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Ayrshire

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About Ayrshire

Ayrshire is a stunning part of Scotland, running along the southwestern coastline from Skelmorlie, to Ballantrae, near Loch Ryan. Lined with scoops of soft-sand bays, secluded coves and fishing harbours, the whole of the coastline has magical views of the Firth of Clyde and the atmospheric looking Isle of Arran in the distance. Aryshire’s interior is no less picturesque: rolling, wind-ruffled hills meet fertile plains dotted with the oft stark ruins of castles, and around 50 golf courses. The best places to stay in Ayrshire are a very mixed collection, ranging from grand country house conversions, through less grand country house conversions, lodge conversions, golf resorts, and some family-friendly bucket-and-spade holiday gems.

As well as being known for its golf courses — the Royal Troon Golf Club is a regular on the Open Championship circuit — and for its spectacular coastline, Ayrshire is also known for its produce, and some of areas in Ayrshire are worth including on any foodie's map of Scotland. Try the surf, and turf, and the sheep, pigs and potatoes grown in seaweed-based fertiliser. You'll discover local produce in the fabulous old pubs, cafes and tea rooms, as well as in the fancier restaurants and hotels.

Excellent food is always a key element in a walking holiday too, and some of the best places to stay in Ayrshire would be well suited to walkers. The whole region is run-through with paths, across windswept headlands and past crumbling castles. Not all of Ayrshire’s castles are crumbling though, many lowland clans have kept theirs in good shape; we recommend checking out 13th century Turnberry Castle — which may be the birthplace of Robert the Bruce, and Culzean Castle, an elegant 18th century castle that once housed the Kennedy clan. The real highlight of any history fan’s explorations will be Robbie Burns, who was a local lad, and wrote many poems about Aryshire’s landscape. And finally, if you've got the time, don’t forget to take a trip to Arran — ferries leave from Ardrossan.

The Best Places to Stay in Ayrshire

For a Countryside Escape

  • Glenapp Castle is a family-owned baronial castle in Scotland’s historic lowlands, a place of turrets and towers, oak-panelled rooms, huge fireplaces and everything on a grand scale, from the entrance hall to the paintings. This part of the world is wonderfully unspoiled, and there are some astonishingly beautiful views along peaceful walking trails right out of the hotel doors. The hotel has 17 huge rooms and suites. There’s also a tennis court and a croquet lawn, and fishing and golfing opportunities a short distance away. The restaurant has won a number of awards, and the attentive staff deserve some too.
  • Dumfries House Lodge is a traditional Scottish lodge, on the Dumfries House Estate, with access to the grounds, and the very good Woodlands Restaurant, which is just ten minutes' walk away. Accommodation in the lodge is in 22 rooms and suites, decorated with chintz and antiques, with decor ranging from simple to quite ornate. Opt for the four-poster rooms for a romantic getaway. Expect welcoming fireplaces, and an authentically Scottish feel.

For the Coast

  • The Salt Lodge is a collection of one and two-bed self-catering apartments overlooking the harbour at Troon. The wood-clad exterior in its shades of ombre blue is contemporary, with floor-to-ceiling windows and glass balconies — all the better for the views — and inside the contemporary simplicity continues, with plenty of blonde wood and a white backdrop. Next door is a restaurant, which is open from breakfast, and where you can expect a casual atmosphere and plenty of seafood.

For Golfers

  • Troon is famous for its golf courses and Lochgreen House is just outside town, surrounded by woodlands and its own grounds and gardens. It’s been carefully converted from a large and elegant manor house, and now offers guests peace and tranquility in its 32 generously proportioned rooms and suites, and in its luxurious spa and award-winning restaurant. Each of the rooms has been individually designed and decorated, and downstairs are a number of uniquely dressed sitting rooms with cosy fires and a welcoming air. An ideal spot for preparing for your game.

Best B&Bs

  • Ladyburn House is a beautifully converted country house set in award-winning gardens outside of Dailly. This is a peaceful pick, offering traditional elegance amid picturesque views. There are just five bedrooms, some twins (our favourites come with four-poster beds), plus a ‘granny flat’, which offers a bit more privacy. Children over 12 are welcome. Expect chintz, antiques. and indulgent breakfasts.

Prefer a Private Apartment or Cottage?

  • If you'd prefer the privacy of a self-catering option then browse through the wide variety available online with our partner, Booking.com.

