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Located on the west coast of Scotland, Irvine started life as an ancient medieval settlement, later becoming the haunt of famous Scottish poet Robert Burns, after whom two streets in the town are christened. The Irvine Burns Club was founded in 1826 by Burns and his close friends, and still occupies Wellwood House today, where you can view a collection of Burns artefacts including rare editions of his poetry and original manuscripts.
A quintessential coastal town, Irvine is home to an impressive harbour which was once one of the most important ports in 16th century Scotland, as well as the ruins of Seagate Castle, which overlooks the oldest street in Irvine. With the keys to your own hire car, you can also explore beyond Irvine to the spectacular natural landscapes that surround the town, such as the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park just 50 minutes’ drive away.
Glasgow Prestwick Aiport is the closest airport to Irvine, with just a 14-minute drive down the A78 motorway to bring you to the centre of town. Alternatively, Glasgow Airport is 40 minutes in the car and Edinburgh a little further at an hour and a half’s drive.
A hire car is the easiest way to explore Irvine and the surrounding area, and driving in the rural areas of Scotland can be a hugely enjoyable experience, as the country boasts some of the most spectacular unspoilt nature in Britain. Kilmarnock is just 20 minutes’ drive away, while the seaside town of Ayr is also just 25 minutes away, providing a chance to drive alongside the dramatic scenery of the Scottish coast, with views out along the Firth of Clyde.
Choose from a wide selection of hire car providers in Irvine to suit every budget and requirement, from Keddy and Easirent to Greenmotion and Alamo.
Learn all about Irvine’s links to its seafaring heritage at the Scottish Maritime Museum, which holds a precious collection of historic ships, artefacts and personal items relating to the history of the town and its connection to the sea. Irvine also has its own thriving Harbour Arts Centre, with regular theatre, comedy and music performances throughout the year. Those in search of a slice of the natural beauty Scotland is so famous for should head to Irvine beach, which is highly enjoyable on a sunny day when blue skies can stretch for miles. Eglington Country Park is also just a 10-minute drive from Irvine, providing picturesque walks through tree-lined pathways and manicured gardens.
Further afield, the thriving cultural hubs of Glasgow (40 minutes’ drive) and the capital Edinburgh (an hour and 45 minutes) are also within easy reach with a hire car. Edinburgh is particularly worth visiting during the world-famous arts festival, which runs throughout August each year.
Speed limits will be signposted, but if not, national limits apply of a maximum of 70mph on motorways and 30mph in built-up areas. There are no toll roads or bridges in Scotland, but expect some single lane rural roads. However, there should be plenty of passing places where traffic from opposite directions can pass safely.
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