History of Ayrshire & Arran

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In this wonderful part of the world, you can uncover a different century every day with the Neolithic standing stones on Arran’s Machrie Moor, the 18th century Dumfries House and the ancient ruins of Turnberry Castle, considered to be the birthplace of Robert the Bruce in 1274.

Ayrshire & Arran has nurtured some of the finest Scottish heroes who have gone on to influence many of Scotland’s key events and subsequently changed the future of the nation.

William Wallace spent his formative years in Ayrshire and the grand Wallace Tower stands proudly in the centre of Ayr High Street. Born in Ellerslie, William Wallace was an early exponent of the art of guerilla warfare, laying the foundations later completed by Robert the Bruce, who is thought to have been born at the majestic Turnberry Castle, which is today a ruin.  

Ayrshire & Arran also has strong links with another Scottish icon, Robert Burns. All across Ayrshire you can discover fascinating tributes to the life and work of Scotland’s National Bard. Check out the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway, a world-class attraction that houses the most important Burns collection in the world.

What’s more, this region is home to castles galore, from wonderful stately residences to dramatic historic ruins. Visit one of Scotland’s best loved castles, Culzean, which is perched on a cliff-top overlooking Ailsa Craig and the Firth of Clyde, and take a tour of Dumfries House, one of Scotland’s most beautiful stately homes. Nestled in the heart of Kilmarnock, Dean Castle boasts a beautiful country park covering 200 acres.

The beautiful Isle of Arran, often referred to as ‘Scotland in Miniature’ can provide a wonderful historic odyssey, all in one day. Check out the haunting standing stones on Machrie Moor that date back to Neolithic times. Complete your tour of Ayrshire & Arran’s history and heritage tour with the wonderful Brodick Castle and the nearby Arran Heritage Museum.

  • Machrie Moor stone circle
    Machrie Moor stone circle
  • Culzean Castle
    Culzean Castle
  • Exterior of Brodick Castle which is floodlit at night, the Isle of Arran
    Brodick Castle, Isle of Arran
Burns storytelling festival at the Brig o' Doon

Timeline

Take a look through this timeline and discover more about the intriguing history of Ayrshire & Arran.

Culzean Castle

Castle trail

Use this handy itinerary to explore the wide range of ancient castles in Ayrshire & Arran.

View of Culzean Castle on its clifftop overlooking the Firth of Clyde

Historic attractions

Ayrshire & Arran's history covers hundreds of years of social and political change which has helped shape a nation’s future.

Burns storytelling festival at the Brig o' Doon

Robert Burns

Learn more about Robert Burns, Scotland’s National Bard, who in a short but fascinating life made a lasting mark that sees him revered the world over.