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AYRSHIRE ATTRACTIONS, THINGS TO DO & SEE IN AYRSHIRE

If you or any of your party decide to take a day away from the golf courses during your Ayrshire golf holiday, there are plenty of places to visit, sights to see and other things to do in Ayrshire and beyond – all no more than just a couple of hours away from your accommodation.

Whether you’d like to see some of the many Ayrshire attractions, other than the golf courses, or go further afield and perhaps have a day in the cosmopolitan city of Glasgow, or in the World Heritage City that is Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, or even the stunningly beautiful Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park, we can organise excursions or day trips for you. Or if you prefer to explore and discover new places yourselves, we can help with car hire.

Our aim at Ayrshire Golf is to give you and every member of your party (including your non-golfing partners) your ideal golfing holiday. Just tell us what you would like and we’ll organise it for you.

Ayrshire is so well situated for visiting places throughout southwest and central Scotland that it would be impossible to list here all the attractions within easy reach.

The links on the right and below will take you to information about just a few of them that we feel may be of interest to you.


Ayr Racecourse, AyrshireAyr Racecourse

With racing throughout the year, with both flat and jumps meetings, Ayr Racecourse is Scotland’s premier racecourse. It is home to both the Coral Scottish Grand National (April) and the William Hill (Ayr) Gold Cup (September), with many more racing festivals at other times. Whether you want to have a flutter or not, a day at the races is always exciting and a great day out.

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Things to do & see in and around Ayrshire

Quick Links:

Ayr Racecourse

Ayr Central (Shopping)

Ayrshire Coastal Path

River Ayr Way

Ayr Flower Show

Rozelle Estate

Rozelle House

Maclaurin Art Galleries

Septembayr

Ayr Gaiety Theatre

Burns an’ a’ that!

Robert Burns Monument

Burns Cottage Museum

Burns House Museum

Palace Theatre Kilmarnock

Dean Castle & Country Park

Dundonald Castle

Culzean Castle

Kelburn Castle

Dumfries House

Paddle Steamer Waverley

Scottish Maritime Museum

Eglinton Country Park

Vikingar!

Dalgarven Mill

Craft Town Scotland

The Isle of Arran

Brodick Castle, Arran

In and around Ayrshire

Quick Links:

Ayr Racecourse

Ayr Central (Shopping)

Ayrshire Coastal Path

River Ayr Way

Ayr Flower Show

Rozelle Estate

Rozelle House

Maclaurin Art Galleries

Septembayr

Ayr Gaiety Theatre

Burns an’ a’ that!

Robert Burns Monument

Burns Cottage Museum

Burns House Museum

Palace Theatre Kilmarnock

Dean Castle & Country Park

Dundonald Castle

Culzean Castle

Kelburn Castle

Dumfries House

Paddle Steamer Waverley

Scottish Maritime Museum

Eglinton Country Park

Vikingar!

Dalgarven Mill

Craft Town Scotland

The Isle of Arran

Brodick Castle, Arran

In and around Ayrshire

Quick Links:

Ayr Racecourse

Ayr Central (Shopping)

Ayrshire Coastal Path

River Ayr Way

Ayr Flower Show

Rozelle Estate

Rozelle House

Maclaurin Art Galleries

Septembayr

Ayr Gaiety Theatre

Burns an’ a’ that!

Robert Burns Monument

Burns Cottage Museum

Burns House Museum

Palace Theatre Kilmarnock

Dean Castle & Country Park

Dundonald Castle

Culzean Castle

Kelburn Castle

Dumfries House

Paddle Steamer Waverley

Scottish Maritime Museum

Eglinton Country Park

Vikingar!

Dalgarven Mill

Craft Town Scotland

The Isle of Arran

Brodick Castle, Arran

In and around Ayrshire

Quick Links:

Ayr Racecourse

Ayr Central (Shopping)

Ayrshire Coastal Path

River Ayr Way

Ayr Flower Show

Rozelle Estate

Rozelle House

Maclaurin Art Galleries

Septembayr

Ayr Gaiety Theatre

Burns an’ a’ that!

Robert Burns Monument

Burns Cottage Museum

Burns House Museum

Palace Theatre Kilmarnock

Dean Castle & Country Park

Dundonald Castle

Culzean Castle

Kelburn Castle

Dumfries House

Paddle Steamer Waverley

Scottish Maritime Museum

Eglinton Country Park

Vikingar!

