The Best Family Days Out in Ayrshire

Ayrshire in southwest Scotland offers plenty of fantastic days out for families, with its beautiful countryside, long coastline and wealth of historic attractions. Here are some of the best places to visit for a memorable family day out in Ayrshire.

Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

No trip to Ayrshire is complete without a visit to the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway. This interactive museum is set in the thatched cottage where Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns was born in 1759, offering a fun and engaging insight into his humble beginnings and rise to fame. Wander through the cottage to see how a poor farming family lived in the 18th century, then head to the modern museum building next door to learn all about Burns’ life through films, artworks and exhibits. Don’t miss the award-winning audio-visual show which brings Burns’ famous poems to life. There are lots of hands-on activities to keep kids entertained, from dressing up in period costumes to composing their own Burns-style poem. And for foster carers working with in nearby Prestwick, it is only a 15-minute drive away.

Culzean Castle

Perched dramatically on the Ayrshire cliffs, the stately turrets of Culzean Castle provide a fairy-tale day out. Owned by the National Trust for Scotland, the castle has fascinating stories to tell, from its 18th-century heyday through to its wartime past. Kids will love exploring the secret staircases, armoury and playpark, while grown-ups can admire Robert Adam’s stunning neoclassical architecture and the extensive gardens. Make sure to wander through the picturesque country park surrounding the castle too, with its secluded beaches, tranquil ponds and dense woodland walks leading to the Eisenhower Apartment within the castle, gifted to General Eisenhower for his role in World War II.

Dumfries House

For a family day out brimming with culture and adventure, Dumfries House is a must-visit. This splendid 18th-century stately home has been carefully restored by The Prince’s Foundation, and its elegant rooms are ornately decorated with original furniture and artworks. Outdoors, kids will love getting back to nature in the huge adventure playground, mammoth towering maze, petting zoo and wildlife discovery centre. Everyone can burn off some energy in the acres of parkland, before refuelling at the on-site cafe using ingredients from the organic walled garden. There’s an intriguing story behind the house’s restoration too, for older kids interested in architecture and design.

Dean Castle Country Park 

Nestled on the outskirts of Kilmarnock, the enchanting Dean Castle provides a wonderful day out with the family surrounded by nature. At the centre lies the 14th-century Dean Castle with its historic treasures, including medieval weapons, porcelain and childhood toys belonging to the Boyd family who once lived here. The surrounding country park is a beautiful place to run around and explore, covering over 200 acres of forest, farmland and riverside walks. Follow the trails to spot wildlife, play in the playground, get lost in the walled garden’s maze, or have a picnic in the meadows surrounded by dramatic Ayrshire scenery. There’s always something new to discover!

With its wealth of historic houses, museums, nature and adventures, Ayrshire has something to offer every family. These attractions provide magical days out the kids will remember forever.

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