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Visitor Attractions in Ayrshire

There's no limit to the amount of things to see and do in Ayrshire, but here's a few of our favourites (approximate driving distances from the cottage are shown in brackets for your reference).

Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

(21 miles) Murdoch's Lone, Alloway, Ayr, KA7 4PQ (0844 493 2601)

Voted #3 of things to do in Ayr on TripAdvisor. Robert Burns Birthplace Museum offers a truly unique encounter with Scotland’s favourite son. Set among 10 acres of the poet’s cherished Alloway countryside, the museum comprises the famous Burns Cottage where the poet was born, the historic landmarks where he set his greatest work, the elegant monument and gardens created in his honour and a modern museum housing the world’s most important collection of his life and works. Visit www.burnsmuseum.org.uk

Burns Heritage Trail

You can take to the road on a circular driving route through South West Scotland on a journey through Burns’ life, taking in his birthplace in Alloway to his grave in Dumfries. The complete route is around 190miles and along it you'll find visitor centres, museums and statues commemorating his work and the man himself. Many of his homes and the inns he frequented have been maintained in their original state, allowing you to transport yourself back through the centuries to view the poet's desk, as though he'd just left the room, or visit the farm where he ploughed the land, giving you an unrivalled insight into his life.

Souter Johnnies Cottage

(30 miles) Main Road, Kirkoswald, KA19 8HY (01655 760603)

In 1789 Robert Burns was asked to produce a witch tale to accompany a picture of Auld Kirk Alloway in the book Antiquities of Scotland. His response was a poem regarded by many as his masterpiece, Tam o' Shanter. The story was based on an old legend about two Ayrshire farmers who spent too long drinking and on their way home saw witches dancing with the devil in the ruined Kirk at Alloway. This fascinating thatched cottage was once the home of John Davidson, the original Souter Johnnie in the now famous poem and contains period furniture, Burns relics and a reconstructed souter’s workshop complete with original tools. The beautiful garden is also home to life-size statues of Tam o' Shanter, Souter Johnnie, the Innkeeper and the Innkeeper's Wife from the poem, which were carved in sandstone in the 1830s by the sculptor James Thom. Visit www.nts.org.uk/Property/Souter-Johnnies-Cottage

In the village of Kirkoswald you’ll get a warm and friendly welcome when dining or drinking at Souter's Inn (built on the site of the old school house where Robert Burns studied in 1775). There’s also an in-shop patisserie with heavenly handmade chocolates, a variety of homemade cakes, over twenty flavours of artisan ice cream and exquisite pastries – all made on the premises and available to take away. Visit www.soutersinn.com

A.D.Rattray's Whisky Experience and Whisky Shop

(30 miles) 32 Main Road, Kirkoswald, KA19 8HY (01655 760 308)

Stop by and learn how whisky is made and how, over time, each cask matures and develops its individual charm and unique personality. You can explore The Cask Room where you will see an example of a traditional ‘under bond’ whisky warehouse, view the working Sample Room and make use of our Tasting Room. The Shop offers a diverse range of whiskies for all tastes and budgets; from known brands to lesser-known gems of individual cask bottlings and old and very rare selections. An interesting and engaging 4 star rated attraction for novice whisky drinkers and connoisseurs alike. Organised tastings by appointment or drop in sessions are available, check the website for full details www.adrattray.com

For further information on Scotland’s Malt Whisky Trail visit www.maltwhiskytrail.com

Culzean Castle and Country Park

(31 miles) Maybole, KA19 8LE (01655 884455)

Voted #1 of things to do in Ayr on TripAdvisor. Culzean Castle is one of Scotland’s most popular visitor attractions due to its dramatic clifftop setting, Robert Adam architecture, fascinating history and beautiful surroundings. The 18th century Castle is surrounded by Culzean Country Park, an extensive estate encompassing lush woodland, landscaped gardens and rugged coastline and is great for a family day out.

You can explore the country park alone and the 3 miles of shoreline (including sandy beaches, caves and rockpools), but we suggest you venture inside the castle to tour all of its rooms, which are packed to the turrets with antique furniture and furnishings, artworks, porcelain and other fascinating period objects. There are shops, cafes and restaurants on-site for refreshments and snacks. Plus, just opened in July 2015 – the Adventure Cove play park, perfect to keep the kids entertained! Visit www.nts.org.uk/Property/Culzean-Castle-and-Country-Park

Dumfries House

(13 miles) Cumnock, KA18 2NJ (01290 425 959)

Dumfries House is one of Britain's most beautiful stately homes and combines the neoclassical architecture of Robert Adam with the furniture of Thomas Chippendale and leading 18th-Century Scottish cabinet makers. Visitors can explore this stunning 2,000 acre estate 365 days a year, with free entry and parking. Woodland walks, a walled garden, restaurant, café and adventure playground mean there really is something for everyone at this stunning attraction. Visit www.dumfries-house.org.uk

Heads of Ayr Farm Park

(24 miles) Alloway by Ayr, KA7 4LD (01292 441 210)

Voted #2 of things to do in Ayr on TripAdvisor. The Park is hugely popular for a family day out with loads of exciting activities – bumper boats, electric tractors and diggers, an assault course, playpark, giant sand pit, trampolines, ringo sledging, a giant aerial runway and jumping pillows. There’s quad biking, an undercover Play N’ Wild adventure barn (three giant drop slides and a two storey soft play area suitable for all ages), coffee bar and restaurant. Children can see lots of animals large and small – from rabbits, guinea pigs and birds to llamas, ponies, donkeys, goats and even a camel! The Park is also home to various breeds of monkeys, lemurs and meerkats! Visit www.headsofayrfarmpark.co.uk

Whitelee Windfarm

(15 miles) Moor Road, Eaglesham, G76 0QQ (0141 614 0851)

Whitelee is the UK's largest onshore windfarm, located on Eaglesham Moor just 20 minutes by car from Galston and is a great destination for a day out with the whole family. Its 215 turbines generate up to 539 megawatts of electricity, enough to power just under 300,000 homes. There’s more than 130km (80miles) of trails to explore, with free parking and free entry to the onsite Visitor Centre (rated 4 stars by the Scottish Tourist Board). Whitelee welcomes families with children, cyclists, walkers, horse riders and dog walkers. Visit www.whiteleewindfarm.com  

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Ayrshire Holiday Cottages,
Threepwood Farm, Sorn Road,
Galston, Ayrshire KA4 8ND.