Ayrshire

Irish Sea Coast

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Overview

From Cumnock enjoy Dumfries House as you head south along the coast to the ruins of Greenan and Dunure castles. Enjoy the optical illusion at Electric Brae before exploring the architecture of Maybole, the splendour of Culzean Castle and the magic of Turnberry and Ballantrae.

Cumnock

At the centre is the Old Church, built in 1867 and the Mercat Cross, which dates back to 1703. 2 miles from the town is Dumfries House, a Palladian country house and estate. Noted for retaining much of its original 18th-century Thomas Chippendale furniture. The arboretum is home to 500 trees and a plethora of unique species.

Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

Walk around the village of Alloway and see the modest cottage where Burns was born in 1759; follow in the footsteps of Tam o’ Shanter by visiting atmospheric Alloway Auld Kirk and the Brig o’ Doon bridge; and see the classically styled Burns Monument, set in luscious rose gardens and the Burns Museum.

Greenan Castle

The ruins of a 16th-century tower house, possibly on the site of an ancient fort, perched on a rocky promontory. Beside the tower are traces of a walled courtyard and outbuildings with commanding views of the beach and sea - a good destination for a walk along the beach.Greenan Castle

Dunure Castle

The A719 takes a scenic coastal route with superb views out to the Isle of Arran and Ailsa Craig. A detour along a minor road takes you to the pretty village and the harbour of Dunure with its ruined castle. The ruins of the castle stand on a rocky promontory overlooking the village set in the Kennedy Park grasslands.

Electric Brae

Having turned inland, the road descends along a quarter mile stretch of road known locally as Croy Brae. Or does it? Stop in the layby. Once stopped, experience the illusion and release your handbrake. You get the very odd sensation of starting to roll uphill, back towards the corner and the sea.

Maybole

An old town with fine buildings along the High Street and Cassillis Street including Maybole Castle built in 1560 and standing by the roadside. The parish church was built in 1808 of striking orange stone, but what really sets the church apart is its very odd square spire comprising six steps

Culzean Castle

Dating from 1777 this Robert Adams masterpiece stands on a basaltic cliff, beneath which are the Coves of Culzean, once the retreat of outlaws and a resort of the fairies. With formal gardens and woodland the country park provides a perfect setting for the House and its many treasures and follies.

Turnberry

A village famous for its iconic golf course which is one of the best in the world and home to two championship courses and a Links Golf Academy. On the coast is Turnberry Lighthouse, built in 1873 and the ruins of Turnberry Castle, thought to be the birthplace of Robert the Bruce in 1274 while the granite island of Ailsa Craig, home to 40,000 gannets, is ten miles offshore.

Ballantrae

An attractive coastal village dominated by the ruins of Ardstinchar Castle, once home to the Kennedys of Bargany. The village offers great fishing opportunities not only in the River Stinchar at the mouth of which Ballantrae is situated, but in the many rivers and lochs nearby.

Overview

1

Cumnock

2
16.5 miles

Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

3
2.0 miles

Greenan Castle

4
6.0 miles

Dunure Castle

5
2.4 miles

Electric Brae

6
4.5 miles

Maybole

7
5.0 miles

Culzean Castle

8
5.4 miles

Turnberry

9
18.5 miles

Ballantrae

What to see and do…

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About the Irish Sea Coast Trail

Distance:60 miles
Cities / Towns:9
Number Of Businesses:0

Starting at Cumnock and taking in the opportunity to see Dumfries House the trail heads south along the coast taking in the ruins of Greenan and Dunure castles. Take a moment to pause at Electric Brae and feel the optical illusion before exploring the architecture of Maybole, the magnificence of Culzean Castle and the more relaxing delights of Turnberry and Ballantrae. The views across the Firth of Clyde and the long unspoilt beaches make this fine walking country.

Coastal Walks

The 100 mile Ayrshire Coastal Path stretches from Ballantrae to Largs and the southern section runs along one of the finest panoramic coastlines in the British Isles. Against the backdrop of the ever-changing profile of the mountains of Arran across the Firth of Clyde, this coastline is steeped in history and teeming with wildlife with small fishing villages, castle ruins and other sites to explore.

Optical Illusions

Electric Brae is now just a layby on the road to Maybole. It looks like the road descends but take off the handbrake and the car rolls in the “wrong” direction. The layby was provided so that drivers didn’t just stop in the road and test out the experience to the consternation of other road users.

Stately Homes

Both Dumfries House and Culzean Castle are magnificent properties set in acres of formal gardens and woodland, home to collections of Chippendale furniture, paintings and militaria. The former was rescued with aid from the Prince of Wales Trust and the latter owned by the National Trust for Scotland features the sweeping oval staircase by Robert Adam.