick Castle and Country Park, Britain’s only island country park. The formal gardens are a marvel to explore and the sprawling woodland, bathing pools, waterfalls and the new Isle Be Wild Adventure playground are fun for all ages. Walkers can enjoy more than 10 miles of waymarked trails, watching out for the local wildlife and taking in the dramatic scenery en route. The castle itself, which has recently reopened following major refurbishment work, now boasts a state-of-the-art, self-guided visitor experience. With specially-controlled lighting and audio features – as well as costumed interpreters – it really does bring the

Brodick Castle, Arran

FREE CA R AND COA CH PARKING

Visit the Dalgarven Mills Kilwinning KA13 6PL

• Museum of Ayrshire Country Life and Costume • The Miller’s Kitchen: light lunches and home baking • Attractive riverside walks Changing exhibitions of pieces from one of Scotland’s finest collections of vintage costume.

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN

Opening times 1 May-30 September: Tues-Sat: 10.00-17.00 Sun: 11.00-17.00 1 October-30 April: Tues-Fri: 10.00-16.00 Sat: 10.00-17.00 Sun: 11.00-17.00

Dalgarven Mill Museum

@DalgarvenMill

dalgarvenmill

www.dalgarvenmill.org.uk e: admin@dalgarvenmill.org.uk t: 01294 552 448

22

SC 022937

kingfishervisitorguides.com


DAYS OUT

castle back to life. As well as exquisite period furniture, porcelain, paintings and silverware, there are also interactive activities for youngsters, such as racing a horse on the roll-a-derby in the Victorian arcade. THE HOLY ISLE During the summer months, a hop over to The Holy Isle can make for a very pleasant excursion from Arran. Reachable via ferry in less then 10 minutes from the village of Lamlash, The Holy Isle enjoys a rich and interesting spiritual history dating back as far as the 6th century. Its compact size means it’s ideally explored on foot, with natural wonders such as a healing spring and a hermit cave. It’s the perfect place to unwind and get away from it all, or go wildlife spotting – wild ponies, sheep and goats can all be seen roaming the island. It is also home to the renowned Centre for World Peace and Health, which hosts a variety of day retreats, including mindfulness, Buddhism, yoga and Tai Chi. Volunteers are also welcomed into the Centre to join in workshops and enjoy the experience of being part of the island community. If you like to live life at a faster pace,

“THE ISLAND’S COMPACT SIZE MEANS IT’S IDEALLY EXPLORED ON FOOT, WITH NATURAL WONDERS SUCH AS A HEALING SPRING AND A HERMIT CAVE”

adventure lovers are spoiled on Arran. This is an outdoors paradise that has something for everyone’s sporting aspirations. Arran Adventure, based at Auchrannie Resort in Brodick, aims to meet these with comprehensive selection of activities to satisfy the inner adrenaline junkie. From segways to archery and mountain biking to gorgewalking, a day or half-a-day spent with Arran Adventure is guaranteed exhilaration. There are courses for ages six years and up and to suit all levels of fitness and experience. For something a little more sedate why not go touring? With a circumference of just 56 miles, Arran is the perfect destination for a good, oldfashioned road trip. Load up the car, pack a picnic of local island goodies and circumnavigate the island, enjoying the charming villages and fascinating historical sites dotted around the coast. Make sure to take a pair of binoculars. Arran has an abundance of wildlife to spot, including seals, otters and golden eagles. If you’d prefer a guided wildlife tour, Arran Wild Walks can accommodate. With experienced guides, they offer both mountain walks and wildlife tours, and specialise in both summer and winter walks. l

©MICRO MONKEY/LUIS/ADOBE STOCK; VISITSCOTLAND/PAUL TOMKINS

Canyoning in North Glen Sannox, Isle of Arran – the region is an outdoors paradise

kingfishervisitorguides.com

23

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN


10

THINGS YOU MUST DO!

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN

24

kingfishervisitorguides.com


10 THINGS

OPPOSITE PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT No trip to Ayrshire is complete without fish and chips by the seaside; Goatfell viewed from Brodick; Great Cumbrae is easy to explore by bike; Yachting at Largs Yacht Haven; LEFT King’s Cave, Arran

[01] BE A TIME TRAVELLER

Arran is a paradise for history and archaeology lovers, with sites of national importance dotted around the island. All of them are free and just waiting to be discovered. The Machrie Moor standing stones give us clues to the island’s Neolithic history. On the west side, the 6,000-year-old King’s Cave is revered for its part in Scottish history as the spot where Robert the Bruce was reinvigorated for battle by watching a spider finally succeed in spinning its web. Grab a map and get exploring!

©ING IMAGE; JAMES PINTAR/ADOBE STOCK; VISITSCOTLAND/KENNY LAM/PAUL TOMKINS

[02] TRY THE ELECTRIC BRAE The A719, south of the fishing village of Dunure is home to the Electric Brae, a stretch of road where freewheeling vehicles appear to be drawn uphill by an unexplained, mysterious force. The brae is actually an optical illusion but the curious phenomenon attracts tourists in their droves and is a delight for children and adults. [03] WALK THE LANG SCOTS MILE Did you know the Scottish mile was once longer than the English mile? Starting at the Citadel, this lovely seaside walk in Ayr commemorates the “Lang Mile” and has informative signs that explain how the town’s various buildings and monuments have been built and often repurposed over the centuries. [04] KEEP COOL WITH ICE CREAM Another one for foodies who hanker after a bit of seaside nostalgia – indulge in an ice cream at one of the many parlours Ayrshire has to offer. From Nardini’s to Geraldo’s, Renaldo’s, Mancini’s and Varani’s, there is a tasty gelato on every promenade. [05] CYCLE AROUND GREAT CUMBRAE With just over 10 miles in circumference, the island of Great Cumbrae in the Firth of Clyde off the coast of North Ayrshire is easy to

kingfishervisitorguides.com

explore by bike and there are numerous cycle hire options on the island. From tandems to tricycles and even an eight-seater bike to ride with friends, a leisurely pedal around the island should be on every Ayrshire bucket list. [06] GET OUT ON THE WATER Ayrshire is deservedly famous for its watersports and a trip to some of the most beautiful coastline in the country isn’t complete without at least a paddle. Swimming, kayaking, windsurfing, kitesurfing, sailing... whatever your chosen aquatic adventure might be, Ayrshire is the place to get in at the deep end and try it out. [07] ENJOY FISH AND CHIPS ON THE BEACH Reminiscent of the good old days of ‘doon-the-watter’ holidays, no trip to Ayrshire is complete without eating traditional fish and chips by the seaside. There are countless quality fish and chip shops that offer classic suppers or modern gourmet seafood suppers. Whatever your preference, enjoy Scotland’s favourite takeaway on the sand in Troon or Largs.

25

“INDULGE IN A DAY-LONG JOURNEY OF SAMPLING LOCAL FARE, WHETHER IN THE ABUNDANCE OF LOCAL EATERIES OR BY PICNIC. YOU’LL SOON FIND THERE IS NO SHORTAGE OF GOODIES ON OFFER”

[08] BE SCARED BY SAWNEY BEAN The legend of Sawney Bean has delighted and horrified folklore lovers for centuries. According to the legend, Sawney and his 46 relatives were cannibals and terrorised innocent passers-by for 25 years, all from their cave at Bennane Head, between the villages of Ballantrae and Girvan. The cave is said to run a mile deep and is tricky to locate during hide tide – it should only be attempted by the physically fit. [09] CLIMB GOATFELL A ramble up Arran’s highest peak is a must-do. Goatfell is one of four Corbetts on the island and offers hikers remarkable scenery, with stunning views of the surrounding landscapes from the summit. On a clear day even Ireland can be seen. Be sure to bring a picnic, plenty of water, midge repellant and your camera. [10] SAVOUR THE FLAVOURS From chocolate to cheese, herbs to whisky and ales to meats, Arran is perfect for a gastronomic tour. Indulge in a day-long journey of sampling local fare, whether in one of the many local eateries or by picnic. You’ll soon find there is no shortage of goodies on offer. l

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN


EATING OUT

A TASTE OF SCOTLAND – AND THE WORLD! Top-end fine dining, adventurous independents and a great range of ethnic cuisine means you’ll never go hungry here

©COPRID/ADOBE STOCK; KAMIL KALBARCZYK/UNSPLASH

A

yrshire and Arran are famed for their delectable cuisine. With succulent locally-farmed meats, cherished cheeses and the freshest seafood Scotland’s west coast has to offer, they offer a wide and varied range of gastronomic delights to tantalize the tastebuds. The majority of eateries use locally-sourced ingredients, showcasing the best seasonal produce available. Boasting world-class eating establishments, from fine dining to gastropubs and tea rooms, Ayrshire and Arran have firmly established themselves as a foodies’ paradise. There’s certainly no shortage of eating out options to suit every appetite and budget. You can choose from gourmet evenings or informal seafood platters eaten al fresco as the sun sets over the sea. There are also specialist award-winning eateries for the most discerning of palates, as well as romantic getaways for that candlelit table for two. For less formal dining options, you can pop into one of the many pubs and bars, where you’ll find not only tasty menus but also Arran Ale and whisky. You’re also sure to meet some of the local characters, as well as enjoy live entertainment with your meal on music nights.