Dalgarven Mill

Craft Town Scotland

The Isle of Arran

Brodick Castle, Arran

Ayr Central (Shopping)Ayr Central

Ideally situated just a few yards from the train station and, with plenty of underground parking, just over a mile from the main A77 road, Ayr Central Shopping Centre is right in the heart of the town centre. This modern shopping mall has a wide range of large stores, smaller shops and cafes.

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Ayrshire Coastal Path, AyrshireAyrshire Coastal Path

If you want to do some walking without the golf clubs, you would enjoy some of the 100 miles of the Ayrshire Coastal Path. Stretching south from Skelmorlie near Largs to Glenapp near Ballantrae, this path is divided into two sections, each of which offers spectacular and ever-changing views of the coast and countryside. The views and wildlife have helped it be recognised by Scottish Natural Heritage as one of “Scotland’s Great Trails”.

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River Ayr Way, AyrshireRiver Ayr Way

Another walk to consider is along the River Ayr Way. This route follows the River Ayr from its source at Glenbuck near Sorn, for 67km through woodlands and open country down to the seafront at Ayr. The route is steeped in history, with links to many famous Scottish figures including Robert Burns, William Wallace and John Loudoun Macadam. It also offers the chance to spot wildlife such as otters, badgers, herons and the magnificent hen harrier.

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Ayr Flower Show, AyrshireAyr Flower Show

If you’re having an Ayrshire golf holiday in late July/early August, then a visit to the Ayr Flower Show is a ‘must do’. Scotland’s answer to the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show, the Ayr Flower Show is usually held on the first weekend in August at the beautiful Rozelle Estate in Ayr. You’ll find the very best of British horticulture displayed in the stunning, specially-created show gardens, along with the chance to sample speciality food and drinks.

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Rozelle Estate, AyrshireRozelle Estate

This stunning 96-acre estate was a gift to the public by its owner, Commander J. Hamilton, in 1968, with the stipulation that it could only be used for cultural and recreational pursuits. Combining mature woodland, rhododendron walks, open parkland and ornamental ponds, Rozelle Estate offers visitors a charming environment in which to spend a few hours. Rozelle is also used for several different sporting events throughout the year.

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Rozelle House, AyrshireRozelle House

Rozelle House, without its historic interiors, was gifted to the Royal Burgh of Ayr in 1968 and it became the Council's Museum & Art Gallery. It is home to the Ayrshire Yeomanry Museum, Rozelle Craft House and a coffee shop/café. As a result it is now a major display venue, with a varied year-long programme of exhibitions, many from the Council’s own collections. Opening times vary, check the website for details.

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Maclaurin Art Galleries, AyrshireMaclaurin Art Galleries

In 1975-76 the servants’ quarters and stable block of Rozelle House were converted into the Maclaurin Galleries, using funds bequeathed by Mrs Mary Maclaurin in memory of her late husband. The collection includes sculptures and prints, mostly of the 20th century, and a small body of 19th-century work formerly owned by the Hamilton family and the award-winning work by children in the Maclaurin Art Competition.

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Septembayr, AyrshireSeptembayr

Ayr’s annual arts festival takes over the pubs, clubs, cafes and even the streets, during September, offering the widest range of talks, performances, concerts and tours you could imagine. Music to suit all tastes and all ages, performers and authors well-known and less so and a smattering of local folk ‘made famous’ – all well worth a visit if you’re having an Ayrshire golf holiday in the early autumn.

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Ayr Gaiety TheatreAyr Gaiety Theatre

Once the premier theatre in south-west Scotland, the Gaiety Theatre in Ayr has had a chequered and, at times, difficult history. Originally built in 1902, it was given an art deco façade in 1935 and then rebuilt after a fire in 1955. In 1974 it acquired an annex incorporating a café and box office and studio space was added in 1995. The Ayr Gaiety was relaunched in late 2012, following 3 years of major redevelopment and refurbishment.

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Burns an’ a’ that! Festival, AyrshireBurns an’ a’ that!

This week-long annual celebration of the best of Scottish culture ancient and modern, including the Bard himself of course, takes place in Ayr at the end of May. Offering a wide mix of music, readings, plays, exhibitions and the best of Ayrshire food and drink, the festival has something for everyone.

