The south of Scotland in general, but the Borders and Southern Ayrshire in particular, are often overlooked by visitors to Scotland, who stream into Edinburgh or Glasgow and then head north. So much of the history of Scotland focuses on the mountains, lochs and glens of the highlands and the outer isles that travellers often forget to take in the majesty of the southern fringes of Scotland. South Ayrshire is no exception and is an area of incredible beauty with a wonderful coastline, rugged terrain and dramatic landscape, on which some world famous golf courses are perched, various famous rivers run through and many hills overlook. It’s a gentle, slightly hidden away part of Scotland but there is much to see and enjoy.
We send our guests to the magnificent Glenapp Castle, which is also perched up high and overlooks the small volcanic island of Ailsa Craig, famous for its blue hone granite used to make curling stones. Glenapp has its own boat which can be used to access the island for picnics and fun walks, amongst the 7000 pairs of gannets. A little further north is the magical Culzean Castle built during the age of enlightenment by the great Robert Adam, Scotland’s most distinguished architect, and since 1945, the setting for General Eisenhower’s private penthouse apartment, given to him by a grateful nation and now available for private functions. The castle has wonderful gardens, magnificent state rooms and sits in a very dramatic position on the cliff’s edge.
Robert Burn’s birthplace at Alloway is a fun museum to tour and illustrates brilliantly his unique contribution to Scotland’s heritage, his genius and explains how an Ayrshire ploughman became one of the world’s most famous poets. In 2007 the Prince of Wales saved Dumfries house for the nation by raising huge sums to purchase the house and its priceless collection of Chippendale furniture from the Marquis of Bute. This last minute acquisition came with huge challenges as the house and furniture required extensive restoration but this has now been largely done and the results are a stunning visitor experience. Dumfries house is the only property in the world with all its original Chippendale furniture, carefully catalogued over the centuries by Lord Bute’s archivist. There is an excellent shop and café and the grounds are also being brought back to their former glory.
Southern Scotland is famous for its gardens and LTR favourites include, Castle Kennedy close by in neighbouring Galloway, with its 75 acres of sculptured landscapes, magnificent avenues and white & black lochs or Logan Botanic Gardens in Dumfries & Galloway which is a plantsman’s paradise and the country’s most exotic garden. Golf is of course another fantastic excuse to visit Ayrshire and Troon, Turnberry and Western Gailes are all world famous links courses, which our guests love to play. There are many smaller local courses without the pressure of being on such hallowed ground, which we can also recommend and lots of other fun activities for all the family. Deep sea fishing on a boat from Girvan harbour or a ride across in the castle boat to the isle of Arran and a visit to castle Brodick are popular. Walks along the Ayrshire coastline, with a picnic lunch en-route, falconry displays on the Glenapp castle lawns or a challenging clay pigeon shooting session with the castle’s stunning woodland behind can be easily arranged.
Within a short distance guests can indulge in a morning of coastering. Wearing a wetsuit, buoyancy aid and helmet, guests traverse rocks, jump into the sea, explore sea caves and get into all the little coves and pools that are inaccessible from land. Adventure Carrick is perfectly located on the coastline with a wide diversity of wildlife and sea birds. Their qualified instructors have expert knowledge of the area, sea and tides. The Laggan outdoor activity centre is also an excellent place for guests of all ages to experience the human slingshot, zip wire, archery, Segway, dirt scooter, water balling, reverse steer and jeep and grass sledging.
Back at Glenapp Castle, staff can arrange horse & cart tours around the estate, a private foraging session with ‘Hendricks gin wild cocktails’, stargazing with an expert astronomer or an inspiring and ingenious treasure hunt using Samsung Tab4 tablets. Whatever your interests and pace of life, southern Ayrshire has much to offer and LTR can arrange a wonderful few days of exploring, based at the glorious Glenapp Castle, which serves some of the most delicious food in Scotland.
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