AYRSHIRE Braidwoods in the village of Dalry is undoubtedly Ayrshire’s culinary crown in the jewel. A Michelinstarred restaurant, it has achieved the coveted award for a 20th consecutive year, making it the longest standing Michelin-starred restaurant in Scotland. Also a former “Best Restaurant in Scotland” winner, the eatery is headed up by the husband and wife chef team of Keith and Nicola Braidwood. Menus consistently feature the finest local produce, from hand-dived West Coast scallops to Cairnhill Farm beef, and each dish is created with passion, flare and devotion to every ingredient. FINE DINING Set in Trump Turnberry golfing resort, the 1906 restaurant is always above par, consistently offering some of the finest dining in the region – all against the backdrop of the stunning coastline course. Classic dishes are given a modern twist, with inspiration coming from the land, sea and dramatic skies of Ayrshire. With those breathtaking coastal views, dining at 1906 is a special treat not to be missed. Set in the heart of the local p29

“WITH SUCCULENT LOCALLY-FARMED MEATS, CHERISHED CHEESES AND THE FRESHEST SEAFOOD, SCOTLAND’S WEST COAST OFFERS A WIDE AND VARIED RANGE OF GASTRONOMIC DELIGHTS”

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN

26

kingfishervisitorguides.com


Multi award winning made to order fish and chips • Located directly on the promenade with the best views of the Firth of Clyde • Fresh fish delivered daily • Outdoor seating weather permitting • Take away • Small indoor seating area • Children’s menu • Dog friendly • Wheelchair access • Call to pre-order for collection

www.thefishworks.co.uk T. 01475 674 111

The Fish Works • 3 The Promenade • Largs • KA30 8BG

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN

28

E. hello@thefishworks.co.uk

kingfishervisitorguides.com


EATING OUT

unique dishes on offer. It also offers vegetarianfriendly and gluten-free options. With a strong community ethos and a commitment to sustainability, The Fish Works is already winning plaudits among food critics. Slightly inland from the coast in the village of Maybole, The Minishant Inn and Restaurant is a family-run eatery that consistently earns sterling reviews. Following extensive renovations in 2012, owners the Beattie family have made it their mission to provide exemplary cuisine and outstanding customer service. The extensive menu caters to every taste, featuring traditional Scottish fare, as well as curries, steaks, burgers and a tempting selection of desserts. Vegetarian and gluten-free diners are also catered for. Also in Maybole is the Kirkmichael Arms, a chocolate box-cute establishment that offers hearty pub food made with real gusto. The stand-out dish must be the Bad Boy Burger, which is brimming with toppings, ensuring diners are left full and satisfied. Its traditional pub, meanwhile, has a resident ale from the local Ayr Brewing Company and a guest ale that changes once a month. The Black Bull in South Ayrshire town Tarbolton is another fantastic choice, with an eclectic menu offering up both classic and more unusual fare, including pigeon. p31

“THE EXTENSIVE MENU CATERS TO EVERY TASTE, FEATURING TRADITIONAL SCOTTISH FARE, AS WELL AS CURRIES, STEAKS, BURGERS AND A TEMPTING SELECTION OF DESSERTS”

©JACOB LUND/MAGDALENA BUJAK/NATALIIA PYZHOVA/ADOBE STOCK

fishing community, McCallums of Troon boasts two establishments: The Oyster Bar and The Wee Hurrie, which is a former Best Takeaway Restaurant of the Year winner. The Oyster Bar serves up fresh seafood, from luscious langoustines to mouthwatering moules, while The Wee Hurrie is a masterclass in the humble fish supper. The best bit? Enjoying fresh fish while overlooking the harbour where it was landed! The Catch At Fins Restaurant, in the village of Fairlie, is a delight and specialises in farm-to-table produce. With the Fencebay farm shop and smokehouse attached, diners can be sure the produce is as fresh and local as it comes. Chef Richard Finlay creates innovative dishes and can cater to just about every appetite, so it’s little surprise that advanced booking is essential. Among the many favourites is the Fencebay Seafood Platter with lobster, crabs, langoustines and scallops. In the seaside town of Largs, new kid on the block The Fish Works is quickly becoming a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike. It was established in 2017 by husband and wife team Ross and Tiffany Irvin and they have taken their 40-plus years of experience in the food industry to create a relaxed dining experience that offers affordable, no-nonsense cuisine. Five quid squid, langoustine scampi and black pudding fritters are just some of the

kingfishervisitorguides.com

29

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN


We sell Lucaffe coffee, hot & cold drinks Home baking Fresh cream cakes Home made tablet Hot rolls Home made soup and sandwiches Specials Eat in or takeaway

56 Gallowgate Street Largs • KA30 8LX Tel: 01475 675520 /LargsPostOffice

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN

30

kingfishervisitorguides.com


EATING OUT

©ANDJEIV/JOSHUA RESNICK/ADOBE STOCK; VISITSCOTLAND/KENNY LAM

fish and vegetables. Don’t miss the Wildings Meatloaf with a spicy salsa! Another venue that has hosted more than its fair share of stars is the Stage Door Café. Located next to the Gaiety Theatre in Ayr, this is always popular with theatre luvvies and local food lovers for breakfast, lunch and pre-show dinner. There are also regular taster evenings – think of them as warm-up acts before the main event.

As well as offering an extensive drinks selection, the staff are knowledgeable and a warm welcome is always extended. Buckley’s Cafe Bistro, in the heart of Prestwick, offers diners simple and affordable cuisine in a laidback setting. Headed up by a team of passionate food enthusiasts, its innovative approach continues to attract new customers. As well as the Bistro, which serves breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and lighter bites, the team also offer outside catering for private and commercial clients, and host monthly pop-up events, where diners can enjoy more unique dishes. Pork, fennel seed and black pepper meatballs is just one of the tempting highlights available. There’s also a gluten-free menu. It’s no surprise that, with so many world-class golf courses, Wildings has attracted top names from the sport. This hotel and restaurant has played dinner host to stars such as Tom Watson and Greg Norman while they were playing in Open Championships at the nearby Turnberry course. Overlooking the picturesque harbour of Maidens, its menu makes the most of Ayrshire’s local meat,

kingfishervisitorguides.com

“THE TREND FOR AMERICAN-STYLE BURGER JOINTS IS ALSO GROWING, WITH SOME FANTASTICALLYTHEMED CLASSIC DINERS POPPING UP”

31

INTERNATIONAL CUISINE In addition to the myriad Scottish and seafood restaurants in the region, locals and visitors can also experience a wide range of more exotic cuisines, including Indian, Italian, Chinese, Thai and American. Motherland Spice in Saltcoats is always popular, serving up an authentic taste of Nepalese and Indian cuisine at very affordable rates. They will even create bespoke dishes for you that aren’t normally on the menu. The Torranyard Tandoori in Kilwinning, owned by Harry Singh and his sons, is famed for its delicious lamb bhoona – with none other than Hollywood A-lister Hugh Grant proclaiming his love for the dish on a previous visit. It was also named Outstanding Indian Restaurant of the Year in the Scottish Curry Awards 2019. Pizza and pasta lovers are spoiled for choice in Ayrshire, with a variety of top-notch Italian restaurants dotted throughout the area. Adesso in Irvine is just one of the many places to sample la dolce vita – from the fettuccine with mixed seafood in a garlic and herb cream to the traditional and tasty tiramisu torte. The iconic Nardini’s Cafe in Largs remains the top choice for gelato fans, who come from far and wide to sample the famous ice cream. An institution since 1935, Nardini’s Art Deco interior evokes a real sense of nostalgia. Oriental food lovers can tuck into Chinese and Thai food at several locations throughout the area. Thai restaurant At Home Thai & Grill in Ayr is a hidden gem well worth seeking out. The trend for American-style burger joints is also growing, with some fantastically-themed classic diners popping up. Oceans 11 American Bar and Diner is festooned with memorabilia, making it a great place to visit for food or a quick drink. In Kilbirnie the retro-styled Galaxy Cafe harks back to 1950s America – think harlequin checkered floors and red lacquer furniture. Chicken wings, burgers and the thickest of milkshakes make for a truly authentic American diner experience. There are also plenty of food and drink options around the region for visitors on a day trip and perhaps not looking for a full sit-down meal. There is a p32

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN


Bhaile Craft Bakery in Troon, Ayr, Prestwick and Alloway (in the grounds of the Burns Cottage) – all serving artisan coffees and freshly-made bread, bakes, sweet and savoury treats for breakfast, brunch or lunch. Made from locally-sourced ingredients, they are designed to offer delicate treats with a European Twist. ARRAN The compact size of the island – it’s affectionately known as “Scotland In Miniature”, after all – belies its richly-deserved reputation for producing world-renowned food and drink. The Taste of Arran project, for example, brings together some of the island’s finest food and drink producers to offer a tempting array: everything from chocolates and ice creams to oatcakes, chutneys and choice cheeses. And let’s not forget the many specialist ales, beers and whiskies. Arran Dairies, the Island Cheese Company, Robin’s Herbs and the Arran Chocolate Factory are just a small sample of what this tiny island has to offer, while the Arran Distillery and the Arran Brewery fly the flag when it comes to beverage production. With so much on offer, it’s little wonder that Arran is a firmly-established foodie destination in its own right. At the north end of the island, close to the ferry terminal at Lochranza, The Sandwich Station is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of place. Occupying a tiny building, it’s a must. Using the finest local ingredients, including artisan breads from the Blackwaterfoot Bakery (walnut sourdough, anyone?), this is definitely not just an ordinary sandwich shop. Generous portions, friendly service and a commitment to sustainability and the environment are just some of the many reasons to stop off at The Sandwich Station. Situated in Corrie, half way between the ferry ports of Brodick and Lochranza, Mara Fish Bar and Deli is a blue-hued eatery that pays homage to Scotland’s seafood history, serving up dishes lovingly-crafted from Arran-sourced produce. Mara, which is Gaelic for “The Sea”, is a selfproclaimed casual seafood takeaway, with an imaginative menu that includes delicacies such as Pollack Thai fishcakes, Whiting tacos with guacamole and even Arran octopus with polenta and salsa verde. Customers can enjoy their food from the outdoor seating area, which has some of the best sea views on the island. One of the three dining experiences at Auchrannie Resort in Brodick, Brambles Seafood and Grill is a laidback affair, serving up delicious dishes with an emphasis on the local produce. Arran suppliers are used where possible, including lamb, venison and

