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Pocket Guide: Ayrshire

Scotland’s south-west coast is home to the dramatic landscapes and intriguing history of Ayrshire and Arran. These characteristics make it a favourite spot for playing golf, enjoying beach days and exploring historical trails. It is also the birthplace of two famous Scottish sons, poet Robert Burns and warrior Robert the Bruce. The Isle of Arran sits nearby in the Firth of Clyde, offering adventurous activities like horse riding and sailing.

A beautiful part of Scotland throughout all seasons of the year, use the Expedia search tool to find the perfect hotel accommodation during your stay in Ayrshire and Arran.

Explore the castles of Ayrshire and Arran

Castles reign the lands of Ayrshire and at least one should be included on any itinerary. Brodick Castle is set against the Goat Fell Mountain backdrop in Arran - easily accessible from the mainland by ferry - and there are tales of supernatural goings-on here. Dean Castle in East Ayrshire houses 14th century weapons, armour and musical instruments and you can enjoy refreshments in its quaint tearooms. Kelburn Castle & Estate is a truly unique 13th century building in Largs that received a funky makeover by contemporary Brazilian artists. Guests can also explore its huge 3,500 acres of gardens and woodland.

Nature trails in Ayrshire

Those hungry for adventure will revel in Ayrshire’s offerings of forests, woodlands, parks and 80 miles of coastline. Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park in the Renfrewshire hills boasts the heather covered rolls of Misty Law and Hill of the Stake - it is also the biggest regional park in Scotland! Galloway Forest Park is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve where intrepid explorers can spot rare golden eagles, red deer and wild goats. Ayr Beach is an award winning spot that has a sandy seafront and is surrounded by grass plains perfect for picnics. Visitors can also make like locals by playing a spot of mini golf, taking a boat trip or going fishing.

Try the local food & malts

The weekly Ayrshire Farmers’ Market has been held in Ayr, Kilmarnock and Kilwinning for over ten years. Local goods on sale include Ayrshire bacon, fresh lobsters and delicious cheeses. It’s also a great chance to talk to the stall holders and farmers about Scottish recipes. The impressive dining scene makes use of these ingredients, from the fish and chip shops to the upmarket oyster bars that both line the sea front.

Whisky is Scotland’s national drink and the AD Rattray’s Whiskey Experience in Kirkoswald is the right place to prove this. It treats guests to a tour of the making process in The Cask Room and - more importantly - some samples in The Tasting Room.

Lean about Scotland's National Bard Robert Burns

Fans of Scotland’s national bard might want to plan a trip to coincide with Burns an’ a’ that! Festival during May. The event features live music, Burns performances and food stalls. Otherwise, the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum takes a fascinating look at the poet’s life and is open throughout the year.

Find your way to Ayrshire and book a stay in one of its many hotels so you can uncover this stunning part of Scotland.