Along the Firth of Clyde lie many pretty waterside towns, but none is quite as charming and diverse as Ayr. Born of a rich history stretching back to 1205, Ayr is the largest town in the region with a population of over fifty thousand. Located less than half an hour outside of Glasgow by rail with a centrally located in-town station, the smooth beaches of Ayr are among Scotland's favourite holiday spots
While downtown Ayr is very modern, featuring bustling shopping along a High Street built around a Victorian core fringed with parks, a pocket of the old city exists in a quarter known as the fort district. The fort in question was built by Oliver Cromwell's forces after the 17th
century's Civil War, though little of it still stands. Today this harbour-side district features restaurants, pubs and theatres.
For family-oriented fun right in town there is the Haven Holiday Park. Other notable historical attractions include Greenan Castle (15th
century), Loudoun Hall (16th
century) and St. John's Tower at the remains of the old Burgh Kirk ("city church") where the Scottish Parliament met in 1315 to confirm the succession of the Crown.
Ayr is also the 1759 birthplace of the renowned poetRobbie Burns, author of such lyrical classics as Auld Lang Syne and Coming Thro' the Rye. In Alloway to the south is the Burns National Heritage Park, including the Burns Cottage.
Ayrshire is also the birthplace of the nationalist hero William Wallace, whose grandfather may have been the Sheriff of Ayr. Wallace's forces fought against the English in the town's streets around 1297. The Wallace Tower stands there today.
Home of an annual music festival and the famous Tartan Corners source of authentic plaids, Ayr is a lively cultural cornucopaeia.