Ayrshire

Lowlands & Islands

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Overview

From Largs, enjoy the coastline on your way to Portencross Castle. From Ardrossan take the ferry to Brodick on the Isle of Arran to see Goat Fell, Lochranza Castle and the Machrie Moor standing stones. Returning to Kilmarnock on the mainland, visit Catrine, Troon Beach and the championship golf course to arrive in Ayr.

Largs

Overlooking the Firth of Clyde with the Isles of Cumbrae a mile offshore, this seaside resort, complete with Victorian promenade, is the site of a defeat of the Vikings in 1263. The event is celebrated at Vikingar!, a multi-media attraction and at the annual Largs Viking Festival, with battle re-enactments and living history displays.

Portencross Castle

Set on a rocky headland looking over the Firth of Clyde, Portencross Castle is a 14th century fortified tower built by the Boyd family at a strategic boundary. Standing close to Farland Head, the coastal views are superb, taking in the islands of Great and Little Cumbrae to the north, Bute to the north west, and the Arran to the west.

Ardrossan

An historic port town boasting two long sandy beaches, formerly shipbuilding was important now it is a ferry port for the Isle of Arran and a marina - the crossing takes 55 minutes.

Brodick

The town sits on gateway to the Isle of Arran with views over Brodick Bay, and Goat Fell, the highest point on Arran. It is home to Arran Heritage Museum and close to the Brodick Castle. For the adventurous it is the start of the Arran Coastal Way with its beautiful scenery and views.

Lochranza castle

The ruins of the castle enjoy a great location on a spit of land projecting out into Loch Ranza. The castle you see today is an L-shaped tower house with a single small entrance facing west towards the spit. During the 1490s it was used as a base from which James IV could attack the Lords of the Isles, and Cromwell's troops occupied it in the 1650s.

Machrie Moor

With the remains of no less than six stone circles, Machrie Moor is a major archealogical site on Arran. Accessible by walking the several groups of atmospheric standing stones are set amongst the bleak moorland. The circles date to perhaps 1600BC and feature some stones 5m high.

Kilmarnock

Kilmarnock, once the home of Johnnie Walker and now the home of the largest Burns monument in Scotland in Kay Park. The historic cobbled Bank Street and John Finnie Street, boasting fine examples of provincial Victorian architecture, are at its core. Dean Castle and Country Park offer a fantastic day out for all the family with a programme of events and exhibitions throughout the year.

Troon Beach

Troon is a small seaside town with a bustling fishing harbour, marina and ferry port framed by a curving bay with a long sweeping stretch of sand and popular esplanade. It has views across to the Isle of Arran and Ailsa Craig. Also home to Royal Troon an open championship golf course venue and one of seven golf courses locally.

Catrine

This small village nestles in the River Ayr valley from and was once was a bustling centre of cotton mills and now offers fishing during the season as well as pleasant river walks. A short distance away is the 18th century Palladian designed Dumfries House by Robert Adam with an extensive Chippendale collection and set in 2,000 acres of parkland and gardens.

Ayr

The popular seaside resort has a charming sea front esplanade, historic racecourse and a long sandy beach. Robert Burns, was born in 1759 in nearby Alloway and you can see the modest home: follow in the footsteps of Tam o’ Shanter by visiting atmospheric Auld Kirk and the Brig o’ Doon bridge; and see the classically styled Burns Monument and the Burns Museum.

Overview

1

Largs

2
8.6 miles

Portencross Castle

3
5.9 miles

Ardrossan

4
14.8 miles

Brodick

5
14.2 miles

Lochranza castle

6
13.4 miles

Machrie Moor

7
40.8 miles

Kilmarnock

8
10.4 miles

Troon Beach

9
17.0 miles

Catrine

10
14.9 miles

Ayr

What to see and do…

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About the Lowlands & Islands Trail

Distance:140 miles
Cities / Towns:10
Number Of Businesses:0

Starting just south of Glasgow at Largs the trail takes in the sweeping coastline to Ardrossan including Portencross Castle. At Ardrossan take the short ferry to Brodick on the Isle of Arran to explore the scenery around Goat Fell and the history at Lochranza Castle and the Machrie Moor standing stones. Then back on the mainland head to Kilmarnock, Catrine including Dumfries House and Ayr taking in the delights of Troon Beach and the championship golf course along the way.

Isle of Arran

The atmospheric island is just a 55 minute sea crossing away and whether you fancy the 107 miles of the Arran Coastal way, explore historic stone circles, Lochranza castle or the bleak beauty of Goat Fell this is a place to uplift the soul.

Golf Anyone?

The sandy coastline that stretches along most of this trail and the relatively mild climate has led to many golf courses. The most famous being the Open Championship course at Royal Troon with its views towards Arran and Ailsa Craig.

Worth Fighting For

The sheltered coastline and sandy beaches made this an easy entry to the area. Largs annually commemorates the successful 1263 battle with Vikings who had regularly invaded. The medieval tower house castles at Portencrosss, Brodick and Lochranza provided some greater protection and jumping off point for battles with the Lords of the Isles and an invasion by Oliver Cromwell.