Souter Johnnie's Cottage

Historic Buildings & Homes

Main Road, Kirkoswald, South Ayrshire, KA19 8HY

    Visit the fascinating cottage of the original Souter Johnnie, situated in Kirkoswald near the south west coast of Scotland.

    The home of John Davidson, who was the original Souter Johnnie in Robert Burns' famous poem Tam O' Shanter contains period furniture, Burns relics and a reconstructed souter’s workshop.

    Scottish literature comes to life in this 18th-century thatched cottage in the heart of Kirkoswald. The house also offers a taste of how the Davidson family would have lived and worked – inside the cottage there is a reconstructed shoemaking workshop crammed with Souter Johnnie’s original tools, as well as living quarters with period furniture.

    In the attractive garden behind the cottage is a restored thatched alehouse. This is home to beautiful life-size statues of Tam o' Shanter, Souter Johnnie, the Innkeeper and the Innkeeper's Wife from the poem Tam o' Shanter, which were carved in sandstone in the 1830s by the sculptor James Thom.

    In 1789 Burns was asked to produce a witch tale to accompany a picture of Auld Kirk Alloway in the book Antiquities of Scotland. His response was a poem regarded by many as his masterpiece: Tam o' Shanter. The story was based on an old legend about two Ayrshire farmers who spent too long drinking and on their way home saw witches dancing with the devil in the ruined Kirk at Alloway.

    3 Historic House
    Green Tourism Bronze
    Opening Times
    2016 Opening Times
    1 Apr 2016 - 30 Sep 2016

    23 March to 30 September, Fri-Tue, 11.30-5


    • Shop There is a small area selling general NTS souvenirs and Robert Burns books.


    • Parking There is a small local authority car park (not NTS) at the south end of the village, 150m from the cottage, or various laybys (free parking) on the main road opposite the cottage.


    • Picnic Area

    Public Transport Directions

    Kirkoswald is on the A77 trunk road, a little over an hour’s drive south-west of Glasgow.

    It is accessible by bus from both Ayr and Maybole (both of which are served by national rail services) and from Culzean Castle.

    It is a short drive from Culzean Castle or from the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.

    Transport within Scotland

    For public transport information to visit here from within Scotland, enter your postcode and visit date below.

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