A starter course of hot smoked salmon at Brambles Seafood and Grill, Brodick

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN

32

kingfishervisitorguides.com


EATING OUT

©ALISA ANTON/UNSPLASH; GRESEI/JACKF/ADOBE STOCK; VISITSCOTLAND/PAUL TOMKINS

sausages from the Arran Butchers, bread and oatcakes from Wooleys, and ice cream, eggs, jams and chutneys from Arran Dairies. Seafood is at the heart of Brambles’ cuisine, but lighter bites, sumptuous desserts and children’s menus are also available. LOCAL PRODUCE South of Brodick in the village of Lamlash, The Old Pier Tearoom is a traditional cafe serving up old favourites. With simple, well-prepared and hearty meals, dining at The Old Pier is a treat for visitors to the south of the island. A celebration of all things cheese can be enjoyed at the Island Cheese Company, a family business formed in 1991. Its shop, crammed full of delicious cheeses of all shapes, sizes and strengths, is located on the original dairy for the Home Farm that supplied the Lords and Ladies of Brodick Castle for centuries. If enjoying Arran’s fine food outlets proves to be thirsty work, be sure to stop off at Arran Brewery next to Brodick Castle. Here you can witness the art of traditional brewing from the visitor centre’s viewing gallery – and, of course, appreciate why the natural blend of Arran water and local ingredients by sampling for yourself the range of very special ales. No visit to Arran is ever complete without a trip to the distillery, which is located in Lochranza. Since it opened in 1995, it has employed only traditional

kingfishervisitorguides.com

“SINCE ARRAN DISTILLERY OPENED IN 1995, IT HAS EMPLOYED ONLY TRADITIONAL METHODS, USING WOODEN WASHBACKS AND COPPER STILLS. ITS LOCATION, MEANWHILE, OFFERS PERFECT WATER FOR THE WHISKY”

33

methods, using wooden washbacks and copper stills. Its location, meanwhile, offers perfect water for the whisky – cleansed by granite and softened by peat as it tumbles down from the mountains. Slainte! Of course, sampling the fine selection of malts is a must – but so is having a bite to eat at the Cask Cafe. Meat and cheese platters showcase the very best of the island’s produce, and the bar, not surprisingly, has the most comprehensive stock of Arran whiskies in the world. The cafe also has a gallery, featuring original works from local artists and even by some of the staff themselves. It’s incredibly family-friendly too, making it a great place to stop off with hungry and young holidaymakers. With dining options typically concentrated on the eastern part of the island, Cafe Thyme in Machrie is an excellent spot for those wishing to venture further afield. With an inspired menu, including Turkish-style pizzas and vegan treats, it’s well worth a visit. The large outdoor play area makes it ideal for families to relax and enjoy a leisurely lunch. If cosy country pubs are more your style, there are plenty of options on Arran. The Drift Inn in Lamlash offers classic pub grub as well as innovative contemporary plates. In Brodick The Ormidale Hotel serves up simple, home-made bar meals in an informal pub setting and is a favourite meeting place for islanders. l

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN


SHOPPING

LIKE TO SHOP? YOU’LL LOVE IT HERE! High street chains, one-off independents and quirky specialists – they’re all waiting for the shopaholic

S

touring the area. With its sweeping strand, it has been a popular family resort since Victorian times. Ayrshire is, of course, famed for its whisky heritage. As well as being the birthplace of global brand Johnnie Walker, it’s also home to the A. D. Rattray Whisky Experience and Shop. Devoted to whisky since 1869, A. D. Rattray’s beautifullyrestored and Scottish Tourist Board five star-rated premises in Kirkoswald offer everything a whisky lover needs: informative tours, tastings led by experts, regular specialist events and a well-stocked shop. Customers can even visit the cask room, where they can watch their own bottle being filled. And if that isn’t enough to entice you, each cask strength bottle purchased is personalised on-site – sealed with wax and finished with a handwritten label, it becomes a personalised malt and makes for a fantastic gift or a wonderful Ayrshire souvenir for yourself. Another fabulous whisky stockist is Robbie’s Drams in Ayr. A treasure trove of Scotch, world whiskies and various other p37

©CONSTANTINOS/YANA136/ADOBE STOCK

hopping in Ayrshire and Arran is a real treat, with an array of independent retailers flying the flag for locally-produced goods. With everything from food, drink, arts, crafts and designer clothing on offer, there is something to suit everyone and every budget. As well as the independent stores, there are also a number of beautiful boutiques and all the traditional high street favourites. And with plenty of cafes, restaurants and bars throughout the region, there are always opportunities for shoppers to rest and enjoy the picturesque scenery over a coffee and cake or something stronger. AYRSHIRE Ayrshire is rich in top quality produce and many of its small towns host regular farmers’ markets, where you can try and buy fresh fruit and veg, meats and seafood. And when it comes to buying bigger, you’ll find all of the major high street names in towns such as Ayr, which also makes a convenient base for

“SHOPPING IN AYRSHIRE AND ARRAN IS A REAL TREAT – AS WELL AS THE INDEPENDENT STORES, THERE ARE ALSO A NUMBER OF BEAUTIFUL BOUTIQUES AND ALL THE TRADITIONAL HIGH STREET FAVOURITES”

kingfishervisitorguides.com

35

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN


Expect the unexpected.

T. 01294 274 021

www.rivergatecentre.com

/rivergatecentre


SHOPPING

The High Street in Ayr town centre

©VISITSCOTLAND/PAUL TOMKINS

spirits, this little gem also has a fine range of rare, limited edition and collectable whiskies to tempt any malt lover. What’s more, the helpful staff are passionate and knowledgeable about all things concerning ‘the water of life’, making the shopping experience a breeze, even for the amateur. If you’re looking for some something a little bit special, Robbie’s Drams should be your first port of call. FINE WINE AND LOCAL PRODUCE Lovers of fine wine are also spoiled in Ayrshire, thanks to the presence of Corney & Barrow’s in Ayr’s Academy Street. Established in 1766 and formerly known as Whighams of Ayr, this is one of the oldest wine merchants in the UK. Its 252-year-old cellars hold an incredible variety of wines from around the world. Don’t worry if you’re not a connoisseur. The shop’s helpful sales assistants are happy to guide customers through the range to find something perfectly suited to their personal taste and budget. In Maybole, Dalduff Farm Shop is the perfect place to pick up some of the best local meats. From lamb to venison and the best Ayrshire middle bacon, a trip to Dalduff is a must for hungry carnivores who appreciate sustainable sources. They also offer hampers that are ideal for large gatherings, special occasions or just stocking up. A second retail shop is

kingfishervisitorguides.com

“THIS IS ONE OF THE OLDEST WINE MERCHANTS IN THE UK, ITS 252-YEAR-OLD CELLARS HOLD AN INCREDIBLE VARIETY OF WINES FROM AROUND THE WORLD”

37

also located in the Dobbies Garden Centre in Ayr. Many Thanks in the town of Mauchline is much more than just a gift shop. As well as stocking an extensive range of locally-produced souvenirs and crafts, it also exhibits works from Ayrshire artists, and allows crafty-types to have a go at making their own jewellery, garlands, decoupage and felt items. With homewares, sculptures, candles and Robert Burns-themed items available to purchase, it’s the retail spot to pick up souvenirs. A visit to craft paradise West Kilbride is sure to delight shoppers looking for unique items created in Ayrshire. As well as an abundance of independent retailers throughout the town, West Kilbride is also home to Craft Town Scotland, a one-stop-shop for all your souvenir needs. Set within former church The Barony Centre, Craft Town Scotland is comprised of nine active studios, exhibitions, activities, an events space, a cafe and, of course, endless shopping opportunities. Visitors can gain a unique insight into the techniques and craftsmanship of the talented local designers, enjoy some fabulous exhibitions and even take part in creative activities. Goodies such as ceramics and stained glass are available to purchase. One of the most celebrated independent retailers in this town is the aptly named A Gift to Tae Gie. p39

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN


The Taste of Scotland… SCOTCH AND WORLD

WHISKY

AND GIN

ARTISAN

Champagne, Wines, Spirits, Liqueurs, Havana Cigars, Collectables, Rarities, Limited Editions, Gift Vouchers robbieswhiskymerchants.com

+44 (0) 1292 262135 info@robbieswhiskymerchants.com

Opening hours:

3 Sandgate, Ayr, South Ayrshire KA7 1BG

Please contact us for further information on hours of opening

Mon-Sat 10am-6pm & Sunday 12noon-6pm (Seasonal)

FREE click and collect available

A specialist ice cream & chocolate shop on our working farm… Hope you can visit us for an adventure in the world of chocolate and ice cream. • Artisan ice cream • Fun workshops/parties • Handcrafted luxury chocolates • Tasting experiences • Indulgent treats • Homemade jams & chutneys • Unique handmade gifts & hampers • PYO coffee/tea bar (pour your own)

Shop opening times Thursday – Monday 12 noon – 5pm. Other times by prior arrangement www.limetreelarder.co.uk | info@limetreelarder.co.uk | 01505 685258 Lime Tree Larder | Auchencloigh Farm | Kilbirnie | Ayrshire | KA25 7LJ

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN

38

kingfishervisitorguides.com


SHOPPING

©AYR CENTRAL; SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

Firm believers in promoting the art of shopping local, A Gift to Tae Gie stocks Ayrshire merchandise, as well as a wide selection on internationallyrecognised brands. A trip to The Candybox and Continental in Largs is sure to bring out your inner child. Jam-packed with nostalgic sweets, treats and chocolates, this is a veritable Aladdin’s cave of sugary treasures. From pick-and-mix favourites to melt-in-the-mouth tablet and macaroon bars, this traditional sweetie store will have you salivating as soon as you enter. VINTAGE GIFTS A firm favourite among lovers of all things vintage and antique is Prestwick establishment Nae-SaeNew. This second-hand emporium stocks books, collectables and a wide range of antique furniture, as well as a selection of candles, soaps and hand-made cards. Stock often comes from house clearances and so changes regularly – much to the delight of visitors and repeat shoppers, who can rummage until their heart’s content. As Ayrshire’s largest retail centre, the Rivergate Shopping Centre in Irvine is an ideal destination for

kingfishervisitorguides.com

“IN ADDITION TO THE FINELY-CRAFTED INSTRUMENTS, THE SHOP ALSO STOCKS A STUNNING RANGE OF HIGHLAND DRESS, AVAILABLE TO EITHER BUY OR HIRE”

