Welcome to South Ayrshire
Troon is a bustling harbour town, situated just three miles from Prestwick Airport and is easily accessible ‘doon the watter’ as they say, from Glasgow. By rail or car, it is just 45 minutes. “Troon” comes from the Celtic word “Trwyn”, which means headland or point, which is quite apt as it protrudes from large Sandy bays to the north and south of the town. From 1812 Troon was the terminus of a horse-drawn railway connecting it to the Duke of Portland’s coal mines around Kilmarnock. By the end of the 1800s it was among the top ten coal ports in Britain. A shipyard was opened in the town in 1860, and a lifeboat station arrived in 1871. Today, Troon is perhaps most famous for its plethora of golf courses and in particular, the Royal Troon Golf Course which was founded in 1878 and has since played regular host to the British Open – the first time in 1923. In addition to golf, Troon attracts many different types of visitor from those drawn to the wide open beaches for its kite-surfing and wind sailing activities, to its Marina and the many facilities it offers. Troon is also popular among shoppers and foodies for its independent boutiques and plentiful restaurants, serving some of Ayrshire’s fine produce.
Ayr is perhaps most famous as the centre of ‘Burns Country’, due to its many connections with Scotland’s best loved Bard. Robert Burns was born in 1759, just south of Ayr in the picturesque village of Alloway. The cottage, which was built by his father, is now owned and managed by the National Trust for Scotland and has been restored to its original setting as Burns Birthplace and Museum for visitors to enjoy. Nearby you will find the historic Kirk Alloway and Auld Brig O’Doon, both famed for their inclusion in the poet’s prose ‘Tam O’Shanter’. Ayr is most certainly a firm fixture on the Burns tourist trail map, but has so much else to offer too. As the largest of Ayrshire’s coastal towns it has always been primarily a holiday and market town, rather than a big industrial centre. Transport links are excellent with Glasgow being just 35 miles away and Prestwick Airport just 5 miles north.
Stagecoach West Scotland provides an invaluable service to local and distant commuters, including an open air bus tour. With its 3 public golf courses; Seafield, Bellisle and Dalmilling, countless restaurants, shopping, sport and leisure facilities, Ayr attracts both leisure and business visitors all year round. The Esplanade offers possibly the best beach-side facilities in Ayrshire with its soft-play area, playpark, sandy beach and Low Green, perfect for relaxing with a picnic on sunny days. There are numerous walking trails including the River Ayr Way and the Arran Coastal Way, while a less strenuous stroll can be taken along the picturesque promenade that boasts panaromic views across the Firth of Clyde to Arran and further beyond to the Mull of Kintyre. Why not walk along to Greenan Castle at the south end of the beach and explore the ruins there. Whilst visiting Ayr, check to see what’s on at the famous Ayr Racecourse which presents a number of Race Days throughout the year, including the Scottish Grand National and Ayr Gold Cup.
Girvan came into legal existence on the 6th May 1668. King Charles II granted a charter to Thomas Boyd the Younger of Penkil to form the village of Girvan into the burgh of Barony. The charter granted the right to build a seaport with harbour and fort, all the privileges, including two weekly markets and two yearly fairs. For hundreds of years the town’s busy harbour has been a centre of attraction for visitors and a base for the fishing industry. From here you can set off for a day’s sea angling or a pleasure trip around Ailsa Craig, the plug of an extinct volcano and now a bird sanctuary. Girvan has a number of public gardens, with attractive floral plantings and is popular among families with its boating lake, esplanade, putting green and children’s play areas, plus plenty of picnic areas and safe places to walk. The town has some fine examples of 19th century architecture including the imposing Stumpy Tower, built in 1827, was used as a tolbooth in Reform riots in 1832 and the McKechnie Institute, built in 1888 in a Scottish Baronial style and is now used as an all year round local art and exhibition centre. The unspoilt, outstanding coastal and inland scenery of South Ayrshire has something for everyone, whatever type of holiday you are looking for.