Visiting Ayr

Ayr is a port and town on the Firth of Clyde in Scotland's south west. Its population is just under 50,000 and it is the county town of Ayrshire. In 1971 the Ayr bypass was constructed so the town is free of heavy traffic. The railway station has half hourly services to Glasgow and there are regular services to Girvan, Stranraer and Kilmarnock as well as to Newcastle in north east England.

Glasgow Airport lies around 35 miles away and Europe, the USA and the Middle East can easily be reached from here. The town also has air links to European cities from Glasgow Prestwick International Airport located just two miles from Ayr and linked by the A79. (An interesting fact is that Prestwick's Airport is the only place in Britain to have been visited by Elvis Presley!) Ayr is also only 35 miles away from Glasgow Airport which operates further international destinations to Europe, America and the Middle East.

Good access can be obtained to ferry services which operate mainly to Northern Ireland. P&O ferries sail from Troon, which is only 5 miles from Ayr, to Larne in Ireland. Trains depart every half an hour from Ayr to Troon.

A holiday town, Ayr looks over the stunning panoramic Firth. The Mull of Kintyre is its backdrop and the majestic peaks of the Arran mountains are on the other side of the river. Small wonder then that Robbie Burns, Scotland's Bard, found inspiration here for some of his finest work.

Most landmarks are old in Ayr but the town has kept abreast of the times not only for its own people but also for those who choose to holiday here.

This is golfing country and Prestwick, to the north, is as famous for golf as for aviation. The county of Ayrshire has unspoiled scenery both on its coast and inland. The countryside has Bronze Age relics as well as those from Viking battles.

The sandy beach at Ayr has a popular esplanade. Day trippers and joggers enjoy it very much. The Citadel is a popular family-orientated leisure centre. Opened in 1997, it is located at the mouth of the river at the South Harbour area. The main hall can accommodate basketball, netball, volleyball, indoor hockey, badminton and five-a-side football. Exhibitions and concerts are also hosted as well as trade fairs and awards ceremonies. There is also a large dance studio mainly used for dance and exercise but also for drama workshops and martial arts. In fact, sport is extremely popular in this part of Scotland and the British Open Golf Championship takes place at nearby Troon.

Ayr is bang up to date when it comes to cuisine. Fouter's Restaurant near the town centre boasts two AA rosettes and is friendly yet sophisticated. A short drive takes you to Enterkine Country House which has an excellent restaurant said to be one of Scotland's best. If pubs are more your style, try The Ship Inn at nearby Irvine. The pub dates back 200 years and won Scotland's best pub award in 2005. Food is excellent and prices very reasonable.

Attractions abound in this area. The story of the Vikings in Scotland is told at The Vikingar! Experience. Meet the Viking God of War, Odin and go with him to his world of Vikings, 700 years ago. Kelburn Castle, probably the oldest in Scotland, has a variety of attractions for children set within its grounds. Robert Burns, or Rabbie as he is known, was born in a small cottage in this region over 200 years ago. His literary genius was inspired by his formative years which were spent in Ayrshire.

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