39

big brand lovers. Top high street retailers – including Dorothy Perkins and Boots – are all there, as well as a select few smaller businesses. With everything from groceries, jewellery to clothing and technology to beauty all under one roof, Rivergate is ideal as a one-stop venue to visit if you need to stock up on the essentials and luxury items during your visit to Ayrshire. Ayr Central shopping centre is another hub for all-you-could-want shopping. As well as a wide range of top clothing outlets, you’ll find a variety of electrical, entertainment, jewellery and gift outlets. If all that retail therapy makes you hungry, there’s also a Subway, Costa, Subway and a Debenhams restaurant. Fun events and promotions – including fashion shows, beauty and make-up exhibits and craft workshops – are also scheduled regularly. For shoppers looking for something uniquely Scottish, McCallum Bagpipes may have the answer. At their 10,000 square foot showroom in Kilmarnock, McCallum manufactures and sells a huge selection of chanters, reeds, pipes and drums, making it the world’s favourite Great Highland Bagpipe maker. In addition to the finely-crafted instruments, the shop also stocks a stunning range of Highland dress, including jackets, kilts, shirts, sporrans and brogues, available to either buy or hire – which is handy if you’re in Ayrshire for a special event such as a wedding. With a vast tartan collection to peruse, McCallum Highlandwear offers something for every Scottish clan and for every unique taste. They even stock the famous Killie tartan – the official colours of Kilmarnock Football Club. More than just a clothes shop, the Cove Boutique in Kilmarnock is a must-visit for all dedicated followers of fashion. Owned by lifelong friends Tracy Murray and Shirley McLarty, Cove Boutique has soared in status and is now recognised as one of Ayrshire’s leading independent fashion retailers. Whether it’s work wear, evening wear or something extra special, the garments are all carefully selected, and offer fantastic value, with customers – who are known as ‘Covettes’ – coming from as far afield as Dubai, America and Australia. This, coupled with outstanding community spirit and commitment to offering unrivalled customer service, means it’s p41

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN


Peignoir, 67 Newmarket Street, Ayr KA7 1LL

T. 01292 290751 E. kerry@peignoirboutique.com

FOLLOW US ON @peignoirboutique @peignoirboutique

A small independent fashion boutique in the heart of Ayr selling contemporary clothing and accessories. Brands include:

EB & IVE, FRNCH, JAMES LAKELAND, LEFON, RINASCIMENTO, YERSE, SAINT TROPEZ, RINO & PELLE.

This family-owned, 5-star tourist shop offers visitors to Largs an awe-inspiring choice of artisan ice cream freshly made on the premises, handmade chocolates from carefully selected chocolatiers across the UK and Europe and a premium spirits range of over 70 craft gins, Scotch whiskies and unusual liqueurs. Whether you are looking for a luxury food & drink present or an indulgent treat, there is something for everyone. Their bespoke hampers make a unique gift for any occasion. Simply choose your favourite products and the Geraldo’s team will hand-pack and beautifully gift wrap your hamper ready to go. With weekly in-store tastings, whisky masterclasses and a wide range of exquisite gifts, this is a must-see shop in Ayrshire. Gift vouchers are available.

Visit us in Largs or buy online @ www.geraldos.co.uk 26-28 Main Street • Largs • KA30 8AB • T: 01475 675200 • E: info@geraldos.co.uk

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN

40

kingfishervisitorguides.com


SHOPPING

©DAVID PRADO/MARA ZEMGALIETE/ADOBE STOCK; VISITSCOTLAND/KENNY LAM

little wonder Cove Boutique continues to win retail awards year after year. Another hip and happening hot spot for fashion is Beau Beau Boutique in Ayr. Specialising in designer dresses for prom nights, weddings, parties and balls, it has selections by Blush Prom, Terani Couture and Alyce Paris. Although open every day except Mondays, it’s recommended that shoppers make an appointment in advance to ensure they enjoy Beau Beau Boutique’s personalised service. ARRAN For those visitors who enjoy a spot of retail therapy, Arran will not disappoint. Choose from boutique stores filled with designer clothes, bespoke jewellery, hand-painted furniture or browse through the treasures in its arts and crafts shops. There are also splendid examples of original artwork and photography in the island’s galleries. One of its best-known retail outlets is the Arran Aromatics factory shop in Brodick. Here your olfactory senses will be positively overwhelmed by the aroma and your eyes dazzled by the colourful range of pampering products on display. As one of the island’s most famous exports, Arran Aromatics originally earned its world-class reputation for producing some of the finest soaps Scotland has to offer. Using island botanicals, essential oils and natural ingredients – and inspired

kingfishervisitorguides.com

by the tranquillity and stunning landscapes of the island – Arran Aromatics’ popularity has continued to grow, and the company now produces a range of products, including candles, room sprays, skincare items and even a men’s personal grooming range. Boasting a range of tasty treats, many of which have won prestigious Great Taste Awards, Arran Fine Foods Kitchen Shop in Lamlash is a haven for the senses. Choose from Paterson’s famous shortbread, biscuits and oatcakes and a wide variety of chutneys, mustards, jams and marmalades. There are also souvenir gifts to buy and bring home, such as boxes of hand-made Arran tablet, artwork, candles and homeware. At the Old Byre Showroom, meanwhile, you’ll find a fantastic range of men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, including knitwear, Harris Tweed bags and sheepskin boots and slippers – the only problem will be how to fit all your purchases on the ferry! Cheese is always hard to resist and even more so when it’s been lovingly created on an island famed for its strong agricultural heritage. That’s why the Isle of Arran Cheese Shop in Brodick is a must-visit for foodies, with an incredible selection of local gourmet cheeses and chutneys available, as well as artisan goods from around Scotland. With delicacies such as whisky-flavoured and mustard-flavoured cheeses, tastebuds are sure to be tickled. Bespoke hampers are also available to order, for when p43

41

“BOASTING A RANGE OF TASTY TREATS, MANY OF WHICH HAVE WON PRESTIGIOUS GREAT TASTE AWARDS, ARRAN FINE FOODS KITCHEN SHOP IN LAMLASH IS A HAVEN FOR THE SENSES”

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN


big brands little price tags

AYRSHIRE’S SHOPPING EXPERIENCE

AFTERNOON TEA FOR 2 ONLY £11.95

Ladieswear | Kidswear | Menswear | Homeware Footwear | Toys | Gifts Relax and indulge in our cafe | FREE onsite parking

01290 421 121 | cumnockfactoryoutlet.co.uk CRAIGENS ROAD, CUMNOCK, KA18 3AJ SPONSORED BY

MONDAY - SATURDAY 9:30 - 17:30 SUNDAY 11:00 - 17:00

emporium boutique clothing.accessories.gifts

Emporium is a multi-award winning womenswear boutique, providing affordable clothing, footwear & accessories for women of all ages, from sizes 8-22. We sell a range of labels from the UK, France & Italy, with new items arriving weekly. Follow us on social media to see our updates & be in with a chance to win a giveaway.

www.emporiumboutique.co.uk 125 Main Street, Prestwick, KA9 1LA

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN

hello@emporiumboutique.co.uk

42

01292 677991

kingfishervisitorguides.com


SHOPPING

one truckle just isn’t enough. What could more irresistible than cheese? Well, chocolate, of course! James of Arran is a master chocolatier, producing hand-made divine treats that have chocoholics rejoicing. Their Arran Chocolate Factory is based at James’ Chocolate Shop in the heart of Brodick and anyone with a sweet tooth shouldn’t miss this one.

©SERGII MOSTOVYI/ADOBE STOCK; VISITSCOTLAND/KENNY LAM

“WITH SUCH A BIG ADVENTURE SCENE ON THE ISLAND, THE SPECIALIST OUTDOOR SHOP ARRAN ACTIVE IS THE PLACE TO GO FOR ALL OF YOUR OUTDOOR CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT NEEDS”

FINE MALTS AND CRAFT ALES With both a distillery and a brewery on the island, Arran is a great place to stock up on the finest malts and the most refreshing craft ales, straight from the source. The shop at the distillery at Lochranza has a varied selection of single malts, blends, limited editions and exclusives for your delectation, while the brewery and shop in Cladach is the perfect place to learn about the unique microbrewing methods, taste the various craft ales on offer... and then purchase a few to take home. With quirky names such as Arran Sleeping Warrior, Arran Brewery Dug and Arran Red Squirrel, the vibrantly-decorated bottles make for excellent take-home gifts. With such a big adventure scene on the island, the specialist outdoor shop Arran Active is the place to go for all of your outdoor clothing and equipment needs. Situated in Brodick, it stocks a huge range, including footwear, rucksacks, camping gear maps and guidebooks. Open all-year-round, the store is

also a great source of knowledge for those interested in the walks and wildlife on the island. For visitors to the western side of Arran, The Old Byre Showroom in Machrie started out selling sheepskin rugs brought over to the island from the Scottish Borders. The business has since expanded, and now sells a range of high quality Scottish and Irish knitwear and woollen items, homewares and leather goods, as well products from international brands such as Barbour. There is also a secondary shop, located in Brodick. In Whiting Bay, the Arran Art Gallery is a fantastic place to pick up works from local artists, with paintings, sculptures, jewellery, decorative glass and prints all available to buy. Open every day, the gallery prides itself on stocking some of the best quality affordable artworks in the country, so whether your budget is big or small, there is an artwork to for you. When it comes to dedicated gift shops offering a great selection of souvenirs, Arran has no shortage. Red Door located in Brodick offers quirky and unique items that suit even the most eclectic of tastes, including bags, scarves and jewellery. If you’re a dog lover, you’ll be delighted to find Red Door also stocks Bowzos’ custom-made Harris Tweed collars, bow ties and bandanas – apparently what all the best dressed dogs on Arran are wearing this season! l

Arran Brewery

43

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN


48 HOURS

IF YOU’RE ONLY HERE FOR 48 HOURS… You can pack a lot into a couple of days – try this itinerary to make the most of it

Culzean Castle, Maybole

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN

44

kingfishervisitorguides.com


South Beach, Troon

©SHUTTERSTOCK.COM; VISITSCOTLAND/KENNY LAM/PAUL TOMKINS

W

hether it’s a weekend break or a mid-week treat, 48 hours in Ayrshire and Arran is a guaranteed feast for all the senses. Try our suggested itinerary for the perfect whirlwind adventure!

with a paddle in the sea, before finding a prime spot to enjoy the fading light. And why not end your first day in Ayrshire with a fish feast in one of Troon’s many seafood restaurants, where fresh, locally-sourced produce is always the catch of the day?

