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Paddleboarding in Southern Ayrshire
© Barry Dawson / Ayrshire & Arran Tourism Group

Outdoors

7 Amazing Outdoor Adventures to Experience in Ayrshire

Fancy a weekend outdoors? It's time to leave the comfort of your own home for a new adventure! From wet and wild water experiences, including kayaking and canyoning, to making furry friends on the farm, Ayrshire makes for some of the most memorable family days out.

Luckily, we've planned it all out for you with this three-day itinerary complete with some of the best spots to visit within the region. Enjoy!

Transport

Car Walk

Days

3

Miles

113

Route

Within Ayrshire

Highlights

Watersport activities, adorable farm animals, amazing constellations, treetop adventures, museums, and gardens.

Areas Covered

West

Day 1

overview

Water sports and stargazing

Your first day in Ayrshire will be one to remember. The region is a real paradise when it comes to water sports adventurers with its fun, thrilling and unique experiences. Choose from stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking or if you're feeling brave enough, try your hand at canyoning. For an unforgettable night-time experience, head to Dalmellington to see some of the darkest skies in the UK, you'll no doubt be feeling starry-eyed!
  • Miles

    1

  • Km

    1.6

  • Stops

    2

  • Transport

    Car Walk

Craigengillan Estate

Do you want to mix your love of the water with adrenaline-fuelled activities? If the answer is yes, then a visit to Craigengillan Estate is on the cards. With activities run by Active Outdoor Pursuits, there is never a dull moment for watersport enthusiasts, ranging from beginners and experts to everyone in between! Take on the twists and turns of Doon and Bogton Loch or Loch Doon with a kayaking session, enjoy the waves and rapids of white water rafting while you take in the beautiful Ayrshire landscape along the River Nith or if you're willing to push yourself to the limit, try canyoning. You'll experience swimming through remote gorges, abseil down waterfalls and go zip-lining into icy pools.

Looking for something tamer? Test your balance with stand-up paddle boarding and feel like you are floating on water.

Dalmellington

The fun doesn't stop when the sun sets in Ayrshire. Freshen up and enjoy the wonders of the night sky at Dalmellington. Just a 15-minute walk from Craigengillan Estate, enjoy an evening in the town and spend the night looking up at the sky's universal beauty. Pack your binoculars!

Day 2

overview

Exploring South and East Ayrshire

We're staying on dry land today but we're only just getting started with our outdoor adventure. Get ready for another action-packed day filled with adorable farm animals, a history lesson on Scotland's National Bard and explore up in the branches with fun, treetop obstacle courses.
  • Miles

    42

  • Km

    67

  • Stops

    3

  • Transport

    Car

Brig o' Doon, Ayrshire © Barry Dawson / Ayrshire & Arran Tourism Group

Heads of Ayr Farm Park

Our first stop today may cause cute-induced squealing and cooing over adorable farm animals. Grab a bag of animal feed and make friends with lots of farmyard favourites including ponies, goats, donkeys and even llamas. There's plenty of other animal residents who love attention too! Say hello to some of the park's wildest and exotic breeds, from mischievous racoons, hump-back camels, and meerkats, who will be sure to entertain you.

How about play time? Your mini explorers will be in their element at the Frontier Fort play area. Let their imaginations run wild as they get the chance to become cowboys and cowgirls. There are tunnels, climbing walls, rope bridges and a whole lot more fun features to play with.

Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

Celebrating the life and works of Robert Burns, learn about the legacy of Scotland's national poet at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. Look back to where it all began, from humble beginnings in the cottage where he spent his childhood years, to learning more about his beloved work, with over 5,000 Burns artefacts currently on display. Outside, follow in the footsteps of Tam o' Shanter at Brig o' Doon. Make sure to bring your camera with you to capture unspoilt scenic views of Ayrshire or take a leisurely stroll along Poet's Path, keep your eyes peeled for sculptures of some well-known characters from the poem.

Before you go, make sure to have a taste of Scotland's national dish at the museum café, haggis, neeps (turnip) and tatties (potatoes).

Treetop Trials

Swing by Treetop Trials at the Craufurdland Estate for an epic afternoon. Families will have plenty of fun monkeying around as they leap, balance, and climb their way around the fun obstacle courses. Choose from a selection of Treetop Trials circuits including the Explorer Experience where you will come face to face with net bridges and climbing walls before ziplining to the ground, or take on the terrifyingly, challenging Hero Experience. Not for the faint-hearted!

Day 3

overview

Adventure Carrick & Dumfries House

Our final day really packs a punch when it comes to outdoor adventure. Start off your morning with a white-knuckle experience before exploring the grounds of one of Britain's most beautiful stately homes.
  • Miles

    70

  • Km

    113

  • Stops

    2

  • Transport

    Car

Gorge scrambling in Southern Ayrshire © Barry Dawson / Ayrshire & Arran Tourism Group

Coasteering at Adventure Carrick

Fancy living life on the edge while enjoying Scotland's beautiful, rugged coastline? Adventure Carrick will certainly live up to your expectations for adrenaline-fuelled activities. Dive in and experience coasteering where you can scramble over rocks, jump from mighty cliffs, and explore hidden coves and sea caves. If you're lucky enough, you might even bump into a few friendly seals.

Don't worry if it's your first time coasteering, the guides are well-trained to give you expert advice on the tides and what to look out for along the way. There are also extreme rock pooling sessions for the little ones who wish to discover their sense of adventure.

Dumfries House

We conclude our itinerary of Ayrshire with a visit to an 18th century stately home. Take a guided tour around Dumfries House where you will witness its stunning interior design, combining the architecture of Robert Adam and the furniture of Thomas Chippendale. There's lots to explore outside too, from idyllic woodland walks, taking a dip in the outdoor swimming pool to finding your way out of The Maze - just try not to get lost!