Waxing poetic about birthplace of the Bard
With its mix of history, heritage and fabulous amenities, Ayrshire is a great place to call home
THE combination of stunning scenery and thriving towns and villages continues to draw people to Ayrshire. The region is a diverse mix of countryside and coastline, busy high streets and tiny villages, rolling hills and rich woodland. Homebuyers flock to Ayrshire because it offers a relaxed lifestyle in a spectacular natural environment.
One of its main strengths is its accessibility – it might feel like a million miles from the busy city centres of Glasgow and Edinburgh but thanks to excellent road and rail links, it is within easy reach of both. The encouraging growth in the new homes market has helped bring more families to Ayrshire, attracted by a mix of good schools and impressive leisure facilities, plus its thriving arts and cultural scene.
The new Ayrshire College – formed following the merger of Kilmarnock College, Ayr College and the Kilwinning campus of James Watt College – means the area has a dynamic new further education institution.
There is plenty to do in the area, whether you are interested in history, outdoor pursuits or shopping.
There are opportunities for walking, fishing and sailing around the Ayrshire coast, while the area is rich in golf courses and more familyfriendly pursuits such as ponytrekking and cycling.
There are numerous sites related to Robert Burns dotted around Ayrshire, such as the Bachelors’ Club in Tarbolton, Glasgow Vennel in Irvine and the Burns House Museum in Mauchline.
The Burns National Heritage Park in Alloway is a collection of key Burns-related sites including the birthplace of the Bard, Burns Cottage.
Nearby is the Auld Kirk of Alloway, where Burns’ father is buried, and the Brig O’Doon, over which Tam and his horse Meg escape in the famous poem Tam O’Shanter.
There is more to the history and heritage of Ayrshire than Burns, of course, with ancient castles and stunning country parks and gardens to explore.
Retail lovers are spoilt for choice. Ayr offers a mix of shopping malls and high street names, while a stroll around Troon, Largs and Prestwick can unearth some fantastic one-offs. Contemporary homewares, art galleries and quirky gift shops rub shoulders with designer outlets and bigname brands.
Investment and regeneration continues to boost town centres such as Kilmarnock, Ardrossan, Saltcoats and Stevenston, while there is a great range of factory outlets scattered across the region including the chance to snap up good deals on lace, in Newmilns and Darvel, knitwear in Galston and Cumnock and crystal in Mauchline.
There is an exciting restaurant and nightlife scene in Ayrshire, covering top class hotels offering fine dining, traditional cafés, contemporary bistros and friendly pubs.