DAY ONE: AYRSHIRE Fuelled first by a traditional Ayrshire bacon roll for breakfast, start your two-day adventure by exploring Ayrshire’s coastline and countryside. From the coastal town of Girvan, hop on a bike and follow the inland cycle network that meanders beside the course of the River Girvan to Maybole. From here, loop back towards the coast, exploring historic gems such as Crossraguel Abbey, Turnberry and the incredible Culzean Castle, set high atop the Ayrshire Cliffs. After a well-deserved picnic lunch in Culzean’s pristine formal gardens, head north to Alloway, the birthplace of Robert Burns. The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum is a fascinating tribute to Scotland’s most revered poet, where visitors can explore the famous Burns Cottage and Memorial Gardens, as well as peruse some of his most important artefacts, manuscripts and letters. As evening approaches, there is no better place to take in a spectacular west-coast sunset than Troon beach. Ease cycle-weary muscles

DAY TWO: ARRAN Heading to nearby Ardrossan Harbour and catching an early ferry to Arran will ensure you make the most of one day on the island. At just under an hour long, the crossing is a sightseeing treat in its own right, with dolphins and whales often spotted. Arriving at Brodick, fuel up for a day of island exploring with breakfast in one of the numerous cafes and tea rooms dotted around town. Slightly north of the village lies Brodick Castle, a beautifully-maintained National Trust site. Here you can take a tour of the grand baronial castle, wander through the gardens and explore the woodland trails on the estate, while enjoying coastal views and wildlife spotting opportunities. After such an arduous day of cycling in Ayrshire, Arran is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the gentler pace island life affords – and what better way to do that than to sample some of the local libations? A short stroll back to Brodick leads to the Arran Brewery, where visitors can enjoy a tour

kingfishervisitorguides.com

45

and taste of some local craft ales. An afternoon of pampering is always a good idea, and Auchrannie Resort – only one mile from Brodick – is the perfect place to indulge yourself, with various spa treatments available. Refreshed and invigorated, head north by car or bus to Lochranza, where the delights of the Arran Distillery are just waiting to be sampled. Enjoy some world-class drams and learn about the fascinating history of the island’s only whisky distillery. A late lunch in the Casks Cafe is a must for foodies, with local island meats, cheeses and other goodies on offer. Finish your Arran adventure with a sunset wander along the shores of Lochranza. With its imposing, ruined but ever-romantic castle, picturesque harbour and wildlife aplenty, it’s a fitting and relaxing end to an action-packed 48 hours in the region. l

“FUEL UP FOR A DAY OF ISLAND EXPLORING WITH BREAKFAST IN ONE OF THE NUMEROUS CAFES AND TEA ROOMS DOTTED AROUND TOWN”

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN


Dean Castle, Kilmarnock

ARTS & CULTURE

A REGION AT THE HEART OF ART! Immerse yourself in a region that’s crammed with art and culture

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN

46

kingfishervisitorguides.com


A

©ANTONIO G CUESTA/GURUXOX/ADOBE STOCK; VISITSCOTLAND/PAUL TOMKINS

yrshire and Arran certainly pack a punch when it comes to arts and culture. With ancient abbeys and castles, marvellous museums, dynamic theatres, and modern galleries, there’s something to attract history buffs, music fans, culture vultures and art lovers. AYRSHIRE You may not know much about Kelburn Castle’s rooms but you could be familiar with its quirky exterior. This was famously given a radical and very colourful graffiti makeover by a group of Brazilian artists in 2007. Kelburn Estate near Largs is also notable for its wealth of eclectic arts events, which draw tourists from far and wide. A family favourite is the Secret Forest, with its meandering pathways, houses built for giants and swamps for crocodiles. You may even get lucky and bump into the Gruffalo! Every year it is often transformed into different forms through an events programme that includes the Fairytale Forest and, for those brave enough, the Haunted Forest. Taking place at the end of July each year, the Kelburn Garden Party is a self-proclaimed “cultural safari for the mind, body soul” and undoubtedly one of Scotland’s best small festivals. With a wide range of musicians performing, the colourful event is suitable for all ages and not to be missed. Just 10 minutes over the water from Largs, the tiny island of Great Cumbrae has a wealth of cultural attractions for visitors to enjoy. Garrison House – once the residence of customs officers charged with preventing smuggling on the River Clyde – is now a major community hub for the island’s only town of Millport. As well as housing the GP surgery, council offices and a state-of-the-art library, it is also home to The Museum of the Cumbraes. This showcases the rich history of the islands, with artefacts on display from more than 4,000 years ago and right up to the present day. With smugglers, sailors and even scientists all playing an important role in island life throughout the ages, the museum is a worthy testament to the people who shaped the Cumbraes. The Palace Theatre, located in the town of Kilmarnock, is a 500-seat venue with a year-round programme of drama, music and comedy. Its cafe bar hosts monthly comedy slots that promote up-andcoming comedians. Next door in the Grand Hall is the best place in Ayrshire to enjoy live music.

kingfishervisitorguides.com

“THE PALACE THEATRE IS A 500-SEAT VENUE WITH A YEAR-ROUND PROGRAMME OF DRAMA, MUSIC AND COMEDY”

47

Also in Kilmarnock, at the heart of 200 acres of woodland, sits Dean Castle, which takes its name from the dean or wooded valley. The original keep dates from around 1350 and the Palace was added 110 years later. Today the castle is home to world-class collections of historic weapons, tapestries, armour and musical instruments. It’s currently undergoing restoration work, but when the castle reopens visitors will be able to enjoy free tours and even try on the ancient suits of armour. There is also a visitor centre, shop and a tea room. Craft Town Scotland in West Kilbride is an essential stop-off point for anyone intrigued by locally-produced art and design. Set within a former church, The Barony Centre, is made up of nine active studios, exhibitions, activities, an events space and a cafe. Visitors can gain a unique insight into the techniques and craftsmanship of the talented local designers, enjoy some fabulous exhibitions and even take part in creative activities. With plenty of independent craft shops p48

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN


The Museum of Ayrshire Country Life

national bard – is the perfect place to start. As well as the fascinating museum, the town acts as a living monument to the poet, and boasts Burns Cottage, Brig o’ Doon, Alloway Auld Kirk and a Poet’s Path. A truly immersive Burns experience, visitors can really explore the life and works of the bard. Throughout the year, there is also a full calendar of events taking place, including artisan food fayres, open-music sessions and ceilidhs. The Dick Institute is one of the most important museums and cultural spaces in the south west of Scotland. Located in Kilmarnock, the museum is Ayrshire’s largest and its reputation it is second to none. As well as several permanent displays, the museum often attracts internationally-renowned exhibitions, including Miffy, Quentin Blake and Wallace and Gromit, and works from some of Scotland’s most prolific contemporary artists. All this, plus archaeology, social history, natural history displays and East Ayrshire’s central library ensure a trip to The Dick Institute is always engrossing. Set within the magnificent grounds of Rozelle House in Ayr, the McLaurin Gallery homes one of the finest collections of 20th-century art in the country and often exhibits works from local, national and internationally-acclaimed artists. Actually comprised of four different galleries in what was originally the servants’ quarters at Rozelle House, the Maclaurin Gallery boasts a robust programme of exhibitions, events, talks and workshops that take place throughout the year too, so there is always a reason to return. This year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of James Henry Maclaurin, the Maclaurin Trust is presenting a special exhibition entitled The Making of a Gallery. BREAD Arts Laboratory in Ayr High Street, meanwhile, is an exciting and brand new arts space designed to be a welcoming cultural and social hub. Located in a massive three-story building and open to locals and visitors, it will host arts-centred activities, including art exhibitions and music, dance, theatre and comedy events. Profits from the sale of bread from the nearby Bakehouse will be reinvested into the development of the Laboratory.

dotted around the village of West Kilbride, it’s a good idea to bring some spending money to collect your very own art pieces. Based at Dalgarven Mill in Kilwinning, the Museum of Ayrshire Country Life and Costume offers visitors a detailed insight into the rural history of the region. Comprising a former grain mill, a comprehensive agricultural museum and a vast costume collection of more than 2,000 pieces, a day out at Dalgarven feels just like stepping back in time and experiencing a first-hand perspective of Ayrshire culture. History buffs and bookworms can also enjoy the outstanding archives. CULTURAL HUB The Harbour Arts Centre in Irvine is a vibrant cultural hub serving the North Ayrshire area and beyond. With two multi-purpose studio spaces, a gallery and a cafe bar, the centre is well-equipped to host its numerous events and activities that run throughout the year. Drama, theatre, comedy, music and art exhibitions are all on offer, and there are even classes and workshops available for eager beginners and budding thespians. Exploring the fascinating history and legacy of Robert Burns is a reason to visit Ayrshire in itself, and a trip to Alloway – the birthplace of Scotland’s

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN

“DRAMA, THEATRE, COMEDY, MUSIC AND ART EXHIBITIONS ARE ALL ON OFFER, AND THERE ARE EVEN CLASSES AND WORKSHOPS AVAILABLE”

48

ARRAN Despite its compact size, the island of Arran is a fulsome cornucopia of arts and culture, both ancient and modern. Located just north of Brodick, the Isle of Arran Heritage Museum is a must-see for visitors. The facility, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is a comprehensive guide to the social, archaeological and geological history of Arran, and features some wonderful artefacts and curiosities that showcase the lengthy and illustrious heritage of the island.

kingfishervisitorguides.com


ARTS & CULTURE

The Poet’s Path at the Burns Birthplace Museum, Alloway

©ELENA SCHWEITZER/ADOBE STOCK; VISITSCOTLAND/KENNY LAM/PAUL TOMKINS

Children can enjoy the many hands-on exhibits, such as spinning wool. Special events also take place throughout the summer season; these have included motorcycle displays, tractor shows and a Children’s Day, featuring face painting, a model railway, story telling, horse-shoe tossing and a chocolate fountain. ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES As is the case on much of the west coast of Scotland, Arran has an abundance of fascinating archaeological sites waiting to be explored. Some of the most significant are concentrated around the Blackwaterfoot area, and are easily accessible by car and on foot. Three miles north of the village lies the Bronze Age Machrie Moor Stone Circle and The Moss Farm Road Stone Circle. Another mile north of these leads to Auchagallon Cairn; a Bronze Age burial cairn surrounded by 14 domineering standing stones. South of Blackwaterfoot, visitors can view Kilpatrick Dun, Torr A’Chaisteal Iron Age Fort and the Neolithic Torrylin Cairn. The Arran Art Gallery in Whiting Bay is operated by successful experimental artist Nick Giles. As well as displaying a vast collection of his own works, the gallery exhibits the works of many other artists. Painting, sculpture, jewellery, glass and printmaking

kingfishervisitorguides.com

“DESPITE ITS COMPACT SIZE, THE ISLAND OF ARRAN IS A FULSOME CORNUCOPIA OF ARTS AND CULTURE, BOTH ANCIENT AND MODERN”

