Ayrshire Coast, Castles,Gardens & Isle of Arran

Ayrshire Coast, Castles,Gardens & Isle of Arran

Visit Castles, Gardens & the Isle of Arran on this 5 day tour to south west Scotland

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Visit Castles, Gardens & the Isle of Arran on this 5 day tour to south west Scotland

Castle Kennedy Gardens

Magnificent Castle Kennedy Gardens are among the most famous gardens in Scotland. Described as ‘one of the showpieces of Galloway’, it is one of Scotland's most important historical landscaped gardens with its collection of Rhododendrons, Championship Trees and rare species.

75 acres of spectacularly designed loch-side landscape, create a romantic garden paradise with quite literally something for everyone to enjoy – regardless of age. From stunning fauna to beautiful scenery, sculpted landforms, spectacular walks and popular bird hides, the Gardens are a hidden treasure in South West Scotland. The inspiration of the 2nd Earl of Stair in the 1730s, the colourful displays of rhododendrons, azaleas and embothriums and legendary, so too many rare and exotic plants, 20 Champion Trees,  the walled garden, atmospheric avenues and the romantic ruins of 16th Century Castle Kennedy. It has been the family’s honour to create, restore and care for one of Scotland’s hidden treasures for almost 300 years.

 

Ayr

Located 37 miles south west of Glasgow, Ayr is a popular seaside resort, complete with charming sea front and leafy suburbs and a fantastic esplanade with a long sandy beach which is perfect for walking. 

Ayr Racecourse, dating back to the 16th century, runs many Flat and National Hunt meetings throughout the year and is particularly famous as the venue of the Scottish Grand National, the Ayrshire Handicap and the Ayr Gold Cup.

Scotland's national bard, Robert Burns, was born in Alloway, on the outskirts of the town. 

Culzean Castle

Cared for by the National Trust for Scotland. With gardens, beaches, woods, trails and to crown it all, a cliff-top castle of monumental size: there’s no doubt you’ll have a fantastic day out at Culzean. There really is something for all the family in this wildlife-rich 260ha estate, which is opulent to the extreme.

Once the playground of David Kennedy, 10th Earl of Cassillis – a man who was keen to impress with his wealth and status – the park is planted with conifers and beech, sculpted around miles of sandy coastline dotted with caves, and finished off with a Swan Pond, an ice house, flamboyant formal gardens and fruit-filled glasshouses.

The castle itself is perched on the Ayrshire cliffs. It was designed by Robert Adam in the late 18th century and is filled to the turrets with treasures that tell the stories of the people who lived here. Take the guided tour and learn about the best features of the castle, including Adam's masterpiece, the oval staircase, as well as the fine collection of paintings and furniture.

Culzean also has a strong link with President Eisenhower, as the top-floor apartment was presented to him for his lifetime in recognition of his role during World War II.

 

Balloch, Loch Lomond & Lomond Shores

Balloch is an enchanting village on the south-west shores of Loch Lomond and is often referred to as the gateway to the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. 

The restored paddle steamer, the Maid of the Loch, is in residence here, moored at Balloch Pier.  Loch Lomond lies on the Highland Boundary Fault, the loch is 24.5 miles long, is the largest freshwater loch in Scotland and has more than 30 islands, the largest of which is Inchmurrin. The Loch Lomond and Trossachs area of Scotland was awarded National Park status in July 2002. A popular leisure destination located between the lowlands of central Scotland and the Highlands.

Lomond Shores is a stunning visitor destination set on the southern tip of Loch Lomond. With views up the Loch to Ben Lomond, the scenery is amazing, visit the lovely shops, great aquarium, have lunch or refreshments in one of the eateries, or simply sit back and relax. With a great selection of activities on and off the water, there is fun for every taste.

 

Isle of Arran

The Isle of Arran, Scotland is one of the most southerly Scottish island and sits in the Firth of Clyde between Ayrshire and Kintyre. Arran is 19 miles long by 10 miles wide but has a remarkable diversity of landscapes and seascapes.

The pretty villages on Arran's beautiful coastline are complemented by a rugged and mountainous interior in the north and green rolling hills and woodland in the south.

 

Drumlanrig Castle

Drumlanrig Castle is situated on the Queensberry Estate in Dumfries and Galloway. The category A listed castle is the Dumfriesshire home of the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry.

