Ayr Accommodation Guide - quality accommodation in Ayr for holiday or business travel. Scotlands Ayr accommodation options include hotels, lodges, guest houses, camping, bed and breakfast and self catering accommodation including holiday homes and apartment rentals. Whatever your Scottish Ayr accommodation requirements we will help you find the right place.
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Ayr (Scottish Gaelic: Inbhir Àir Mouth of the River
Ayr) is a town and port situated on the Firth of Clyde in south-west Scotland.
With a population of around 46,000, Ayr is the largest settlement in Ayrshire,
of which it is the county town, and has held royal burgh status since
1205. Ayr is the administrative centre of the South Ayrshire council area,
which is the unitary local authority. To the north of Ayr is the adjoining
town of Prestwick, famous for its golf and its aviation industry as home
of Glasgow Prestwick International Airport. Other neighbouring settlements
include Alloway, known for its associations with the poet Robert Burns.
Places to stay around Ayr
Hotels and Inns
Self Catering and Cottages
Camping and Caravan
Welcome to Ayr Scotland
Largest of the Clyde Coast holiday towns, Ayr lies in the very centre of the famous Firth of Clyde 32 miles South-West of Glasgow, it looks out on the glorious panorama of the Firth, with the majestic peaks of Arran in the foreground and the Mull of Kintyre in the background. The beautiful Ayrshire countryside provided the inspiration for some of the finest verses of the National Bard of Scotland, Robert Burns.
Originally known as St John's Town of Ayr or Inverayr, Ayr started life
as the settlement serving a castle built here in 1197 by William I (see
our Historical Timeline). This was border country at the time. Galloway,
to the south, only securely became part of Scotland during Alexander II's
reign in 1234. Ayr's origins were as an L-shaped settlement, with Sandgate
marking the western line beyond which the sand dunes threatened to inundate
the town, and High Street running inland, parallel to the River Ayr.
With a streetplan dating back to the 1200s and many fine buildings from
the centuries since, Ayr is an attractive town with a real sense of its
Accommodation in and around Ayr
Price Guide - per person based on sharing room: under $40 - $41 - 70 - more than $70
Undoubtedly Ayr is an old town—the most zealous of historical researchers cannot say just how old. Its story is writ large on the pages of Scottish history. Many of its landmarks bear the indelible stamp of its antiquity. But in every other respect the Auld Toun is the modern home of a modern-minded and thriving community who are well aware of the need to keep abreast of the times, not only for their own sakes but for the benefit of the many thousands who come annually to make holiday.
For a while the River Ayr was probably crossed by a ford. As early as 1250 a timber bridge had been built a short distance upstream of the ford. This was rebuilt in stone in 1470 and remains standing today, open to pedestrians. For many the Auld Brig is one of Ayr's most distinctive features. In 1788 a "New Bridge" was opened on the line of the original ford. This first New Bridge was washed away in flooding in the 1870s and the Auld Brig once more became the main crossing until a replacement New Bridge could be built in 1878.
Ayr's wharves and quays originally lined the river itself. By 1300 it was Scotland's main west coast port, a role it maintained until overtaken by Glasgow several centuries later. Early coastal trade was later supplemented by links to Ireland, Europe, and the Americas.
By 1777 over 300 ships were using the port each year. At this time Ayr was serving as the nautical equivalent of the distribution centres you see round motorway junctions today. Commodities like tobacco from America, slate from Easdale, earthenware and bottles from England and salt from Spain were imported in bulk and then shipped to all parts of Scotland's western seaboard. The presence in Ayr of Scotland's largest wine merchant at the time, Oliphant & Co, also greatly helped the town's trade. Today Ayr retains a large harbour, to the north of the mouth of the river.
The old harbour area to the south of the river has recently seen high quality residential development. This makes the most of the river frontage, and also exploits its position at the north end of the long stretch of beach that allowed Ayr to become a highly fashionable resort from the early 1800s. Its popularity was initially based on steamer services, but the real boom came from 1840 when the railway linked Ayr and nearby Prestwick with Glasgow.
Nothing remains of the castle built by William I. After an eventful early life, it was demolished by Cromwell's forces in 1654 to make room for the huge citadel he built here, and from which they governed much of Scotland. Much of the Citadel's outer wall remains in place, with the higher level interior areas used in the 1700s for residential development. Like the Citadel wall, much else remains on view from Ayr's past. The Auld and (second) New Bridges are very attractive, as are the Town Hall with its remarkable spire and the nearby Wallace Tower, which dates back to 1833.
Close to the river and just west of Sandgate is Loudoun Hall, a magnificent restoration of Scotland's oldest merchant's house, built in 1513. Less well known is St John's Tower, all that remains of a church standing within the Citadel, while nearby is the classical frontage of the County Buildings, the town's courthouse dating from 1822.