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Robert Burns Monument Centre, AyrshireRobert Burns Monument Centre

This stunning new £5M centre in Kilmarnock’s Kay Park is a one-stop resource centre which brings genealogy, official registrations, old parish records, directories and other archives and a library all together under one roof. This is a must-visit place if you want to combine some research on your family history with your Ayrshire golf holiday. The statue of Robert Burns there, was sculpted by W.G. Stevenson of Edinburgh and unveiled in 1879.

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Burns Cottage Museum & Rabbie Burns’ Cottage, AyrshireBurns Cottage Museum & Rabbie Burns’ Cottage

The birthplace of Robert (Rabbie) Burns is a cottage in the picturesque village of Alloway, and probably Ayrshire’s most famous tourist attraction. Visitors can tour the cottage and experience his family’s living condition. There is an education centre adjacent to the Cottage and, a short walk away is the stunning new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum which houses the world’s most important collection of his life and works.

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Burns House Museum (Mauchline)Burns House Museum (Mauchline)

For four years, Robert Burns lived and worked in the Ayrshire town of Mauchline and it was here he also met and married Jean Armour. The museum, among the cobbled back streets of the town, hosts interactive displays as well as several original objects, poems and manuscripts, including an original Kilmarnock Edition of his works.

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Palace Theatre Kilmarnock, AyrshirePalace Theatre Kilmarnock

Beside Kilmarnock’s Grand Hall in Green Street is the Palace Theatre, where the year-round programme offers music, comedy, drama, dance and light entertainment shows. Known to the locals as the ‘best little theatre in the west’, the Palace also has a relaxing café bar and restaurant, for pre-show meals and drinks.

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Dean Castle & Country Park, AyrshireDean Castle & Country Park

Visiting Dean Castle and its surrounding 200-acre country park you are guaranteed a great, free day out, with something for all the family. In the heart of the town of Kilmarnock, the 14th-century Dean Castle was once home to the powerful Boyd family and it has connections with both William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. There are free guided tours of the castle, which has collections of armour, weaponry and historical musical instruments.

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Dundonald Castle, AyrshireDundonald Castle

Set high in the countryside with magnificent views over the Firth of Clyde to Arran, is Dundonald Castle. Originally built for Robert II, grandson of Robert the Bruce, this ancient building has a special place in Scotland’s history. By enquiring at the Visitor Centre down the hill from the castle, you can arrange a guided tour of the castle itself, view an exhibition about its history, or simply visit the cafe and souvenir shop.

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Culzean Castle & Country Park, AyrshireCulzean Castle & Country Park

No visitor to Ayrshire should miss visiting Culzean, one of Scotland’s best-loved castles. It sits in 600 acres of beautiful gardens and woodlands on the top of a rocky outcrop. It houses impressive collections of armoury, furniture and paintings and has an oval staircase with glazed cupola overhead. General Eisenhower spent time here during WWII and the apartment he used is available for anyone to book and enjoy.

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Kelburn Castle, Country Centre & Estate, AyrshireKelburn Castle, Country Centre & Estate

Just south of Largs, high on a wooded hill and stretching inland, the Kelburn Estate with its 13th- century castle, is well worth a visit. There are well-kept gardens, many historical features and dramatic walks through the grounds, particularly through Kelburn Glen, with deep gorges and spectacular waterfalls. It also has many child-friendly activities, including a ‘secret forest’, a ‘crocodile swamp’ and an adventure course.

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Dumfries House, AyrshireDumfries House

This stunning mid-18th century country house was designed by the Adam Brothers in the Palladian style. Saved for the nation by the intervention of HRH Prince Charles in 2007, it sits in a large estate less than 2 miles from Cumnock and has a magnificent collection of furniture by such famous names as Thomas Chippendale, Alexander Peter, Francis Brodie and William Mathie.

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Paddle Steamer Waverley, AyrshirePaddle Steamer Waverley

Step aboard Waverley, the last seagoing paddle steamer in the world, relax and sail round Arran, Bute, Cumbrae and explore the sea lochs of this splendid coastline. With departures from many of the Ayrshire ports throughout the summer, you can enjoy an afternoon, an evening or even a whole day cruising. Watching the enormous paddles turning as Waverley progresses through the water is a sight not to be missed.

