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How to spend 48 hours in Ayrshire and Arran

By Dominic Ryan

Whether it’s a weekend break or a mid-week treat, 48 hours in Ayrshire and Arran is a guaranteed feast for all the senses. Try our suggested itinerary for the perfect whirlwind adventure!

Day one


Fuelled first by a traditional Ayrshire bacon roll for breakfast, start your two-day adventure by exploring Ayrshire’s coastline and countryside. From the coastal town of Girvan, hop on a bike and follow the inland cycle network that meanders beside the course of the River Girvan to Maybole. From here, loop back towards the coast, exploring historic gems such as Crossraguel Abbey, Turnberry and the incredible Culzean Castle, set high atop the Ayrshire Cliffs. After a well-deserved picnic lunch in Culzean’s pristine formal gardens, head north to Alloway, the birthplace of Robert Burns.

Oval-staircase-Culzean-Castle-48 hours

The oval staircase inside the beautiful Culzean Castle

The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum is a fascinating tribute to Scotland’s most revered poet, where visitors can explore the famous Burns Cottage and Memorial Gardens, as well as peruse some of his most important artefacts, manuscripts and letters. As evening approaches, there is no better place to take in a spectacular west-coast sunset than Troon beach.

Ease cycle-weary muscles with a paddle in the sea, before finding a prime spot to enjoy the fading light. And why not end your first day in Ayrshire with a fish feast in one of Troon’s many seafood restaurants, where fresh, locally-sourced produce is always catch of the day?

Day two


Heading to nearby Ardrossan Harbour and catching an early ferry to Arran will ensure you make the most of one day on the island. At just under an hour long, the crossing is a sightseeing treat in its own right, with dolphins and whales often spotted. Arriving at Brodick, fuel up for a day of island exploring with breakfast in one of the numerous cafes and tearooms dotted around town.

Slightly north of the village lies Brodick Castle, a beautifully-maintained National Trust site. Here you can take a tour of the grand baronial castle, wander through the gardens and explore the woodland trails on the estate, while enjoying coastal views and wildlife spotting opportunities.

After such an arduous day of cycling in Ayrshire, Arran is the perfect place to unwind today and enjoy the gentler pace island life affords – and what better way to do that than to sample some of the local libations? A short stroll back to Brodick leads to the Arran Brewery, where visitors can enjoy a tour and taste of some local craft ales.

An afternoon of pampering is always a good idea, and Auchrannie Resort – only one mile from Brodick – is the perfect place to indulge yourself, with various spa treatments available. Refreshed and invigorated, head north by car or bus to Lochranza, where the delights of the Arran Distillery are just waiting to be sampled. Enjoy some world-class drams and learn about the fascinating history of the island’s only whisky distillery. A late lunch in the Casks Cafe is a must for foodies, with local island meats, cheeses and other goodies on offer.

Lochranza Castle

If you’re lucky you might spot some of the local wildlife at Lochranza

Finish your Arran adventure with a sunset wander along the shores of Lochranza. With its imposing ruined but ever romantic castle, picturesque harbour and wildlife aplenty, it’s a fitting and relaxing end to an action-packed 48 hours in the region.

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Image credits: ©Craig McLachlan/Unsplash; JJava/Adobestock;; Visit Scotland/Kenny Lam

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