The Attractions of South West Scotland
For Your Interest and Enjoyment

Return to : Dalbeattie Domain

[Introduction] [South Ayrshire] [Mull of Galloway] [Machars]
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[Dumfries & Galloway Golf Links] [Nature Reserves in Dumfries & Galloway]

South Ayrshire :

This area is an attractive mixture of lowlands and hills, with the busy town of Ayr beside Prestwick Airport. Inland and to the south there are many pleasant attractions. A large number of Burns-related attractions are in this area, whilst its golf courses at Troon, Turnberry and Ayr, are matched only by St. Andrews. For those who like country walks, the Carrick Hills and the Galloway Forest Park offer peace from the bustle of life.

Quality Farm Holidays can offer Bed and Breakfast or Self-Catering at the following locations in or near South Ayrshire :-
Blair Farm, Barrhill, - Bed and Breakfast.
Challoch Farm, Newton Stewart, - Bed and Breakfast.
Glengennet Farm, Barr, - Bed and Breakfast and Self-Catering.
Laggan Farm, Ballantrae, - Bed and Breakfast.
Laggan Stables, Ballantrae, - Self-Catering.

Burns Attractions :

Burns National Heritage Park : The premier poet of Scotland lived in this area for much of his life. The Heritage Park comprises four sites within half a mile of one another, on the south side of Ayr :-

Burns Cottage & Museum : Robert Burns, the poet, was born here on on 25th January 1759, in a thatched cottage built by his father. This was his home until 1766. The cottage has audiovisual displays and an adjacent cottage is a museum of Burnsiana and a tearoom. Open summer, daily, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., reduced hours in winter.
Telephone : 01292-441215. Fax and Website : See Tam O' Shanter Experience.
N.B. This is a Scottish Tourist Board 'Highly Commended' attraction.

Tam O'Shanter Experience : This impressive presentation brings to life Burns's most famous work. Presented in a three-screen theatre set with modern multi-media techniques to show visitors 18th-century Ayr. There is also a 12-minute 'Discover Burns' audiovisual presentation. 120-seat restaurant and gift shop. Open daily, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Telephone : 01292-443700. Fax : 01292-441750.
Website : http://www.robertburns.org/ E-mail : Not yet available.
N.B. This is a Scottish Tourist Board 'Highly Commended' attraction.

Auld Kirk of Alloway : The setting for the gathering of the coven interrupted by the drunken Tam O'Shanter. This is ironic, as Burns's father was actually buried here.
All communications through Tam O'Shanter Experience.

Brig O'Doon : Spans the River Doon. This single arch bridge is the setting for the climax to Burns's poem. Tam was saved by his horse, Maggie, at the expense of her tail, torn out by the young witch Nannie.
All communications through Tam O'Shanter Experience.

Burns Monument & Gardens : 1823 Grecian monument dedicated to the poet, set in attractive gardens beside the River Ayr. Open April to October.
All communications through Tam O'Shanter Experience.

Bachelors' Club, Tarbolton : Formed in 1780 by Robert Burns and six others as a literary and debating society. Building used for the meeting now a museum with period furnishings. National Trust for Scotland property. Open 1st May - 30th November 1.30 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. and same hours during weekends in October.
N.B. This is a Scottish Tourist Board 'Commended' attraction.
Telephone : 01292-541940.

Burns House Museum, Mauchline : Burns took a room on the upper floor for Jean Armour in 1788. Room kept intact and furnished in the style of the time.
Telephone : 01290-550045.

Souter Johnnie's Cottage, Kirkoswald : Thatched cottage home of village cobbler (souter) John Davidson at the end of the 18th century. He was later immortalised in Burns's poem 'Tam O'Shanter'. Display of Burnsiana and contemporary cobblers' tools. Run by National Trust for Scotland. Open 1st May to 30th September, 1.30 p.m. to 5.30 p.m., weekends in October 1.30 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.
Telephone : 01655-760603/760274.
N.B. This is a Scottish Tourist Board 'Commended' attraction.

National Burns Memorial Tower, Mauchline : Opened 1896, refurbished with Tourist Information Centre on ground floor. Interpretation centre on first and second floors on Burns's life in Mauchline, and industry in Cumnock and Doon Valley. Open all year, Monday - Saturday 9.15 - 5 p.m.
Telephone : 01290-551916.


Museums and Monuments :

Doon Valley Museum, Dalmellington : Reconstruction of weaver's room, audiovisual presentation and and exhibition telling the story of the Dalmellington Iron Company. Open daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Telephone : 01292-550633.

Scottish Industrial Railway Centre, Dalmellington : Large collection of steam engines and rolling stock. Open on steam days or by appointment. One can ride in a Brake Van behind the steam engine on two miles of track and learn about all aspects of railway life.
Telephone : 01292-531144 (daytime) or 01292-313579 (evenings/weekends) for details of steam days.