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Scottish Maritime Museum, AyrshireScottish Maritime Museum

The rich shipbuilding history of Scotland, and particularly the Clyde, is celebrated by the Scottish Maritime Museum. The recently-refurbished Linthouse by the harbourside at Irvine gives a fascinating insight into Scottish maritime history, with exhibits and collections dating back to the 18th century, a restored pre-1920s shipyard worker’s tenement flat and the chance to board the world’s oldest floating Clydebuilt vessel.

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Eglinton Country Park, AyrshireEglinton Country Park

Situated between the towns of Kilwinning and Irvine, Eglinton Country Park offer organised activities or the opportunity to enjoy more tranquil country pursuits, like fishing, horse-riding or simply walking, all year round. The visitor centre (opening times vary, see website for details) includes displays on the history of the Country Park and a well-stocked gift shop.

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Vikingar!, AyrshireVikingar!

At the north end of Largs promenade, overlooking the seafront, is the award-winning Vikingar! The Viking Experience incorporates an interactive display, storytellers retelling Viking tales and myths and a short film about these Norsemen, whose many raids on the west coast of Scotland ended with the Battle of Largs in 1293.

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Dalgarven Mill, AyrshireDalgarven Mill

Take a step back into a forgotten world and visit Dalgarven Mill. It is almost all that remains of the original Dalgarven community, with its mills, blacksmith, joiner and carpenter, stonemason, weavers and embroiderers. Formerly at the centre of the community was the mill which was used by everyone and once provided the most basic of foodstuffs – oatmeal and flour. In recent years, Dalgarven Mill has been painstakingly and lovingly restored.

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Craft Town Scotland, AyrshireCraft Town Scotland

Set in West Kilbride, Craft Town Scotland is a community-inspired development which highlights Scottish-designed and created craftworks. There are several small craft studios, where visitors can meet the artists, see the creative work in progress and also buy quality craft and design work all in one place. The new Barony Centre serves as an exhibition, education and events venue.

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The Isle of Arran, AyrshireThe Isle of Arran

In the Firth of Clyde between the Kintyre Peninsula and the mainland, the beautiful Isle of Arran is easy to reach by ferry from Ardrossan Harbour. Ferries sail all year and the journey takes under an hour. Arran is often described as “Scotland in Miniature”, it has mountains – Goat Fell is the highest and dominates views from many Ayrshire golf courses – lochs, beaches and moorland, castles and a rich and diverse wildlife on land and in the sea.

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Brodick Castle, Arran, AyrshireBrodick Castle, Arran

If Arran courses feature in your Ayrshire golf holiday, you should take time to visit Brodick Castle, its Gardens and country park. Part of the castle dates from the 13th century and, with its magnificent views over the Firth of Clyde, it’s easy to see why the Vikings built a fortress here. The Victorian red sandstone castle, houses fine collections of silver, porcelain, furniture, paintings and sporting trophies.

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ATTRACTIONS BEYOND AYRSHIRE – PLACES TO VISIT

Not everything that is great to see and do in central Scotland is in Ayrshire, but many are still within easy reach of the courses and accommodation of your Ayrshire golf holiday. Only a couple of hours away are the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park and the city of Edinburgh, while Glasgow is even closer.

Here are a few of the delights in store for those who venture a little further afield:


Glasgow

City of GlasgowScotland’s largest city and within an hour of the delights of the Ayrshire golf courses, Glasgow is justified in describing itself as “Scotland with Style”. One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Glasgow has embraced its historic roots and combined them with everything needed to become a great international city again. With stunning architecture, global designer brand names to be found on its wide streets and shopping malls, many parks and open green spaces, home to Scotland’s national ballet and opera companies, with world-renowned art galleries and museums, Glasgow complements all these with a vibrant, sophisticated nightlife.

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If you’d like to learn more about the history of the city and its people, you could always take a walking tour or a sightseeing tour on an open-topped bus.

