Home to Scotland’s National Bard and the father of the modern biography, Ayrshire & Arran is a region that boasts countless literary connections.
Born and bred in Ayrshire, the history, heritage and poetry of Scotland’s favourite son, Robert Burns is widely celebrated throughout Ayrshire & Arran. Head to one of the many Burns attractions, enjoy a week-long tribute festival or attend a magnificent Burns Night and explore a region that helped define the life and works of Scotland’s National Bard.
Visit the new world-class Robert Burns Birthplace Museum which houses the most important Burns collection in the world. Admire the white-washed cottage where the young poet was born, the spectacular Burns Monument which offers amazing views of the gardens and then Brig o’ Doon, the late medieval bridge from Tam o’ Shanter. Afterwards, make sure you leave time to visit the Bachelors’ Club he established in 1780 in Tarbolton, then travel to nearby Mauchline for the Burns House Museum and Poosie Nancy’s Tavern. For more Burns, check out the Irvine Vennel Gallery and Souter Johnnie’s cottage.
You can uncover Burns’ legacy even further by attending the Burns an’ a’ that! Festival, where many of Ayrshire’s top venues pay tribute to the Auld Lang Syne author. Make sure you sample Scotland’s national dish, haggis, on Burns Night, or at one of the many restaurants, cafés and pubs throughout Ayrshire & Arran.
Continue your exploration of Ayrshire & Arran’s literary connections and head to the Boswell Book Festival which takes place in May. Renowned as the father of the modern biography, the festival takes place in Auchinleck, in the grounds of his former home and boasts a wide range of guest authors and chances to see Boswell’s study and library.
The beautiful island of Arran is rich in literary connections from the modern plays and poems by Robert MacLellan to the setting for the supernatural thriller Deadlight (1968) by Archie Roy. Arran was also the birthplace of novelist George Douglas Brown, author of The House with the Green Shutters and his birthplace is marked by a plaque on Ochiltree Main Street.