Dunaskin Heritage Centre, Dalmellington : National Open Air Museum being developed on the site of the former Dalmellington Iron Company works.
Telephone : 01292-531144. Fax : 01292-532314. Website : http://home.btconnect.com/Dunaskin/
E-mail : dunaskin@btconnect.com

Rozelle House, Alloway : 18th century mansion house. Houses the art and museum collections of South Ayrshire Council. Fine art exhibitions in house and McLauren galleries in stable block. Temporary exhibitions change regularly. Workshops and craft shop. Coffee shop, toilets, onsite parking. Disabled access only to McLauren and coffee shop. Open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday (April-October) 2 p.m to 5 p.m.
Telephone : 01292-445447. Fax : 01292-442065.

Culzean Castle & Country Park, by Maybole : The National Trust for Scotland's most impressive property, is an excellent cliff-top country house with a very fine garden and country park. The castle was extensively rebuilt by Robert Adam in 1777. Eisenhower display on this General's part in World War ii (1939-1945) and afterwards. Country Park amongst the most beautiful in Britain. Reception and Interpretation Centre in converted stables, deer park, swan pond, walled garden, aviary, ranger naturalist service with guided walks, restaurant and tearoom. Open all year. Telephone : 01655-760274/760269. Fax : 01655-760615.
Website : http://www.thenationaltrustforscotland.org.uk/.
N.B. This is a Scottish Tourist Board 'Commended' attraction.

Sorn Castle, Sorn : 14th century castle in riverside setting. James VI (and I) stayed here in 1598. Enlarged in 18th and 19th centuries. Castle open 20th July - 17th August, 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. Gardens open 1st April - 30th October.
Telephone : Cluttons : 01505-612124.

District Heritage Centre and Baird Institute, Cumnock : Museum has Keir Hardie room and other exhibitions changed every two months. District Heritage Centre access to local maps, books, historical archives. Open all year, weekdays except Wednesday, 10 a.m - 1 p.m., 1.30 p.m. - 4.30 p.m. Saturdays 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Telephone : 01290-421701.

Crossraguel Abbey, Maybole : Built in 1244, one of the few Cluniac abbeys in Scotland. Extensive remains of high archaeological distinction. Open daily 9.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. with weekend hours only between October and April.
Telephone : 01655-883113. Fax : As phone.
N.B. This is a Scottish Tourist Board 'Commended' attraction.

Maybole Collegiate Church : In Maybole on A77. Chapel established by the Kennedys of Dunure in 1371 to say masses for the family dead, college of canons started twelve years later. External view only.
Telephone : Crossraguel Abbey for information.

Doon Castle : Free access to castle relocated from an island in the 1930s after Loch Doon reservoir created. Eleven-sided masonry curtain wall, masonry dating from 1300.
Telephone : Crossraguel Abbey for information.

Blairquhan Castle, Straiton : Private mansion house designed by William Burn. Open 14 July-11 August daily, between 1.30 p.m. and 6 p.m., except Mondays.
Telephone : 01655-770239.

McKechnie Institute, Girvan : Local Museum and Community Arts Centre. All year round exhibition programme including local artists, local history and Ailsa Craig. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m to 4 p.m., Monday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (July and August)
Telephone : 01465-713643.


Theme Parks, Open Farms and Gardens :

Wonderwest World, Ayr : The largest theme park in Scotland with a varied selection of entertainments and sports facilities. Group rates. Open daily, April to October.
Telephone : 01292-265141. Fax : 01292-445206.

Heads of Ayr Open Farm Park, Ayr : Located beside Wonderwest World. The Farm Park has sledges and pony rides, an aerial runway, indoor playbarn and cafe. There is a straw playshed and hundreds of interesting animals such as Johnny the Llama. Come and try our quadbikes for an unusual holiday experience.
Telephone : 01292-441210. Fax : As phone.
Website : Being obtained. E-mail : edna@hoafp.demon.com.uk
N.B. This is a Scottish Tourist Board 'Commended' attraction.

Doon Valley Rare Breeds Centre, Skares : Over 60 different breeds of waterfowl, poultry and other animals. Tearoom and car park. Open 1st March - 30th November 10 a.m - 6 p.m. daily, December to February by appointment.
Telephone : 01290-421553.

Barwinnock Herbs : A garden and nursery at Barrhill. This offers a range of herbs and an interesting exhibition of rural life. Open from the start of April to the end of October.
Telephone : 01465-821338. Fax : As phone.


Country Walks and Long Distance Paths :

Southern Uplands Way : This impressive long-distance path runs all the way from the Irish Sea at Portpatrick's harbour across the Scottish Borders to Cockburnspath on the North Sea. Quality Farm Holidays can offer lodgings for the dedicated walker at Stranraer, Glenluce, Bargrennan, Barrhill and St. John's Town of Dalry. You may plan a walking holiday around these stopovers with confidence.