 

Things to do & see in Glasgow & Edinburgh

Quick Links:

City of Glasgow

Burrell Collection

Kelvingrove Art Gallery

Gallery of Modern Art

Riverside Museum

Hunterian Museum

St Enoch Centre

Princes Square

Buchanan Galleries

Silverburn

Braehead & Xscape

City of Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle

National War Museum

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Museum of Childhood

St Giles’ Cathedral

Mary King’s Close

Scotch Whisky Experience

National Museum of Scotland

Fruitmarket Gallery

Scott Monument

National Galleries of Scotland

Royal Botanic Gardens

Royal Yacht Britannia

Shopping in Edinburgh

Loch Lomond

Things to do & see in Glasgow & Edinburgh

Quick Links:

City of Glasgow

Burrell Collection

Kelvingrove Art Gallery

Gallery of Modern Art

Riverside Museum

Hunterian Museum

St Enoch Centre

Princes Square

Buchanan Galleries

Silverburn

Braehead & Xscape

City of Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle

National War Museum

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Museum of Childhood

St Giles’ Cathedral

Mary King’s Close

Scotch Whisky Experience

National Museum of Scotland

Fruitmarket Gallery

Scott Monument

National Galleries of Scotland

Royal Botanic Gardens

Royal Yacht Britannia

Shopping in Edinburgh

Loch Lomond

Things to do & see in Glasgow & Edinburgh

Quick Links:

City of Glasgow

Burrell Collection

Kelvingrove Art Gallery

Gallery of Modern Art

Riverside Museum

Hunterian Museum

St Enoch Centre

Princes Square

Buchanan Galleries

Silverburn

Braehead & Xscape

City of Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle

National War Museum

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Museum of Childhood

St Giles’ Cathedral

Mary King’s Close

Scotch Whisky Experience

National Museum of Scotland

Fruitmarket Gallery

Scott Monument

National Galleries of Scotland

Royal Botanic Gardens

Royal Yacht Britannia

Shopping in Edinburgh

Loch Lomond

Things to do & see in Glasgow & Edinburgh

Quick Links:

City of Glasgow

Burrell Collection

Kelvingrove Art Gallery

Gallery of Modern Art

Riverside Museum

Hunterian Museum

St Enoch Centre

Princes Square

Buchanan Galleries

Silverburn

Braehead & Xscape

City of Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle

National War Museum

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Museum of Childhood

St Giles’ Cathedral

Mary King’s Close

Scotch Whisky Experience

National Museum of Scotland

Fruitmarket Gallery

Scott Monument

National Galleries of Scotland

Royal Botanic Gardens

Royal Yacht Britannia

Shopping in Edinburgh

Loch Lomond

Burrell Collection, GlasgowBurrell Collection

Named after its donor, shipping magnate and avid collector Sir William Burrell, and housed in an award-winning building set among the parkland of Pollok Country Park on the south side of Glasgow, the Burrell Collection comprises more than 8,000 items. Permanent displays include work from artists such as Cezanne, Degas and Rodin, as well as important artworks and objects from the late mediaeval period and Chinese, Islamic and Ancient Civilisations.

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Kelvingrove Art Gallery, GlasgowKelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

In the west end of the city, overlooked by the Gilbert Scott building of Glasgow University, Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum is one of the country’s most popular attractions. Its 22 themed galleries display art and artefacts from the extensive, wide-ranging and internationally-significant collections. Kelvingrove also receives many important touring exhibitions.

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Gallery of Modern Art, GlasgowGallery of Modern Art (GoMA)

The city centre Gallery of Modern Art houses the city’s impressive collection of modern art and its permanent and temporary exhibitions showcase work highlighting the influences and practices of artists from Glasgow and around the world.

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Riverside Museum, GlasgowRiverside Museum

As its name suggests, the Riverside Museum is right on the edge of the Clyde and housed in one of the city’s newest buildings, the work of the award-winning architect Zaha Hadid. It is where to find examples, models and recreations of all matters travel and transport-related with links to Glasgow. It showcases the best of Glasgow’s pioneering ship-building and engineering skills and people over the centuries.

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Hunterian Museum & Art Gallery, GlasgowHunterian Museum & Art Gallery

Among the world’s finest university collections which include scientific instruments used by James Watt, Joseph Lister and Lord Kelvin; outstanding Roman artefacts from the Antonine Wall; major natural and life sciences holdings; impressive ethnographic objects from Captain Cook’s Pacific voyages. The Hunterian is also home to a significant art collection, including the works of James McNeill Whistler and the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

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St Enoch Centre, Shopping in GlasgowSt Enoch Centre

When the St Enoch Centre first opened in 1989, it was Scotland’s first large shopping mall. Later extended and since completely redeveloped, the Centre makes a major contribution to Glasgow’s vibrant retail sector, with world-renowned global brand names and specialist boutiques. Situated at the junction of two of Glasgow’s most famous streets – Argyle Street and Buchanan Street – with the restaurants, cafés.

