After centuries of being a thriving military and port town, Ayr eventually transitioned to a holiday town by taking advantage of its magnificent coastal location. Tourism in Ayr is a thriving industry today that relies as much on the history of the past as it does the holiday amenities of the present. We invite you to visit Ayr as our guests. You will enjoy a long list of important historic sites, comfortable accommodations, plenty of shopping, and a rich cultural environment that includes everything from live music to theatre. Ayr is the place to be if you are looking for a seaside town where you can relax, unwind, and forget about things for a few days. Our commitment to providing fantastic tourism opportunities is your invitation to an unforgettable holiday.
Tourism in Ayr
Ayr’s two greatest assets are its history and geography. Historically speaking, Ayr is one of Scotland’s oldest settlements, dating back to the early 13th century. It has played a significant role in helping create the Scotland we know today, as seen in the many important sites that draw visitors from around the world.
Geographically, Ayr is a coastal town occupying land where the Firth of Clyde meets the mouth of the Ayr River. Anyone who enjoys the coastal environment will quickly fall in love with Ayr’s waterfront areas. Enjoy a beautiful seaside lunch or stroll along the river as part of a romantic evening. The natural beauty of Ayr will captivate you.
Many people come to Ayr to get a glimpse of the historic castles scattered throughout the region. Those not located directly in Ayr can be found in various locations throughout the county. When you come, be sure to visit:
Dean Castle – Dean Castle and the Dean Castle Country Park are situated just east of Ayr in Kilmarnock. This 14th-century castle was originally home to the Boyd family, who ruled over Kilmarnock for nearly 400 years. Numerous restorations have taken place since the Boyd family sold the property in 1746, and today to castle stands as a majestic reminder of how powerful its first owners were.
Brodick Castle – You will have to take a short boat ride out into the Firth of Clyde to see the spectacular Brodick Castle, originally built in 1510. This unique island fortress previously acted as the seat of the Dukes of Hamilton. The castle has been meticulously restored and is now managed by the National Trust for Scotland.
Lochranza Castle – Not every historic castle in Scotland has been restored; Lochranza is an example of one that has not. However, you can still see the ruins of this once majestic structure on the same island you find Brodick Castle. Lochranza was an important military stronghold at one time, having been being used by James IV, James VI, and Oliver Cromwell.
Other Historic Sites
The castles in the region are just the start of your experience with Ayr’s rich history. There are plenty of other historic sites worthy of your attention as a student of Scottish history. For example, the majestic Wallace Tower pays homage to one of Scotland’s most revered military men, William Wallace. The 113-foot tower includes a statue of William himself.
You might also be interested in St Ayr’s Tower, the site of the first meeting of the Parliament of Scotland in 1315. Not far away are Ayr Auld Brig, Miller’s Folly, Newton Steeple, Ayr Auld Kirk, and the very important Robert Burns Museum. The proximity of so many historic sites makes it easy for you to see nearly all of them in just a few days.
Parks and Recreation
Of course, you will want some time to relax and unwind with all of that sightseeing. No worries. Ayr has plenty of parks and recreation space for you to enjoy. Belleisle Estate is a good place to start with its acres of beautiful and serene gardens and mansion turned hotel. It is open to the public year-round. Are you also looking for a family adventure? Then take your family to the Heads of Ayr Farm Park where you can see, touch and even feed over 50 different kinds of exotic animals including monkeys!
Ayr is well known throughout Scotland for its lovely waterfront areas, including its public beaches and harbour areas. As long as you are coming to Ayr, plan to spend some time on the water. In addition to relaxing in the warm ocean breezes, you can also take a boat ride or go fishing.
The P.S. Waverley is the only seagoing paddle steamer left in the world. Strap yourself in as you explore the different islands of Arran, Bute and Cumbrae. Everything on the Waverley has been restored to its former glory including new brass, new decks and massive funnels.
The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum – Nominated as the Museum of the Year in 2011, 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.
You may also want to make sure you head over to Souter Johnnie’s cottage and the historic Irvine Vennel Gallery.
There are plenty more attractions aside from the sights, the historic castles and museums in Ayr. Want to learn about the Vikings and their voyage? Finish off your day by heading on over to the Vikingar and watch some films, hear stories and watch costume shows about the historic adventures of the Scotland Vikings.
Come visit Ayr on one of your future holidays. Both the town and the county are two of Scotland’s most precious gems. The locals are friendly, accommodations are plentiful, and there is plenty to see and do.