Barr and Straiton Areas : More details from QFH when visiting this area :-

The Devil's Trail - 4 miles/6.5 km. : The first part of the walk follows the Water of Gregg for 2 km. before branching off and climbing steadily through the woods along a grass path. Near the highest point there are beautiful views across the Stinchar Valley.
Kirstie's Trail - 4.5 miles/7 km. : The trail follows the Water of Gregg up the valley to the Howe of Laggan, passing through mature woodland as far as Kirstie's Cairn.
Dinmurchie Trail - 3.25 miles/5 km. : This is a very suitable walk for those appreciating a mixture of forest and open hill land.
Monument Walk - 1.25 miles/1.75 km. : This walk can be a strenuous climb, but the view from the top is worth the effort.
Bennan Walk - 3.25 miles/5.25 km. : This walk passes through Bennan Wood following the Water of Girvan before crossing the river just past Craigfad. Care should be taken when walking along the main road to Straiton.
Lady Hunter Blair's Walk - 2.25 miles/3.5 Km. : This Glen has points of interest at all times of year, whether visited for exercise or for quiet reflection. In general, a very pleasant walk.
Church Walk - 1.25 miles/1.75 km. : For those wishing for a short but rewarding excursion in this area.
Hill Wood Walk - 5.25 miles/8.5 km. : As height is gained, superb views open up of the surrounding hills and upper reaches of the Girvan valley.


Golf Courses : Nine excellent courses in South Ayrshire. All are worth a visit. :-

Dalmilling, Westwood Avenue, Ayr KA8 0QU. : 5,724 yard 18-hole easy walking meadowland course. Par 69. SSS 68.
Telephone : 01292-263893.

Seafield, Doonfoot Road, Ayr, KA7 4DU. : 5,498 yard 18-hole Pay and Play course of 10 parkland and 8 links courses. Clubhouse shared with Belleisle. Par 68. SSS 67.
Telephone : 01292-441258/441314. Fax : 01292-442632.

Belleisle, Doonfoot Road, Ayr, KA7 4DU. : 6,477 yard 18-hole parkland course. Pay to Play. One of the best public layouts in Scotland. Par 71. SSS 72.
Telephone : 01292-441258. Fax : 01292-442632.

New Cumnock, Lochill, New Cumnock KA18 4BQ. : 5,176 yard 9-hole parkland course overlooking Loch. Par 68. SSS 65.
Telephone : 01290-423659.

Doon Valley Golf Course, Hillside, Patna, KA6 7JT. : 5,654 yard 9-hole Pay & Play hillside moorland course. Par 68. SSS 68.
Telephone : 01292-531607.

Maybole Golf Course, Memorial Park, Maybole, KA19 : 5,270 yard 9-hole course set in the Carrick Hills. Pay & Play parkland course. Par 66. SSS 65.
Telephone : 01655-889770.

Turnberry Hotel and Golf Course, Turnberry, Ayrshire KA26 9LT. : Two world-famous courses with a world-class hotel beside them. Has hosted Open Championships. One of the top fifty courses in the world. Golf museum.
Ailsa : 6,976 yard 18-hole links course. Par 70. SSS 72.
Arran : 6,014 yard 18-hole links course. Par 68. SSS 69.
Telephone : 01655-331000. Fax : 01655-331706. Website : http://www.turnberry.com/
E-mail : turnberry@westin.com

Brunston Castle, Dailly, Girvan, KA26 9RH. : 6,792 yard 18-hole sheltered inland parkland course, transected by River Girvan. Par 72. SSS 73.
Telephone : 01465-811471. Fax : 01465-811545.

Girvan Golf Course, Golf Course Road, Girvan KA26 9HW. : 5,095 yard 18-hole Play & Pay seaside course with 8 Links and 10 parkland holes. Par 64. SSS 64.
Telephone : 01465-714346/714272. Fax : 01465-714346.

N.B. : The famous courses at Prestwick, Troon and Irvine, are only a few miles north of Ayr. In all there are 44 courses in Ayrshire and Arran.

A further 31 Golf Courses are available in Dumfries & Galloway Golf Links index


Craft Centres :

The Pottery, Pinmore, Girvan : Craft shop, studio and workshop. Tearoom and parking. One-day leisure courses in drawing, painting, pottery and other crafts. Open April to September 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Telephone : 01465-841662/712897.

Information courtesy of South Ayrshire Council and the individual attractions operators.


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All text and images © 1999 Richard Edkins of Dalbeattie Internet.
Attractions of South West Scotland website started 17th January 1998.
Last updated 8th May 1999.