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Princes Square, Shopping in GlasgowPrinces Square

Situated half way along Buchanan Street is this airy, elegant and architecturally-important 4-storey shopping and dining mall. Originally built as an open merchant square in yellow sandstone, the buildings were redeveloped in the 1980s creating a stylish modern centre. Independent, boutique shops are to be found beside some larger well-known names on two floors, with cafés and restaurants on the bottom and top floors.

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Buchanan Galleries, Shopping in GlasgowBuchanan Galleries

At the very top of Buchanan Street, at its junction with Sauchiehall Street and with the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall at its front, the Buchanan Galleries shopping mall is home to many of the biggest names in retail as well as many high-quality independent stores. It is set over three storeys and has its own large multi-storey car park.

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Silverburn, Shopping in GlasgowSilverburn

Just 5 miles south of Glasgow city centre and with hundreds of free spaces in its open car parks, Silverburn has more than 100 shops, boutiques, cafés and restaurants, set along an airy ‘street’ built to high environmentally sustainable ‘green’ standards.

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Braehead & XscapeBraehead & Xscape

Near Renfrew, close to Glasgow Airport is Braehead shopping centre, where you’ll find more than 100 well-known stores and superstores, as well many options for eating. There is also an ice rink in the centre itself, and one in the adjacent Braehead Arena. At the nearby Xscape, you’ll find a cinema, urban and lifestyle retail outlets, an indoor snow slope with ‘real’ snow, a climbing wall and many bars and restaurants.

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Edinburgh

City of EdinburghScotland’s capital city, Edinburgh is less than 2 hours away from the Ayrshire golf courses and hotels by car and also enjoys excellent public transport links with the west of Scotland. Edinburgh is a city of contrasts, packed full of ‘must-see’ attractions, both historic and modern. Across the road from the ancient Royal Palace of Holyroodhouse, for example, is the award-winning Scottish Parliament building. Scotland’s national art and museum collections are to be found in the city, as are department stores and smaller shops selling global brand designer fashion, high street favourites and small boutiques. Visit the website to find out just what Edinburgh has on offer.

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To learn about the history of the city and its people, take a guided walking tour or climb aboard an open-topped bus for a sightseeing tour.

 

Edinburgh CastleEdinburgh Castle

At the top of the Royal Mile, sitting high on its own volcanic rock, Edinburgh Castle not only overlooks the city itself, it also has commanding views across the River Forth to Fife and the hills beyond. The Scottish Crown Jewels are held here, as is the Stone of Destiny. The stunning international Military Tattoo takes place on the castle esplanade in the late summer every year and the One O’Clock Gun fires from the ramparts daily.

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National War Museum, EdinburghNational War Museum

This is housed in Edinburgh Castle and, through military artefacts and personal collections, tells the tales of Scotland and its people at war over 400 years.

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Palace of Holyroodhouse, EdinburghPalace of Holyroodhouse

The Royal Family’s residence when in Scotland on official duties, it lies in the shadow of Salisbury Crags. The site was originally a 12th-century abbey founded by King David I, later much extended by successive Stuart kings so that the Palace of today is virtually unchanged from the reconstructions completed in 1679. It is possible to tour the State Rooms and other areas of the Palace and its gardens. Pre-booking is essential.

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Museum of Childhood, EdinburghMuseum of Childhood

About half way up the Royal Mile, on the High Street, is the Museum of Childhood, the first museum in the world dedicated to telling the history of childhood. With toys, games and costumes from across the generations, this is a chance to become nostalgic about and relive moments from your own childhood!

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St Giles’ Cathedral, EdinburghSt Giles’ Cathedral

A few yards further up the Royal Mile on the High Street is the High Kirk of Edinburgh, St Giles’ Cathedral. Edinburgh’s historic city church, its crown spire is recognisable the world over and forms a notable feature of the city’s skyline. It houses the Chapel of the Order of the Thistle.

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Mary King’s Close, EdinburghMary King’s Close

Something completely different from visiting museums, galleries, monuments and shops would be a visit to Edinburgh’s deepest secret. Beneath the Royal Mile with its many steep closes and vennels, there is a warren of hidden underground streets. A tour through Real Mary King’s Close will let you see, smell and hear what it was like for the hundreds of people who lived, worked and died there between the 17th and 19th centuries.

