12 Reasons to make Ayrshire and Arran your place for an Autumn Break
Experience Ayrshire and Arran during October and November for the ultimate escape during the cooler months. With spectacular views, frosty mornings, woodland walks, crisp fresh air, evenings by the open fire, hearty food and cosy accommodation, Ayrshire and Arran offer a wealth of fantastic experiences and places to visit.
The only question is – what will you do first?
1. Heartwarming autumnal comfort foods
Autumn is a time for warming comfort food that gives you a great big hug from the inside out. For foodies visiting The Coig, there are plenty of places you can enjoy local Scottish culinary delights. For welcoming restaurants, inns or pubs try the Lairds Table Restaurant on the beautiful Craufurdland Estate, The Orangery Restaurant in West Kilbride and Fencebay in Fairlie for award-winning Scottish fish and seafood.
2. Cosy retreats and snug winter hideaways
Tuck yourself away on a cosy winter break. There are some very special places to stay, keep your eye out for some great autumn/winter deals. The Douglas Hotel on the Isle of Arran or The Old Loans Inn near Troon provide authentic and charming accommodation, self catering options like Minuntion Cottages near Girvan are kept cosy with log burning stoves. Or if chic and modern decor is your thing, check out Donnini Apartments
3. Autumnal walks in the park
Sweater weather is back but don’t let that stop you from enjoying the great outdoors! There are many beautiful country parks for you to enjoy. Pull on your boots and explore Culzean Castle and Country Park near Maybole, Eglinton Country Park in Kilwinning, the Dumfries House Estate near Cumnock, Dean Castle Country Park in Kilmarnock and the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park.
4. History and heritage
Ayrshire, on the south west coast of Scotland is steeped in history with links to William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, Robert Burns and the Vikings! Visit Loudounhill and the Wallace Monument at Darvel which marks the site of The Battle of Loudoun Hill – fought in 1307 between the English and a Scots force led by King Robert the Bruce. Stop at Glenbuck Heritage Village which celebrates a proud mining history and its famous footballing sons. Experience Ayr using the new ‘Ayr Through the Ages‘ app and follow the Blue Bonnet trail across the town. Outlander fans will recognise Dunure Castle and Viking history is brought to life in Largs.
5. Celebrate St Andrew’s Day
Celebrate Scottish culture and heritage and head to Burns country on The Coig’s Shire route. to find out more about Scotland’s national bard, Burns locations include the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Ayr, the Burns House Museum in Mauchline, the Burns Monument and Memorial Gardens and the Brig O’ Doon in Alloway .
6. Autumnal wildlife spotting
Red Squirrels can be seen throughout Scotland but Loch Doon in East Ayrshire is a great place to spot them. Brodick Castle and Country Park on the Isle of Arran is a stronghold for red squirrels and you will find red deer stags wandering around Lochranza.
Along the River Ayr Way you can expect to see hen harrier, merlin and peregrine. Visit the Ayr Gorge woodlands reserve which is home to otter, badger, red squirrel and deer. Birds that you may see on the river include kingfisher, dipper and grey wagtail. RSPB Lochwinnoch is a an ideal spot to get away from it all and enjoy some amazing wildlife with the family.
7. Outdoor adventures for autumn
With 108 square miles of pure adventure, visit the different sites of the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park where you can walk, cycle, sail or paddle. Head to Castle Semple Country Park for outdoor activities and watersports. For fantastic views and trails visit Loch Doon on the edge of the Galloway Forest Park. Rockpooling and relaxing by the sea? Then the beaches at Seamill, Girvan or Millport are for you!
Elsewhere, Mogabout Arran provide a unique way to explore the Isle of Arran whilst boat tours and adventure experiences are available from Sea Clyde, Alba Experiences or Primal Adventures who offer a 4×4 tour of The Coig.
8. Breathe in the crisp coastal air
The flat expanses of Ayrshire, Arran, Bute and Cumbrae’s beaches are dazzling. You can often enjoy the beach to yourself during the colder months. Long stretches of quiet sandy beaches can be found at Croy, Irvine, Prestwick and Troon and the nearby Ayrshire Coastal Path runs for 100 miles along one of the finest panoramic coastlines in Scotland, all the way from Glenapp to Skelmorlie.
9. Awesome indoor activities
Scotland does have some amazingly clear, crisp and sunny days during autumn but as we all know, there can be the odd damp weather day too! So whether you’re looking for family fun or a culture fix, head for the great indoors and find your perfect indoor retreat for when the weather turns bad. Housed within the vast, glass-roofed Victorian Linthouse, visit the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine, the Dick Institute in Kilmarnock and art-lovers must stop at West Kilbride – Craft Town Scotland, a cultural hub of galleries and studios.
10. Autumnal golf is great!
Ayrshire is one of the best golf destinations in the world, with almost 50 courses to choose from including 5 of the UK’s top 100 courses and 3 Open Championship venues at Turnberry, Royal Troon and the birthplace of The Open at Prestwick. Play links golf, parkland golf or even golf on an island.
With autumn upon us there is still lots of great golf to enjoy so don’t put away the clubs just yet! Golfing amongst the vibrant autumnal colours that line the fairways adds an extra reason to stay and play.
11. Autumn and winter distillery tours
Sample a dram of warming whisky by the roaring log fire or a sip on a refreshing locally produced Scottish G&T whilst you warm your toes. Around The Coig’s routes you will find number of distilleries and we are not only talking whisky! Scottish Gin distilleries are often open to the public for tastings and tours of their premises. Try Arran Gin, Lagg Whisky or Lochranza Distillery. The Isle of Bute and Cumbrae also have their own local Scottish Gin.
12. Star-gazing that is out of this world!
On a clear autumn night, the skies across Ayrshire and the Clyde Islands provides a truly incredible experience. Head to dark sky locations such as Loch Doon, Dunure Castle, Portencross or Goatfell to witness a sky full of stars. The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory near Dalmellington is a wonderful place to learn about and experience the wonders of the dark night sky.
Looking for more adventures?
The Coig’s five routes offer unforgettable experiences around the Clyde Coast and Islands – take a look and plan your next adventure along The Shire, The Shiel, The Arran, The Bute or The Cumbrae!
Check out the VisitScotland website for even more info on all the amazing adventures you can have during your time in Ayrshire and on the Isle of Arran!