49

are just some of the media represented and, with exhibits constantly changing, the gallery continues to attract art lovers time and time again. Open every day, the gallery prides itself on stocking some of the best quality and affordable artworks in the country – so bring some of that holiday spending money. Another offering to satisfy the aesthetic hunger, is the Arran Art Trail and Open Studios. A year-round attraction, this allows visitors and locals the opportunity to visit local artists, designers and crafters in their own studio spaces. For 2019-2020, the trail boasts 15 venues, including painters to potters and jewellers to sculptors. One weekend a year the artists throw open their doors for an art extravaganza, which attracts visitors from as far afield as Germany and the USA. More than 40 participants create everything from painting to needlework and furniture to etching. Visitors lucky enough to be on the island at the beginning of September can enjoy the annual McLellan Art Festival, a certified island institution. Held in honour of writer and dramatist Robert McLellan, who spent much of his working life on the island, the Arran Theatre and Arts Trust established the mixed-media cultural arts festival. Focusing on poetry, film, music and drama, the festival also offers engaging workshops for adults and children. l

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN


NIGHTLIFE

WELCOME TO THE NIGHT! Ayrshire and Arran’s nightlife can whip up a storm when it wants to

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN

50

kingfishervisitorguides.com


B

©DYLAN DE JONGE/ELEVATE/UNSPLASH; ENDRILLE/ADOBE STOCK

oth Ayrshire and Arran have plenty to offer night owls. From cool clubs to country pubs, seasonal pantomimes to groundbreaking drama, and indie rock concerts to traditional ceildihs, there’s a nocturnal pursuit for everyone. There’s no better place to “chew the fat” and enjoy the local craic than in one of the traditional watering holes of Ayrshire. The Tam O’Shanter Inn in Ayr is famed for its warm hospitality and charming character. With a cosy open fire for chilly winter nights and a beer garden for warm summer days, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a libation and soak up the olde worlde atmosphere. Established in 1749, as the oldest public house in Ayr and one of the oldest in the entire region, it features a distinctive thatched roof and mural that has enticed many a tourist to venture inside. Irvine’s oldest public house The Ship Inn was licensed in 1754 and has been favoured as a top spot for an evening drink ever since. The charming interior is full of Ayrshire character and curiosities, the drinks selection is plentiful and the entire establishment is dog friendly – all good reasons why The Ship Inn was awarded Best Pub in North Ayrshire at the 2018 National Pub and Bar Awards. Staying with Irvine but fast-forwarding from 1754 to 2019 and we meet The Three Craws. This pub has been completely revitalised by its new owners, with live bands, karaoke, big screens for sports fans and a regular club night with a resident DJ. LIVE MUSIC Lovers of live music have no shortage of options in Ayrshire and Arran. In Ayr, The Wellington Bar hosts weekly folk sessions for those looking to hear a selection of traditional Scottish tunes. Cheeky Charlie’s in Troon is a bar that’s famed among locals for its live sessions with Ayrshire’s up-and-coming bands finding a venue here to showcase their talents. Sports fans are well catered for in Ayrshire’s bars and among the best venues is The Smiths Pub & Restaurant in Ayr, where the lively atmosphere is perfect for enjoying football, rugby and horse racing on the big screens, while receiving attentive service from the bar and restaurant staff. It is open until late every day with a quiz night on Wednesdays and karaoke on Fridays. Especially for those able to keep up the pace and enjoy the late nightlife, it has a 2am licence for Fridays and Saturdays. On Saturday nights there is a live DJ so don’t forget your dancing shoes and sexy moves. Fury’s nightclub in Ayr is open from Wednesday through to Sunday from 11pm until 2.30am and features DJs, live music and tribute acts. Its regular Friday Club is renowned as the busiest club night in the town, with a music offering that encompasses

kingfishervisitorguides.com

“THIS IS RENOWNED AS THE BUSIEST CLUB NIGHT IN THE TOWN, WITH A MUSIC OFFERING THAT ENCOMPASSES EVERYTHING FROM HOUSE AND HIP HOP TO DISCO AND ELECTRONIC”

51

everything from house and hip hop to disco and electronic. There’s free entry with a student card before midnight. If you’re more of a lounge bar lover, there are several options to suit an impeccable taste for the suave and stylish. The Waterfront in Ayr is ideally located overlooking the River Ayr. From the luxurious interior or its riverside terrace, you can enjoy a glass of Champagne, a freshly-concocted cocktail or a refreshing craft ale from one of Ayrshire’s own breweries. This popular venue also hosts monthly music gigs. Staying in Ayr, The Meridian Bier Cafe is a busy eatery by day and a bustling, vibrant bar by night. Good music and an extensive menu of world beers and craft ales make this a great place to let down your hair in the evening. Over in Prestwick, sister venue Caprice Bar & Restaurant is known for its outstanding menu of cocktails. Bright and airy, Caprice also benefits from a patio seating area – the perfect spot for enjoying a sunset espresso martini. If you’re looking for something a little more high octane, there are several nightclubs in Ayrshire p52

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN


studio spaces, a gallery and a cafe bar, the centre is certainly well equipped to host the numerous events and cultural activities that run throughout the year. Drama, theatre, comedy, music and art exhibitions are all on offer, and there are even classes and workshops available for eager participants wanting to express their creative side. The current programme features traditional and global music performances, photography exhibitions and book readings. Movie fans have plenty of options when it comes to enjoying popcorn and the latest blockbusters, with several cinemas operating in the region. As well as the Odeon in Ayr, the seaside town of Saltcoats is home to the Premier Cinema, located on the town’s main esplanade. Showing brand new movies at reasonable prices, it’s a great place for film buffs to spend an evening. If you’re after a more unique cinematic experience, then a night at Scotland’s mobile movie theatre is certainly not to be missed. The Screen Machine – a huge truck that transforms into an 80-seat cinema – regularly tours some of the most remote island and rural locations in Ayrshire, where accessing movies would normally involve lengthy travel. Showing just a handful of carefully-selected films over the course of a few days, The Screen Machine features the latest big releases but also occasional smaller, independent films. The truck parks up at some of the most beautiful spots in the country, making a trip to The Screen Machine unforgettable for more than the movies. Be sure to check the current touring schedule before visiting Ayrshire.

Scottish Dark Sky Observatory, Dalmellington

that will make you want to strut your stuff and move your feet to the beat. Pitchers Bar and Nightclub in Irvine is particularly popular, with themed nights at the club every weekend. Whether you like 80s anthems, indie rock or Ibiza-style foam parties, Pitchers has it all covered. Its bar is also open throughout the week. In Ayr, Madison’s is the place to be for those who love to dance the night away to old school club classics. It also offers sets from top current DJs. THEATRE AND CINEMA Fans of the theatre have several options. In Ayr, the Gaiety Theatre is a popular performing arts hub that attracts talent from far and wide. Drama, music, opera, comedy and dance are all featured on the billings, with shows taking place either in the main theatre or in the affiliated community centres located throughout the region. The programme is already jam-packed for the coming months, so you’re almost guaranteed to find dramatic moments that everyone can enjoy. Kilmarnock’s Palace Theatre is another fantastic entertainment option. Encompassing a 500-seat theatre, the Grand Hall and a cafe bar, the complex has played host to some big name acts over the years. Affiliated venues, such as Cumnock Town Hall, often host events that have been organised by The Palace Theatre. The Harbour Arts Centre is now an integral part of the community in Irvine. With two multi-purpose

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN

“MOVIE FANS HAVE PLENTY OF OPTIONS WHEN IT COMES TO ENJOYING POPCORN AND THE LATEST BLOCKBUSTERS, WITH SEVERAL CINEMAS OPERATING IN THE REGION”

52

MARVEL AT THE STARS For those who like their nightlife a little more low-key but equally heavenly, then the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory in the Ayrshire village of Dalmellington could be just the ticket. Renowned as one of the best places in Europe to marvel at the stars and planets and watch spectacular meteor showers under pitch-black skies, the observatory hosts frequent stargazing sessions, solar system sessions and special guest speaker events – stars who really know their stars. With optimum conditions, both the Ayrshire Coast and Arran are also well known as hot spots for catching a glimpse of nature’s best light show, the Aurora Borealis. Aurora forecasts, available via mobile phone apps, can alert you to the best times to catch a glimpse of this spectacular Northern Lights phenomenon. Being a small island doesn’t stop Arran from boasting its own unique opportunities for visitors to enjoy nightlife. The Kildonan Hotel features a modern bar, boasting a super selection of malts, local ales and an enviable wine list that would

kingfishervisitorguides.com


©GAURANG ALAT/UNSPLASH; GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO; ING IMAGE; VISITSCOTLAND/DAMIAN SHIELDS

NIGHTLIFE

shame many a mainland bar. With gorgeous views and plenty of charm, this 17th-century inn is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy a relaxing evening, especially if you’ve spent the day climbing Goatfell mountain or cycling around the island. Another popular venue when darkness falls over Brodick is the Ormidale Hotel. The self-proclaimed “locals’ choice”, the Ormidale is the ideal spot to enjoy some of the island’s famous hospitality, unwind with a drink and swap stories with locals of Arran past and present. There is entertainment offered on most nights, too, with quizzes, karaoke, darts and dominoes, bingo and folk music sessions all regularly on the go. CAMRA-recommended, it offers local beers and malt whiskies, including a range from the Arran Distillery. Also in Brodick, Crofters’ Music Bar and Bistro plays host to live music shows every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 8pm, and on Sundays from 1pm-4pm. The musical genres covered by guest artists encompass traditional Scottish and Irish folk music, country, Americana, jazz and blues, and there is always an extensive summer programme in place featuring the very best of local and national musicians. Last but certainly not least, the Pierhead Tavern is a family-friendly bar and restaurant by the sea in Lamlash which serves real ales, freshly-cooked food – all with fabulous views. In the evenings, however, it moves up a gear, hosting regular family-friendly quizzes and live music gigs. l

kingfishervisitorguides.com

QUALITY HOME COOKED LUNCH ANDHOME EVENING MEALS QUALITY COOKED GrillAND & seafood, vegan, LUNCH EVENING MEALS QUALITY HOME COOKED vegetarian gluten freeMEALS options Grill &&seafood, vegan, LUNCH AND EVENING Grill & & seafood, vegan, vegetarian gluten free options vegetarian & gluten free options