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Scotch Whisky Experience, EdinburghScotch Whisky Experience

If you haven’t got time during your Ayrshire golf holiday to visit a real whisky distillery, you can do the next best thing by taking a ride through a replica at the Scotch Whisky Experience in Castlehill near the top of the Royal Mile. Here you can learn how whisky is made, how to tell what makes a good malt and improve your all-round knowledge of Scotch whisky.

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National Museum of Scotland, EdinburghNational Museum of Scotland

The treasures on display here represents only part of the collections of national and international importance held by the Museum. Others can be found in: The National War Museum (Edinburgh Castle); the National Museum of Flight (East Lothian); the National Museum of Rural Life (East Kilbride) and the National Museum of Costume (Dumfries). The collections cover science, technology, natural history, the environment, archaeology, etc.

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Fruitmarket Gallery, EdinburghFruitmarket Gallery

At the very northern edge of the Old Town in Market Street behind Waverley Station is the Fruitmarket Gallery. Formerly the city’s fruit and vegetable market, this stunning space now holds exhibitions of contemporary art which combine the work of Scottish artists with those from overseas, as well as talks, workshops and screenings of short art films.

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Scott Monument, EdinburghScott Monument

Across the bridge over the railway line is Princes Street Gardens, where you will find the Scott Monument. Built to commemorate the novelist Sir Walter Scott and finished in 1846, it is another of Edinburgh’s iconic attractions. Rising 200 feet from street level, it is a masterpiece of classic Victorian gothic stonemasonry. If you can cope with the 287 steps to the top, you’ll be treated to spectactular panoramic views across the city.

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National Galleries of Scotland, EdinburghNational Galleries of Scotland

The National Gallery, the Gallery of Modern Art and the Portrait Gallery make up the three National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh. All have permanent displays from the collections of some of the world’s finest Scottish and international art, as well as hosting visiting exhibitions throughout the year. The National Gallery is at the foot of the Mound, about half way along Princes Street and it is home to the Royal Scottish Academy.

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Royal Botanic Gardens, EdinburghRoyal Botanic Gardens

If you need to get away from the city bustle, then the 72 acres of the Royal Botanic Gardens are where you’ll find space to relax, just a short walk north from Princes Street. Dating back to 1670, the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh are considered among world’s the finest gardens, with hothouses, open parkland, an arboretum of international significance, landscaped gardens and more informal green areas.

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Royal Yacht Britannia, EdinburghRoyal Yacht Britannia

On the shores of the Forth at Edinburgh’s port of Leith, you’ll find the Royal Yacht Britannia. This ocean-going floating palace was built to allow the Queen to carry out some of her official overseas tours and in its working lifetime, sailed more than 1 milllion miles around the world. Now officially retired, it is permanently moored at Leith and has become a very popular museum.

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Shopping in Edinburgh

As well as the boutiques, independent shops and department stores of the city centre, Edinburgh boasts several exciting shopping centres and covered malls, with easy transport links and ample parking spaces. They all, of course, have bars, cafés and restaurants where you can take a rest while shopping, or you could visit the fabulous glass-fronted Omni Centre at the top of Leith Walk.

In the city centre you’ll find Princes Mall beside Waverley Station and at the east end of Princes Street is the St James Centre, both housing familiar names and Scottish heritage stores.

A little further out are Ocean Terminal in Leith, near the Royal Yacht Britannia and overlooking the Firth of Forth, with its range of high street names and smaller independents, a large cinema, beauty salon and a gym. Meanwhile, on the western outskirts of Edinburgh is the Gyle Shopping Centre , which also has familiar-named stores, all open for late-night shopping.

If it’s discount high-end designer items you’d like to buy, then you should head west through the countryside to the Livingston Designer Outlet in West Lothian, where there are more than 90 designer stores under one roof.

 

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National ParkLoch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park

Less than an hour’s drive from most of the Ayrshire golf courses and covering ~720 square miles (1,865 sq km) of some of Scotland’s finest scenery, the National Park offers many contrasting landscapes as you travel from the gentle hills and rolling lowlands to the high mountains in the north. As well as Loch Lomond, it has many other lochs, rivers and mountains. It is also has two Forest Parks offering a wide range of outdoor activities.

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