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Top recommended things to do in Ayrshire

Our 10 top recommended things to do in Ayr and Ayrshire

Below are our highlights for those wishing to be active when visiting Ayrshire, one of Scotland’s top activity break destinations.

1          Play golf – Ayrshire and world class golf are synonymous.

The closest courses, within walking distance of the Carrick Lodge are Belleisle and Seafield municipal courses set in delightful parkland.  These moderately priced courses are owned and operated by the South Ayrshire Council along with the other Ayr course (Dalmellington) three courses at Troon Links (Lochgreen, Darley & Fullarton) plus courses at Maybole and Girvan.

The coastline to the north and south of Ayr is covered with spectacular private links courses of world renown all of which welcome visitors.  Trump Turnberry with its three courses and stunning position is half an hour's drive to the south.  Twenty minutes north there is Prestwick St Nicholas Golf Club, Prestwick Golf Club (where the Open Championship was first held in 1860) followed by Royal Troon (The Open 2016) Portland Golf Course (at Royal Troon), Kilmarnock Barrassie Golf Club, Dundonald Links (The Scottish Open 2017), Glasgow Gailes and Western Gailes, both Open Qualifying venues.

Prestwick Golf Club, Barrassie and Troon Links are all situated next to their own-named railway stations. 

2          Walking & Cycling - If you're into walking and cycling, Ayrshire and the Isles of Arran and Cumbrae are great places to bring your walking boots and bikes and head off into the open countryside. Walkers have a choice of hillwalking and rambling while Arran poses greater challenges of ridge walking, mountaineering and the Coastal Way. Numerous nature trails, coastal walks and waymarked country paths provide gentle walking alternatives...

Ayrshire shares the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park and the Galloway Forest Park with neighbouring counties and both are beautiful settings for walking or cycling. The National Cycling Network has routes in Ayrshire passing through some of the most scenic countryside

3          Watersports - The sheltered waters of the Firth of Clyde make a wonderful watersports playground. And as befits an area with a world-class reputation for yachting, Ayrshire boasts three superb marinas: at Largs, Ardrossan and Troon. All three are accessible at any state of the tide and offer berths for visiting and resident yachts as well as charters for competent sailors.

4          Island hopping - The Isle of Arran, known as 'Scotland in Miniature', is like a condensed version of the rest of Scotland, with mountains and lochs in the north, and rolling hills and meadows in the south, surrounded by a stunning coastline. The Isle of Cumbrae, along with Arran and Bute, became part of Scotland in 1263. Alexander the Third defeated the Norse King Haco at the Battle of Largs. The island is extremely rich in wildlife and a paradise for cyclists.

5          Go to the beach - stroll along acres of wide Ayrshire beaches, from Girvan in  the south to Largs in the north, dodging each wave as it wets the golden sand a little higher.

6          Go to Ayr Races – Ayr is the premier racecourse in Scotland and one of the finest in the UK. Check out our Ayr races Guide and fixtures

7          Enjoy our local leisure centres- The Citadel Leisure Centre Ayr (15 mins), or the Magnum Leisure Centre Irvine (25 mins)

8          Go fishing - 3 Trout Farms within 15 minutes, the River Ayr - on the doorstep, the River Doon is 10 minutes away and the Girvan and Stinchar rivers are further to the south. Modestly priced 1/2 day and full day permits are available for fly fishing for salmon on the river Girvan.  The Carrick Lodge will happily make arrangements for you (subject to availability) if required so you can enjoy wonderful salmon and trout river fishing in Ayrshire.  The season runs from 25th February to 31st October.  It's worth remembering that, by law, salmon fishing is not permitted on Sundays in Scotland.

9          Go to the theatre or cinema – the Ayr Gaiety Theatre has been recently restored and re-opened in 2012. It has an extensive programme of events. Ayr also has an Odeon Cinema, open daily with film programmes for adults and families alike.

10        Take a Clyde Cruise on the Waverley – the world’s last ocean going paddle steamer sails regularly from Ayr during the summer with a fantastic programme of Clyde Coast cruising. Visit the official Waverley website for details.


And if that’s not enough, why not watch some great sport – Ayr now boasts one of the most successful rugby teams in Scotland – watch premier league rugby at Millbrae (get the fixtures), premier league football at Rugby Park Kilmarnock (get the fixtures) or more sedate second divisiton football at Ayr United’s Somerset Park (get the fixtures)

Top things to see and places to visit

What's on in Ayr and Ayrshire

Ayrshire touring ideas