Glasgow & Ayrshire Travel Guide

Culzean Castle, Ayrshire - © Albring

Introduction and Overview

The Glasgow & Ayrshire Travel Guide looks at local attractions, places of interest and contains useful tourist information for visitors. The area guide features travel information on local transport and travel, facts & figures, entertainment, events, maps and accommodation.

Located in the west of Scotland, scenic Ayrshire (consisting of North, East and South Ayrshire) and the city of Glasgow offer visitors with a range of attractions.

Glasgow has undergone a transformation from a city that had an unfortunate reputation to one that has emerged with renewed confidence that is at the vanguard of the arts and culture.

The city has much to look forward to and has enjoyed much regeneration and modernisation in the recent past. With the scenic Ayrshire countryside, there is both town and country for visitors to explore here.

Ayrshire is known for its natural beauty, wonderful coast and its close associations with poet Robert Burns. The Ayrshire coast is extremely scenic and boasts sandy beaches along its 80 miles of coastline and has a milder climate than much of Scotland thanks to its location.

Ayrshire is known as a good place to enjoy outdoor pursuits such as walking, cycling, trekking and golf.

The area is a mecca for golfing enthusiasts from far and wide, it is possible to play on some of the best and most famous courses in the world as some clubs allow non-members to pay a green fee and play, making a visit to Ayrshire a must for golfing aficionados.

The City of Glasgow is the largest and best known city in Scotland. It has a rich and varied history, once known as the 'second city of the empire' gives an indication as to its importance. The city gained its wealth and power from the cotton mills, shipyards and coal mines, thus was an industrial powerhouse.

Today with the heavy industries no longer on the horizon, Glasgow still has its energy and generates the excitement associated with thriving cities.

Is has been noted by many that the city has more than a hint of the continent about it, there are a number of stylish bars and restaurants that give rise to this. The people of the city are known for their warmth and humour.

They have had to endure some tough times when heavy industry was closing and taking the lifeblood of the communities with it. However they have re-build and renovated and today's Glasgow is very different to the image of a past industrial giant. The city has also been compared to North America, for its grid street system and streetwise locals.

Glasgow's Merchant City is viewed as a trendy part of town with warehouse/loft apartments. You can smell the aroma of the espressos on the street as you go past the fashionable cafes, there are a number of boutique designer stores, award winning restaurants and wine bars and clubs.

It is where you will see high society but being Glasgow there is a relaxed atmosphere.

North Ayrshire is located to the west of Glasgow, in south west Scotland. The largest town is Irvine located 30 miles from Glasgow, it is a new town located on the coast of the Firth of Clyde.

Local attractions includes the Irvine Burns Museum, Seagate Castle, Irvine Parish Church and Trinity Church. The coastal town of Largs is located 20 miles north of Irvine, the market town is a popular seaside resort.

Historically the town was the site of the Battle of Largs in the 13th century between the Scottish and Norwegian forces, the Viking battle is remembered each year at the Largs Viking Festival that takes place annually in September.

Local attractions include Vikingar where visitors can learn more about the Viking history of the town, Kelburn Castle, fair ground and amusement rides on the promenade, Skelmorlie Aisle, the 3 sisters monument, the pencil monument and the Neolithic Tomb

East Ayrshire is located south west of Glasgow, the largest town is Kilmarnock located just over 20 miles from Glasgow. The town is located close to Glasgow Prestwick Airport, its transport and accommodation facilities mean it is a favoured destination for visitors to base themselves from when touring the Ayrshire area.

The town includes some attractive buildings and has a long history of over a thousand years. There is a statue of poet Robert Burns in the centre of town as a noteworthy feature. There are also pieces of street art to look out for here.

Kilmarnock plays host to the oldest professional football club in Scotland, Kilmarnock Football Club. Golfers will enjoy the two golf courses here whilst the Galleon Centre offers a range of leisure facilities such as a swimming pool, squash courts, gym and games hall.

The town includes a choices of shopping facilities, bars, cafes and restaurants. Local attractions include the Burns Monument Centre, commemorating the famous poet and the 14th century Dean Castle.

The town of Cumnock is located 16 miles from Kilmarnock, historically the market town was a mining centre, local attractions include the 15h century Terringzean Castle, the ruins of Auchinleck Castle and Black Loch named in reference to its dark waters.

Galston is an ancient town in East Ayrshire that is surrounded by lovely countryside, during its long history it has been associated with famous figures such as William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. The Barr Castle is the oldest building in Galston that was built in the 15th century.

Galston also has Loudoun Castle theme park and the ruins of Loudoun Castle. The town has a good selection craft shops and a great choice of cafes and restaurants for visitors to try.

South Ayrshire is located to the south west of Glasgow, with the town of Ayr the largest town in the area. Historically Ayr was one of the most important harbours on the west coast of Scotland for centuries. Ayr has evolved to become a seaside resort with many activities for visitors to enjoy.

The town has some nice historic buildings for visitors to explore these include the Town Hall, Wallace Tower and Loudoun Hall, a restoration of Scotland's oldest merchant's house, built in the 16th century.

Ayr Racecourse, dating back to 1770 is a popular one for racing fans, in September the Ayr Festival has entertainment and activities for visitors to enjoy.

Local places of interest in South Ayrshire include Burns Cottage part of the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, the 18th century Culzean Castle, Carrick Forest, Electric Brae and Crossraguel Abbey.

The The Isle of Arran is located a few miles off the Scottish mainland, the compact island is 19 miles long and 10 miles wide. The island has its own distinct character and culture and has been referred to as 'Scotland in miniature'.

The island has been described as a condensed version of Scotland with lochs and mountains located in the north with meadows and rolling hills in the south supplemented with a scenic coastline.

The island is well known for its rich wildlife that includes sharks and deer and castles that include Brodick Castle & Gardens, Lochranza Castle and Kildonan Castle. The Heritage Museum at Rosaburn offers an interesting insight into the history of Arran dating back to the Stone Age.

Glasgow has a broad appeal for visitors from those that like the bright lights and big city attractions to those that like the arts and culture; they are well catered for in the city.

Ayrshire will appeal to those wanting a wonderful coastline with the opportunity to take it easy and relax in the beautiful Scottish countryside or take part in more energetic pursuits such as the many outdoor activities the area is famous for.

The region is well connected by road, rail and air courtesy of Glasgow Airport making it easily assessable for visitors. An interesting mix of city and rural makes a holiday here an appealing one.

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