We loved our winter trip around Ayrshire with kids and really got to explore the whole region. Here are our top 10 things to do in Ayrshire with kids (check out our rainy day options below too).
Top 10 things to do in Ayrshire with kids
1. Culzean Castle and adventure playground
Culzean Castle has a dramatic setting, right on the cliffs overlooking the beaches below. Visitors can look around during the summer months or the huge grounds are open year round. The very best part of Culzean is its absolutely wonderful adventure playground. This huge wooden wonderland contains turrets, dungeons, towers and ramparts and is fantastic for imaginative play.
Read more about Culzean Castle here.
2. Robert Burns house and museum
We fell in love with the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum and there’s plenty here to keep kids enthralled. The museum itself is really interactive and fun, the cottage is incredibly evocative and it’s such an insight into seven year old Robert Burns life at the time he lived here and there’s also an amazing playground all based around Burns’s poetry at the back of the museum. With a lovely cafe packed full of great Scottish food it’s the perfect place to come and stay a while.
Read more about Robert Burns Birthplace Museum here.
Rainy day option
3. Riding Clydesdale Horses
Clydesdale horses are unique to this part of Scotland and are just beautiful animals. We visited the Blackstone Farm where you can take trips out on the horses in fair weather. On rainy days you can still feed the animals and take a tour around to learn about why this particular breed is so special.
Read more about the Blackstone Clydesdale horses here.
4. Cycling on Great Cumbrae
We fell in love with Great Cumbrae, a picturesque little island off of the main coast of Scotland. To hire bikes and cycle around it is one of the best ways to properly see it and you can spot seals and otters from its shores. There are a few shops and cafes and it is just a wonderful way to feel unplugged and to take in the setting of beautiful Ayrshire.
5. Scottish Maritime Museum
The Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine is a real gem. The main part of the museum is jam-packed with the history of the area and its relationship with the sea and has plenty of interactive activities for kids. There’s an amazing cafe and plenty to explore. My favourite part though was the reconstructed tenement the museum own and which you can take tours of to give you a glimpse of life in this little town in the early 20th century. We absolutely loved it.
Read more about the Scottish Maritime Museum here.
Rainy day option
6. Kelburn Castle and Country Estate
Kelburn Castle is one of those places that works no matter what the weather. On sunny days the grounds here are absolutely beautiful and there’s a secret forest and adventure course you can enjoy in the summer months. When it’s wintertime you can have access to the grounds with its fun play barn which is a great place for kids to burn off some energy.
Read more about Kelburn Castle here.
Rainy day option
Ayrshire is absolutely full of beautiful beaches from those you can stretch out on the sand on to the craggy versions that are perfect for rockpooling. Scottish beaches are just beautiful and there are a number of gorgeous ones in the area including Ayr, Troon, Dunure, Seamill and Croy Shore (Culzean Bay). There’s something very evocative about this part of the world and its relationship with the sea.
8. Star gazing
The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory, about 30 minutes outside of Ayr, is one of the best places in the country to star gaze. Without the ambient light glow from towns or cities the sky here is absolutely magical. Look out for specific family friendly star-gazing sessions as the main version may feel a bit worthy for little ones, it’s nonetheless amazing to see the sky looking so wonderful.
Read more about the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory here.
9. Dumfries House and playground
Dumfries House is one of Britain’s most beautiful stately home which was thankfully saved by Prince Charles in 2007. The house is set in 2000 acres of land is a special play to explore with older children but there is also lots for younger kids with an Education Farm, a maze and a wonderful adventure playground. When we visited there was also a lovely artisan food market taking place here.
Read more about Dumfries House here.
10. Dean Castle
Dean Castle, on the outskirts of Kilmarnock is another great place all the family will love. It has a new visitor centre and cafe and the castle itself is undergoing major refurbishment (Outlander fans may recognise it). The playground here is so sweet with lots to keep kids occupied (check out the musical play equipment too). Best of all you might spot a deer or two here.
Read more about Dean Castle here.
We hope you like our suggestions and find them useful. Let us know if you visit any of them or have any suggestions of others we should include and if you’re heading to Ayrshire read our full feature on our winter trip to Ayrshire with kids.