The 'Pink Palace' of Drumlanrig,  constructed between 1679 and 1689 from distinctive pink sandstone, is an example of late 17th-century Renaissance architecture. The first Duke of Queensberry, William Douglas, had the castle built on the site of an ancient Douglas stronghold overlooking the Nith Valley. The castle has 120 rooms, 17 turrets and four towers and houses the internationally renowned Buccleuch Art Collection. There's over 40 acres of enchanting gardens and a wide range of activities including walking, mountain biking and wildlife watchin. The stableyard houses the Stableyard Studio and cafe.

Day 1

A morning departure from Cumbria as we head north to Dumfries and then on via Castle Douglas and Newton Stewart to Castle Kennedy Gardens, here we have an included visit to one of Scotlands best gardens. Castle Kennedy Gardens are surrounded by water and comprise 75 acres of delights, including a two acre circular lily pond, rare and exotic plants, the colourful displays of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and embothriums are among the most stunning found anywhere in the UK. We leave late afternoon for the journey north to Troon and our hotel the South Beach. Dinner in the hotel.

D

Day 2

This morning we have time for a coffee in the seaside resort of Ayr, before an included visit to Culzean Castle. Situated in a 242 acre estate, Culzean Castle has a dramatic clifftop setting with stunning views of the Ayrshire Coast. Visit the romantic 18th century castle and explore the flamboyant formal gardens. We return to Troon for dinner.

B, D

Day 3

We have a coastal drive north along the picturesque Clyde coast and over Erskine Bridge on our way to Balloch at the foot of Loch Lomond. Here we have an included 1 hour boat cruise before visiting the Loch Lomond Shores visitor centre. Dinner on our return to Troon.

B, D

Day 4

Today we have a full day visit to the Isle of Arran. Known as ‘Scotland in Miniature’ Arran has an unrivalled range of landscapes, covering the whole spectrum of Scottish scenery in one delightfully compact package. We include a visit to baronial Broddick Castle & Gardens with stunning views over the Firth of Clyde. Final dinner at the South Beach Hotel.

B, D

Day 5

After breakfast we leave our hosts at the South Beach Hotel and head south to visit the Renaissance styled Drumlanrig Castle & Gardens. Built in 1691 by the Duke of Queensberry & brimming with centuries old heritage and culture. Set in an 80,000 acre estate with Country Park and landscaped Victorian gardens. We depart mid afternoon for the remainder of our journey home to Cumbria.

B

B=Breakfast Included, D=Dinner Included

South Beach Hotel

The 3* South Beach Hotel is located in a wonderful location close to the beach and Royal Troon Golf Club in the seaside town of Troon on Scotland's west coast.

The hotel is a privately owned and family run hotel situated close to the town centre.

The hotel has 32 en-suite, superbly furnished bedrooms, many of which enjoy outstanding sea views with Arran and the Ailsa Craig on the horizon. The hotel offers a range of twin and double recently refurbished bedrooms, each room features a TV, radio and tea/coffee for guests to enjoy, hairdryer and a telephone.

The beach front Conservatory Restaurant offers the very best in casual dining with a menu choice to suit every taste and takes great pride in its food, sourcing local produce where possible and using only the freshest ingredients.

The refurbished Millers Bar serves freshly prepared dishes from its bar menu, made from local Ayrshire produce. Guests can dine in the conservatory overlooking the beach, or enjoy drinks in the garden in warmer weather.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Name Address Contact Details
Appleby The Sands Appleby
Aspatria Car Park beside Spar Aspatria
Brough Monument Bus Shelter Brough
Carlisle Entrance to Sands Centre Car Park Carlisle
Cockermouth Monument Main Street Cockermouth
Dearham Commercial Corner Dearham
Distington Outside Prospect Works Distington
Egremont Conservative Club Egremont
Flimby Railway Station Flimby
Harrington Galloping Horse bus stop Harrington
High Hesket Palmerstons Furniture Store
Keswick Bell Close Car Park Keswick
Kirkby Stephen Market Square Kirkby Stephen
Maryport Outside Coop Maryport
Penrith Sandgate Bus Station Penrith
Thursby Bus Stop Thursby
Waverton Bus Stop Waverton
Whitehaven Old Bus Station Whitehaven
Wigton Old Bus Station Wigton
Workington Lay By opposite Grahams Travel Jane St. Workington
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