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East Ayrshire

East Ayrshire incorporates places like Dalmellington, Cumnock and Mauchline and is a great location for experiencing something a little different.


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East Ayrshire

Dalmellington is home to the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory which boasts packed calendar of ‘out of this world’ stargazing events like Night Sky, Full/New Moon and Meteor Shower experiences. All equipment is provided but please do note that all visits must be pre-booked! This is also a great location to visit¬†through the day, as Loch Doon and the ruins of Balloch Castle are just a five minute drive from the Observatory.

A beautiful and fascinating place, the castle played a part in the Scottish Wars of Independence, whilst the loch was once a training ground for WW1 pilots. Today however, the area is home to Ospreys and Black Grouse, the Roundhouse Cafe and secluded Glen Ness walk. It is also the starting point of the Carrick Forest Drive, along which motorists can discover some of Ayrshire’s finest mountain scenery.


If that doesn’t blow away the cobwebs, how about a night swim at the New Cumnock Open Air Swimming Pool. Fully refurbished by the Dumfries House Trust in 2017, the pool is now heated and well lit. Dumfries House itself, which is part of the Prince’s Foundation, is only 10 minutes away from New Cumnock and showcases fabulous 18th century furniture, tapestries and paintings. The 2000 acre estate is a fantastic place to spend a day with the family, exploring the adventure playground, walled garden and arboretum, getting lost in the maze, or learning about animals on Valentin’s Education Farm. There is also a restaurant and cafe on site, plus a health and well-being centre.


If you prefer your activities supersized, then Blackstone Clydesdales & the Dig a Day Experience is the perfect option for Him and Her. Located in Cumnock, Blackstones champion the Clydesdale heavy horse, and give visitors the chance to get up close and personal with this giant but rare Scottish breed, offering forest and beach treks, carriage rides and farm tours. If heavy horses aren’t your thing, perhaps heavy machinery is. Located on the same site is the Dig A Day Digger Experience, during which visitors get the chance to operate tractors, JCBs and a range of excavators.


Nearby Mauchline is also home to Ballochmyle Viaduct, the highest extant railway viaduct in Britain, at 52m, with the longest masonry railway arch ever built, at 55m. The viaduct, which dates back to 1840 and spans the River Ayr, featured in the 1996 film Mission: Impossible and is a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. It’s best taken in as part of the River Ayr Way, a long distance (41m) path which runs from the River’s source, Glenbuck Loch, to the sea through a variety of landscapes including wild moorland, farmland and estates and finally the historic town of Ayr.

If East Ayrshire isn’t for you, perhaps North or South Ayrshire is?

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