A short hop from the city of Glasgow, Ayrshire is a historic crescent-shaped area of the southwest coast of Scotland. Meeting the Firth of Clyde, it’s a jumping-off point for some picturesque islands and home to sandy beach resorts including Ayr, Largs, Troon and Irvine. Slightly further inland, it’s a rich farming region, with an array of locally grown produce that can be sampled in Ayrshire’s restaurants and hotels. Attractions here include the Scottish Maritime Museum, the National Trust’s Culzean Castle and Robert Burns’ Birthplace Museum. These are our favourite places to stay in Ayrshire.
Hidden within 110 acres of Italian gardens and woodland outside of Ballantrae, this hotel lies close to the Ayrshire coastline. A late 19th-century baronial castle, it was first intended as the family seat for the Earl of Inchcape and holds a significant claim to fame – Winston Churchill was said to have discussed the D-Day landings while staying here in the 1940s. Pursuits for the well-heeled are a speciality – shooting, fishing and falconry, as well as tennis and croquet. Inside, guests can relax beside log fires, feast on six-course meals and peruse enormous wine lists. 21 guest-rooms offer a period feel filled with antiquities and panelled or marble bathrooms include Penhaligon toiletries.
Trump Turnberry Hotel
This landmark hotel was built in 1906 and stil retains an old-world charm. Its 800 acres encompass two championship golf courses and look out toward Ireland – which you can just make out on a clear day. Elegant and classic with plenty of nods to its Scottish home, the grand hotel also has a golf academy, jogging trails, an ESPA spa, a a 65-ft glass-walled pool, a kids’ club and 198 rooms. The main restaurant is named after the year of Turnberry’s inception, with an additional lounge for refind afternoon teas, a bar and clubhouse. If you’re marking a significant occasion, book the unique two-bedded Lighthouse Suite.