LICENSED BAR

LICENSED BAR Scottish Craft Beers & Spirits LICENSED BAR Scottish Craft Beers & Spirits Scottish Craft Beers & Spirits

REGULAR MUSIC REGULAR LIVE LIVE MUSIC REGULAR LIVE MUSIC DogFriendly Friendly Daytime Dog Daytime Dog Friendly Daytime

SHORE ROAD, BRODICK, ISLE OF ARRAN, KA27 8AJ

SHORE ROAD, BRODICK, ISLE ISLE OF KA27 8AJ 8AJ SHORE ROAD, BRODICK, OFARRAN, ARRAN, KA27 BOOKINGS: T: 01770 01770302579 302579 BOOKINGS: T: BOOKINGS: T: 01770 302579 E: E:bookings@croftersmusicbar.com bookings@croftersmusicbar.com E: bookings@croftersmusicbar.com W: W:www.croftersmusicbar.com www.croftersmusicbar.com W: www.croftersmusicbar.com

53

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN


10

REASONS TO LOVE THIS REGION!

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN

54

kingfishervisitorguides.com


10 REASONS

OPPOSITE PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Red deer are abundant on Arran; Greenan Castle, near Ayr; The pools at Glen Rosa with a view of Goat Fell, Arran; Girvan Golf Course

[01] LUSCIOUS LARDER

©ANTIKSU/GIEDRIIUS/ADOBE STOCK; ING IMAGE; VISITSCOTLAND/KENNY LAM/PAUL TOMKINS

There is no shortage of delectable local produce for foodies in Ayrshire and Arran. Famous Ayrshire tatties (potatoes), succulent beef, pork and lamb, Dunlop Cheese, sensational seafood, Arran Whisky, craft ales, artisan chocolate and charcuterie... the region is a powerhouse in the production of some of the finest cuisine and fresh ingredients in the country.

[02] ABUNDANCE OF WILDLIFE The island of Ailsa Craig off the Ayrshire coast is a birdwatchers’ dream and home to a colony of more than 40,000 gannets, as well as guillemots, razorbills and kittiwakes. Red deer are abundant on Arran and during mating season, the clash of the rut is mesmerizing. And, of course, viewed from the vantage point of a seemingly endless coastline, seals, whales, dolphins and basking sharks all make regular appearances.

[05] SUBLIME STARGAZING The Ayrshire village of Dalmellington is home to the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory. This is one of the best places in Europe to marvel at the stars and planets and watch spectacular meteor showers. With optimum conditions, both the Ayrshire Coast and Arran are known as hot spots for catching a glimpse of nature’s best light show, the Aurora Borealis, also known as The Northern Lights.

[03] HAUNTING HISTORY With romantic castles, stately homes, eldritch stone circles and even a cannibals’ cave, Ayrshire and Arran share a rich heritage that is steeped in legend and mythology. As the supposed birthplace of Robert the Bruce, Ayrshire has enjoyed an illustrious military past, even seeing off a Viking invasion. Arran boasts its own unique and fascinating history, with archaeological sites linked to the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, Vikings and Gaels.

[06] LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION This part of the west coast of Scotland is undeniably stunning but with such a close proximity to major cities, as well as some magical smaller islands, Ayrshire is also a hub for exploring some of Scotland’s top attractions. Want to drive from big city to remote coastline in under an hour? That’s not a problem in Ayrshire.

[04] NATURAL WONDERS With some of the most breathtaking natural scenery in Scotland, Ayrshire and Arran are always guaranteed to be scene-stealers. Imposing mountains, lush rolling hills, mysterious glens, endless sandy beaches, quaint villages and gorgeous sunsets make this region a paradise for landscape lovers.

kingfishervisitorguides.com

[07] ITS GREAT OUTDOORS Ayrshire and Arran have more than their fair share of adventure with many adrenalinepumping outdoor pursuits on offer. The list of recreational activities on offer is endless: cycling, kayaking, hiking, kitesurfing, swimming, sailing, geocaching, golfing, quad-biking, archery, horseriding, gorge walking... Ayrshire and Arran have something for everyone, no matter your age or fitness level.

55

“THE AYRSHIRE VILLAGE OF DALMELLINGTON IS HOME TO THE SCOTTISH DARK SKY OBSERVATORY. THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST PLACES IN EUROPE TO MARVEL AT THE STARS AND PLANETS AND WATCH SPECTACULAR METEOR SHOWERS”

[08] A JAM-PACKED CALENDAR Who needs the bustle of the city when Ayrshire and Arran boast such a vibrant and year-round social scene? From the galloping fun of the Ayr Races to the more sedate pace of book festivals, and from murder mystery weekends to major music events, the region offers visitors arts and culture highlights for every season. [09] FAMOUS FACES For such a small area, Ayrshire and Arran have some notable exports to be proud of. National Bard Robert Burns, Scotland’s King Robert the Bruce, Nobel Peace Prize Winner John Boyd Orr, medical pioneer Sir Alexander Fleming, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, golfer Sam Torrance and rockers Biffy Clyro are just some of the famous faces who began their lives in Ayrshire. [10] A WARMER WELCOME Due to its close proximity to the Gulf Stream, Ayrshire and Arran tend to enjoy a milder year-round climate than the rest of the country. The influence of the Gulf Stream also explains the presence of the seemingly incongruous sub-tropical palm trees in the region, a unique local flora that make many gardens feel extra special. l

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN


SPORT

OUR SPORTING LIFE! Whether you want to watch or take part, there’s always plenty on offer here

Ayrshire has firmly established itself as one of Scotland’s premier watersports destinations


The Old Course at Royal Troon Golf Course

©JAMES PINTAR/ADOBE STOCK; ROYAL TROON GOLF CLUB; VISITSCOTLAND/KENNY LAM

S

perfect place to explore by bicycle. A beautiful blend of coastline, countryside and rolling hills means choosing two wheels is always going to be rewarding. Rugged, mountainous and challenging, Arran has long been a favourite destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with just about every sporting pursuit available. One of most popular is hiking, with dozens of routes to ramble, ranging in length and duration. The island’s highest peak, Goatfell, is the jewel in the crown when it comes to hikes, attracting thousands of walkers, hikers and climbers annually. Taking anywhere from four to six hours to the summit, the 874-metre Corbett can be challenging, depending on the route taken, so planning is essential. For those whole prefer their hikes long distance, The Arran Coastal Way is a 109km route that circumnavigates the island, showcasing the best Arran has to offer. It can be completed in as little as week, depending on your pace and ability. As well as some leisurely cycle routes for all abilities, Arran is a mecca for adrenaline junkies who love the thrill of mountain biking. There are several off-road routes on the island that are suitable for even novices and a select few that will challenge even the most experienced, technical riders. Arran Bike Hire on Brodick have bikes to suit all of the island’s terrains – they even have electric bikes for a more leisurely ride – and the staff are happy to advise on the best routes. For those who like their outdoor pursuits to be on the unusual side, Arran Adventure based at Auchrannie offers activities such as archery and gorge walking – an exhilarating mix of climbing and swimming up-river, before slipping, sliding and splashing your way down again via waterfalls and natural rockpools. With so much on offer, a trip to Ayrshire and Arran is guaranteed to satisfy your sporting side. l

porting enthusiasts have no shortage of options when visiting Ayrshire and Arran. You can try your hand at everything from golf to hiking and sailing to cycling. Ayrshire is renowned for its world-class golf courses, including Trump Turnberry, The Royal Troon, Rowallan and Prestwick Golf Club. The historic Turnberry resort is home to several challenging courses and, as well as being the number one golfing destination in the UK, is frequently named as one of the best in the world. With stunning views of the coast, the castle and the famous lighthouse, even amateur putters will find it hard to resist. If golf is not your bag, the Galleon Centre in Kilmarnock offers a full games compendium. There’s swimming, ice skating, bowling, badminton, squash, tennis, trampolining, basketball, circuit training and, of course, football. For those keen to make the most of the unspoiled coastline, there are myriad opportunities to enjoy watersports in Ayrshire. From kayaking to kitesurfing and yachting to windsurfing, Ayrshire has firmly established itself as one of Scotland’s premier watersports destinations. The TRYkitesurfing school based at Barassie Beach in Troon, which is Scotland’s longest established training centre. Here students of all ages are taught the basics of kitesurfing in a safe and controlled environment. A short hop across the water from Largs, the tiny island of Great Cumbrae is home to Sportscotland’s National Centre Cumbrae, making it a haven for enthusiasts of all water-based activities. Kayaks are also available for rent on the island, allowing visitors to explore the coastline at a leisurely pace. You may even be lucky enough to spot some sunbathing seals and showboating seabirds. With several national and local cycle networks traversing the region, Ayrshire is the

kingfishervisitorguides.com

57

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN


Glasgow Prestwick Airport

Calmac ferry, Ardrossan

TRAVEL

GETTING HERE AND GETTING AROUND! Getting to and around Ayrshire and Arran couldn’t be easier

GETTING TO AYRSHIRE BY ROAD Given the close proximity of Ayrshire to Scotland’s major cities, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, and its reputation as a tourist hot spot, getting here is straightforward. For motorists the M77 motorway connects Ayrshire directly to Glasgow and beyond. BY AIR Prestwick International Airport is within easy reach of Ayrshire’s villages and towns and this makes the region a perfect destination for tourists from both home and abroad. As the only airport in Scotland with its own

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN

dedicated train station, Prestwick is also a travel hub, with frequent connections to Glasgow, Edinburgh and the local area. Travellers arriving at Prestwick Airport can also enjoy the added bonus of a 50 per cent fare reduction on train travel to and from anywhere in Scotland on presentation of a valid boarding pass. BY RAIL Ayrshire is served by an extensive rail network, with stations throughout the area, including popular destinations such as Largs, Ayr, Troon, Girvan, Kilmarnock and Ardrossan. Travel times from Glasgow come in at under an hour, allowing for quick and convenient travel from the city to the coast. You can find maps and

58

timetables at scotrail.co.uk and on the National Rail website nationalrail.co.uk. BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT There are frequent bus services operating throughout Ayrshire, making it easy to travel to towns and even small villages. This also means you can leave the driving up to a professional and simply sit back, relax and enjoy the view. For more information check out travelinescotland.com. BY BICYCLE Visitors who prefer travelling on two wheels can make the most of several national and local cycle routes that pass through and connect the region,

kingfishervisitorguides.com


including National Cycle Route number 7 and local route number 73. Bicycle hire is available at bikeandgo.co.uk. With stunning countryside, a panoramic coastline and unrivalled cultural and historical sites, exploring by bicycle is sure to be an unforgettable adventure.