Travel Information

  • Ayrshire has its own airport: Prestwick International Airport, which is just a couple of miles outside Troon. It’s also right beside Glasgow Airport, and many of Ayrshire’s highlights are only about an hour to an hour and a half away from Edinburgh International Airport too. If you’re coming via London, you can catch the train all the way up to Glasgow in around five hours, and then go on from there.
  • If you want to hire a car we recommend you visit our online partner, Rentalcars.
  • Scotland’s unpredictable weather is well known, and Ayrshire is subject to all the usual recommendations about packing wet weather gear at all times. The up-side is that during the summer months, many Scottish destinations enjoy long days with plenty of light. June, July and August are the lightest months.

Still not sure where to stay?

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Best Hotels in Ayrshire

  • Ladyburn House Maybole, Ayrshire 5 rooms from £80

    Country Escape  -  A tranquil spot, set in beautiful gardens and surrounded by pristine countryside.
    Restrictions on children  -  Children above 12 are welcome in the main house and children of all ages can stay in the granny flat
    Fishing  -  Fly fishing can be arranged on the Kilkerran stretch of the Water of Girvan.
    Full of character
    GardenPet friendlyParking

    An elegant country house set within award winning gardens. Traditionally dressed rooms feature antique furniture, chintz fabrics and the best have four posters. A 'granny flat' offers privacy for families. Indulgent breakfasts are served and there's a host of rural pursuits in the area. See More

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  • Dumfries House Lodge Ayrshire 22 rooms from £90

    Country Escape  -  A traditional Scottish lodge, with crackling fires and cosy rooms, placed on a larger estate ideal for a rural escape.
    Sights nearby  -  Take a tour of Dumfries house built for William Crichton-Dalrymple, the 5th Earl of Dumfries between 1754 and 1759.
    Great walks  -  Take long walks through the manicured gardens and surrounding parkland.
    Full of character
    GardenViewsParking

    A cosy lodge situated on the Dumfries House estate. Rooms are traditionally dressed with chintz fabrics, antique furniture and patterned wallpaper. An elegant lounge with open fireplace is ideal to unwind after a day spent outdoors. An authentic Scottish experience. See More

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  • Cosses Country House Ballantrae, Ayrshire 5 rooms from £110

    Sights nearby  -  Visit the historic Culzean Castle or the birthplace of the famous Scottish bard Robert "Rabbie" Burns.
    Great walks  -  Beneraird Hill and the old road from Ballantrae to New Luce are excellent walking routes.
    Birdwatching  -  Ballantrae Bird Sanctuary has Gannets, Peregrine Falcons and even Puffins can be seen.
    Fishing  -  Catch your very own Scottish salmon in the River Stinchar.
    RestaurantGardenPet friendlyDisabled accessParking
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide

    The valleys of Crailoch Burn are home to this 17th century property. There are open log fires, 12 acres of manicured gardens and pictures of the family black labs! Country house in style, rooms have pastel colours and floral fabrics. Locally sourced food is served. A Scottish home from home! See More

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  • The Salt Lodge Troon 10 rooms from £135

    Families  -  Two separate bedrooms, kitchen, dining & living areas make this ideal for friends or families - there's even space for the dog
    Restaurant  -  Adjacent all-day dining restaurant, Scott's, offers Scottish breakfast, classic seafood dishes & light bites in a casual setting
    Minimum Stay  -  Two night minimum stays apply
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    RestaurantPet friendlyDisabled accessViewsParking

    Contemporary one & two-bed self-catered apartments overlooking Troon Harbour. Situated in a modern building, Scandi-inspired decor combines coastal blues, blonde woods & plenty of glass to let in sea views. Next door's restaurant is fab for when you don't feel like cooking. Affordable family option. See More

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  • Lochgreen House Southwood Troon 32 rooms from £245

    Total relaxation  -  A country house hotel set in 30 acres of woodlands and manicured gardens and also featuring an indulgent spa.
    Great walks  -  Find miles of scenic walking trails to be explored.
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
    Remote  -  Off the beaten track.
    RestaurantGardenDisabled accessViewsParkingNo pets

    A luxurious rural property boasting a secluded spot within its own gardens and woodlands. Elegant rooms are traditionally and individually styled. Downstairs there are grand sitting rooms with roaring fires, an award winning restaurant and spoiling spa. An ideal spot for completely unwinding. See More

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  • Glenapp Castle Ayrshire 20 rooms from £295

    Tennis  -  An outdoor tennis court, rackets and balls are all available at the hotel
    Fishing  -  Salmon and trout fishing can be organised from the hotel
    Full of character
    Outstanding location
    TennisRestaurantGardenPet friendlyDisabled accessViewsParking
    Recommended by  -  Relais & Chateaux

    A family owned and occupied baronial castle in the south west of Scotland's historic lowlands. Underneath its fairytale turrets and towers there are oak-panelled rooms, rich fabrics and fine antiques, as well as modern award winning cuisine and impeccable service. The perfect country escape. See More

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