Outdoors

Beautiful scenery. A comfy seat. No driving. Yes, travelling by train is one of the best ways to see Scotland's incredible landscapes. Using the Spirit of Scotland Travelpass, you can travel across Scotland with complete ease and freedom. 

Start your adventure in Glasgow and make your way along the south west coast, travelling past glorious golf courses, brilliant beaches, and the land that inspired Robert Burns. With the unlimited Travelpass you can be flexible; hopping on and off at any stop that takes your fancy. You can even make this trip include a little venture to the Isle of Arran.

Why not make a four-day trip of it, stopping to see some of these amazing sights, attractions and things to see and do?

Transport

Ferry Bus Walk

Days

4

Miles

92

Route

Glasgow, Paisley, Irvine, Isle of Arran, Troon, Ayr, Alloway, Stranraer

Highlights

Glasgow Style Mile, Paisley, Isle of Arran, Brodick Castle, Culzean Castle, Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, Royal Troon, Castle Kennedy Gardens

Areas Covered

Glasgow city centre, Ayrshire & Arran, Dumfries & Galloway

see full route

Day 1

overview

Glasgow & Paisley

The journey departs from Glasgow Central, before travelling west to the artsy town of Paisley, famous for manufacturing the distinctive Paisley pattern. Before you hop on the train, spend some time in the stylish city of Glasgow. 

Consider taking the City Sightseeing Bus (discounts are available with the Travelpass) which will showcase all the top landmarks and attractions.

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    Bus Walk

Paisley Abbey, Paisley

Glasgow Style Mile

Take a walk through Glasgow's most famous shopping spots and treat yourselves to a spot of retail therapy. Find all of your high street favourites, as well as designer boutiques. The shopping district is also dotted with delicious restaurants, trendy bars to relax with a cocktail, and charming tea rooms for tea and cake. 

The Lighthouse

Across Glasgow, you'll be able to admire the beautiful designs of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The Lighthouse, on Mitchell Lane, is one of Mackintosh's earliest buildings and was originally designed as the Glasgow Herald newspaper offices. It is now home to Scotland's Centre for Design & Architecture. It's just a few minutes' walk from Glasgow Central train station, so pop in here for a look before you embark upon your journey.

Paisley Abbey

Take the short journey from Glasgow Central to Paisley, a town with a rich history and several gorgeous buildings. The town's magnificent abbey is thought to date back to the 12th century. The town is also known for its textiles, particularly the Paisley pattern. You can see beautiful shawls, fabrics and items at the Paisley Museum & Art Gallery, which explores how the industry grew in the town from the 19th century onwards, as well as exhibits of Scottish paintings and other works of art. 

Day 2

overview

Irvine & Isle of Arran

Hop back on the train, and you won't regret it! Soon enough, you'll be passing through some blissful coastal towns. From Irvine, you can change trains towards Ardrossan, where you can catch the ferry over to the Isle of Arran. Spend a day exploring one of Scotland's most incredible isles; with its impressive castle, mountainous terrain and delicious food and drink. Arran has it all!
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    Ferry Bus Walk

North Goatfell, Isle of Arran © Fotolia - David Woods

Irvine

Enjoy the sea air in this little town, which is a former haunt of Robert Burns and a historic marketplace. Learn about the town's maritime heritage at the local Scottish Maritime Museum, or stop for a bite to eat at the Ship Inn. From here, catch the train to Ardrossan.   

Brodick Castle & Goatfell

From Ardrossan, the ferry will sail into Brodick, where you will explore a beautiful castle and gardens, perched on the dramatic peak of Goatfell. The castle overlooks the Firth of Clyde and Brodick Bay. Learn all about the history of this grand fortress and explore the grounds and woodland trails. The castle's interior is really outstanding, with its elegant décor and fine furnishings. 

Island Cheese Company

Arran is definitely famed for its tasty local produce, especially its delicious creamy cheese. At the farm shop, you can watch as the cheese is made using milk from three local producers. Stock up on a few cheesy delights before heading back to the Mainland, or purchase a selection of cheeses from the shop and have a picnic on the island. 

Day 3

overview

Troon

Retrace your steps back to the Mainland, where you can re-join the rail route heading towards Troon. Stop here to explore this bustling seaside town, which overlooks Ailsa Craig and Arran, and is an absolute haven for golfers and sailors alike.
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    Bus Walk

Troon Yacht Haven © Ayrshire & Arran Tourism Team

Royal Troon Golf Club

There are seven golf courses in and around Troon, and one of its most famous clubs is the beautifully situated Royal Troon, which is gearing up to host the 145th Open Championship in July.

Troon Beach

Have a stroll along the esplanade at Troon Beach, where you can have fish and chips or an ice cream whilst gazing out towards the ocean. Troon Yacht Haven is in close proximity, offering excellent facilities for visiting yachtsmen.

Day 4

overview

Ayr and Stranraer

The last part of the route goes further south, through the town of Ayr, where you can explore the area that influenced Robert Burns' early works or enjoy a day at the races. Continue southwards, and you'll pass the magnificent Culzean Castle, and if you take the train all the way to Stranraer, be sure to look out of the window for fabulous views of Ailsa Craig as you go past Girvan.
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    Bus Car Walk

Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, Alloway

Ayr Racecourse

Ayr is another lovely seaside spot with lots of shops and places to stop for a bite to eat. If you fancy a flutter, why not spend a day at the races? This racecourse opened in 1907, although there has been racing in Ayr for hundreds of years.

Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

A small suburb just two and a half miles from Ayr, Alloway is the birthplace of the Robert Burns, and it now houses the fascinating Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, where you can admire the poet's original works and personal belongings.

After visiting the museum, explore the other tributes to 'Rabbie' in Alloway, including the Brig o' Doon or Alloway's Auld Kirk.

Culzean Castle

Get off the train at Maybole to admire another incredible castle. Standing on a clifftop overlooking the Firth of Clyde, Culzean Castle is brimming with grandeur, with its ornate interiors and extensive grounds. It has been associated with the Kennedy family since the 14th century and was redesigned by the famous Scottish architect Robert Adam in the 1770s.

Stranraer

Stay on the train all the way down to Stranraer and take the opportunity to explore this lovely part of Dumfries & Galloway. From here, you are on the cusp of the glorious Rhins of Galloway peninsula, and just three miles away from the peaceful retreat of Castle Kennedy Gardens.

Your rail adventure may end here, but why not take the opportunity to explore more of the south west of Scotland?

Summary

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