Whilst the region of Ayrshire, located in the south west of Scotland, is rightly proud of its reputation as a great golfing destination, there are many attractions to keep everyone busy when you are not challenging yourself on one of the area’s numerous links and inland courses.
Starting your journey in Scotland’s largest city Glasgow and travelling past the towns of Ayr, Prestwick and Troon towards the world renowned Turnberry resort and its Open Championship Ailsa Course you will pass Scottish National Trust’s flagship property and one of the country’s most impressive stately homes Culzean Castle. On the upper floors of the main castle building there is a small country house hotel called The Eisenhower; named after its former regular resident.This exclusive hideaway was gifted to the famous war time General as a holiday home from 1945 until his death in 1969. The dramatic cliff top setting affords superb panoramic views along the coast and across the sea to the mountains of the island of Arran. To the south of Arran lies Ailsa Craig, an island of 99 hectares in the outer Firth of Clyde. Formed from the volcanic plug of an extinct volcano, the island’s blue hone granite has long been quarried to make curling stones. Now a bird sanctuary it is a popular island for boat trips from the town of Girvan.
Over on the eastern side of the region is another of Britain’s most beautiful stately homes.Dumfries House, an 18th century house set in 2,000 acres of land was actually saved by the intervention of HRH Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay in 2007 after the house’s owner The Marquess of Bute was forced to sell the estate to the nation due to the prohibitive cost of its upkeep. As well as donors and sponsorship, funding was also intended to come from constructing the nearby housing development of Knockroon, a planned community along the lines of the Prince’s similar venture Poundbury in Dorset,
Ayrshire is the region that gave us our National Bard Robert Burns. From traditional ballads and romantic songs to thought provoking poems, “ Rabbie “ composed some of the world’s most instantly recognisable lines of poetry and song lyrics. Why not discover the man and his literary genius in the small village of Alloway, just south of Ayr where you can even visit the humble cottage where he was born and raised. Whether you are a die hard Burns enthusiast or completely new to the Bard, some dedicated time immersing yourself here will open your eyes and ears to an enduring hero of Scotland’s literary heritage.
In the town of Ayr itself you will find Scotland’s only grade 1 horse racing track; hosting some of the best racing in the country.Opened in 1907 the course is home to the Scottish Grand National Festival in April each year.
Following the coast north leads on to the classic layouts at Royal Troon, Barassie, Western Gailes and Gailes Links, not forgetting the historic Prestwick Golf Club; the birthplace of The Open Championship and a must play for any discerning lover of the game.Although long retired from the Open rota with it’s last and 24th Open being held back in 1925, Prestwick’s unrivalled history, charismatic course and warm welcome ensures there are few places like it in the world of golf.