GETTING TO ARRAN

GETTING AROUND AYRSHIRE

©VISITSCOTLAND/PAUL TOMKINS

BY ROAD An intricate network of roads serve all of Ayrshire’s towns, villages and tourist attractions. Even at the height of summer, most of these routes are not overly busy, making driving through the countryside and along the coast a pleasant experience. BY RAIL Many of Ayrshire’s top tourist destinations – such as Largs and Troon – are regularly served by trains. For detailed route maps and up-to-date timetables head to scotrail.co.uk or nationalrail.co.uk. BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT Buses interconnect almost all of Ayrshire’s

villages. There are frequent local bus services and the drivers will be happy to help with knowing precisely where to get on and off. For more information, you can also check out travelinescotland.co.uk.

BY FERRY Unless you have your own boat, the ferry is the only way to get to Arran. Thankfully, as it’s situated in the Firth of Clyde and nestled between the Kintyre peninsula and the Ayrshire coast, this is actually one of Scotland’s most accessible island getaways. From the village of Claonaig in Kintyre, visitors can enjoy the 30-minute CalMac ferry journey to Lochranza, while Brodick, Arran’s main town, is served by a 55-minute CalMac crossing from Ardrossan in Ayrshire. Trains to and from Glasgow Central train station are thoughtfully scheduled to coincide with ferry times from Ardrossan, making it even easier to explore this enchanting island without the need for a car. For more information check out calmac.co.uk.

GETTING AROUND ARRAN BY CAR A 56-mile coastal road circumnavigates the island, affording visitors the perfect opportunity for a road-trip. You can bring your own vehicle on the ferry or choose to rent a car on the island: Brodick (01770 302839) and Whiting Bay (01770 700345). BY BUS Buses operate frequently across the island, allowing you to take in the scenery totally stress-free. For timetables go to spt.co.uk/ timetable/arran. BY BICYCLE Adventurers can rejoice, as Arran is renowned as an excellent cycling destination, with a variety of on and off-road routes. A word of caution though: cycling on Arran can be challenging, with rugged and hilly terrain typical, although there are flatter routes in the north of the island towards Lochranza and electric bikes for hire. If you don’t bring your own bicycle, you can hire one from arranbikehire.com. l

by bus

“A PULL QUOTE PLEASE TO GO ALONG AND ACROSS AND THEN SOME MORE ALONG AND ACROSS AND DOWN TO ANOTHER DECK TO MAKE UP THREE XXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX EVENTUALLY”

£

@StagecoachWScot

kingfishervisitorguides.com

59

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN


Skipness Castle, Kintyre

FURTHER AFIELD

LET’S EXPLORE! With excellent road and rail connections, exploring further afield from Ayrshire and Arran is easy

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN

60

kingfishervisitorguides.com


©GRETNA GREEN FAMOUS BLACKSMITHS SHOP; VISITSCOTLAND/PAUL TOMKINS

W

ith excellent road and rail connections to the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh and its neighbouring regions, including Dumfries and Galloway and South Lanarkshire, exploring further afield in Ayrshire is easy. Forming part of the western Southern Uplands of Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway is picture postcard-perfect, with rolling hills, lush forests, charming market towns and glorious beaches – all easily reached by car or train. As well as three designated National Scenic Areas, the region is home to 300 square miles of tranquil, unspoiled landscape in the form of Galloway Forest Park. With many recreational activities on offer, and housing the UK’s first Dark Sky Park, visitors are spoiled for choice. Adrenaline-junkies will no doubt be familiar with the region, which has an outstanding reputation for adventure and outdoor sports. Five of the famous “7 Stanes” mountain biking trails are located in Dumfries and Galloway, while hikers can enjoy extensive rambling opportunities in the Galloway Hills, Moffat Hills, Lowther Hills and Southern Upland Way, among others. When it comes to the local towns, they don’t get more charming than the likes of Kirkcudbright, Gatehouse of Fleet and Gretna. Arts and culture also thrive in the region. Wigtown – Scotland’s designated literary epicentre – is internationally renowned for its annual book festival. Gretna, of course, is home of the famous lovers’ elopement spot Gretna Green. Agriculturally rich, Dumfries and Galloway is also a major producer of some delectable foods. In fact, such is the local pride in the produce they even have their own dedicated Food Trail. Meanwhile, just a 30-minute ferry ride across the water from Arran, the Kintyre Pensinsula in Argyll is a relatively undiscovered part of Scotland that will always leave visitors hungry for more. From the tiny port of Claonaig, visitors can explore the surrounding villages of Skipness, with its stunning ruined castle, pet deer and famous Seafood Cabin. Nearby Tarbert, too, is notable for its community spirit and rich fishing heritage. Heading south down a coastal route made famous

kingfishervisitorguides.com

Gretna Green Famous Blacksmiths Shop, Dumfries and Galloway

“ENDLESS STRETCHES OF RUGGED, WILD COAST, PEPPERED WITH GLORIOUS WHITE SANDY BEACHES THAT LOOK OVER TO THE SOUTHERN HEBRIDES WILL TRANSPORT YOU TO A WORLD MORE REMINISCENT OF THE CARIBBEAN”

61

in the Beatles’ song The Long And Winding Road, finally leads to the lighthouse at the Mull of Kintyre, where Paul McCartney’s mist really does roll in from the sea. Endless stretches of rugged, wild coast, peppered with glorious white sandy beaches that look over to the Southern Hebrides will transport you to a world more reminiscent of the Caribbean, and the warmer weather and west coast welcome will make the trip all the more worthwhile. The Kintyre Peninsula is also the gateway to the Southern Hebrides, with Gigha, Islay and Jura all accessible from the various small ferry ports in the region. At the southern tip of Kintyre lies the main settlement of Campbeltown. Culturally rich, it was also once home to more than 30 whisky distilleries and was the self-proclaimed whisky capital of the world. Today, three remain – Springbank, Glengyle and Glen Scotia – producing world-class malts that attract aficionados from around the globe. The Argyllshire area is also home to a vast wealth of wildlife, with seals, whales, dolphins and basking sharks all making appearances in the local waters, and golden eagles can be easily spotted above its highest peaks. Unspoiled, peaceful and just a short hop from Arran, Argyll is certainly worth going further afield for. l

WELCOME TO AYRSHIRE & ARRAN


THE HOME OF COUNTRY CLOTHING SCOTLAND’S MOST PRESTIGIOUS INDEPENDENT STORE

The House of Bruar is one of the leading designers of country clothing in Great Britain, creating a premium range of contemporary country classics in quality materials, with our Call of the Wild collection bringing you strikingly modern designs that set new standards of style. Our Cashmere and Knitwear Hall - the largest in the UK - is a treasure trove of stunning natural fibre garments in a spectacular range of colours. Alongside our own original creations you’ll also find a host of leading brands throughout our Ladieswear Department, including Adini, Gardeur, Masai and Barbour - of which we have the largest selection in Britain - while our Shoe and Handbag Department showcases Dubarry, Brics, Gianni Conti and Gabor. Men are equally well catered for in our 20,000 square foot Menswear Hall, with brands including Barbour, Gant, Levi’s and RM Williams, all of which are perfectly complemented by our own exclusive British tweeds, shirts, shoes and more to create the complete country wardrobe.

Innovative ideas for home and garden reside in the Country Living Department, and gifts galore can be found in our Present Shop, the highlights of which feature in our annual Handmade Gift Catalogue. We can even help you set up an exclusive wedding list for your special day. New to the store this year is The Jewel in the Crown, our dazzling jewellery shop filled with a resplendent collection of artful creations in gold, silver and a host of other materials. The best of Scotland’s natural larder is always on the menu in our Food Hall, Delicatessen and Restaurant, while our award-winning Butchery features quality cuts from local providers. Our new Bakery provides tempting treats with everything from freshly made sugar ring donuts to Mackie’s Scottish ice cream, while the unique Fish & Chip Shop also specialises in fresh lobster - the ultimate luxury comfort food! No trip to Scotland is complete without a visit to The House of Bruar, located just off the A9 ten miles north of Pitlochry. Shown here is a taste of our new Autumn/Winter 2019-20 range. To order a copy of the latest mail order catalogue please call us or visit our website.

The Fishing Tackle Shop offers a haven for the keen angler, while just next door you can browse contemporary rural art from some of Britain’s leading artists in our Gallery.

The House of Bruar by Blair Atholl, Perthshire, PH18 5TW Telephone: 01796 483 236 Email: office@houseofbruar.com

www.houseofbruar.com


Profile for Kingfisher Visitor Guides

Welcome to Ayrshire & Arran  

Unique, beautifully designed, high-quality visitor guide, which is available in leading hotel bedrooms. For those enjoying a break, or stayi...

Welcome to Ayrshire & Arran  

Unique, beautifully designed, high-quality visitor guide, which is available in leading hotel bedrooms. For those enjoying a break, or stayi...

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded