Girvan is located on the scenic and historical west coast of Scotland between Ayr and Stranraer on the main A77 road. It is an ideal centre for exploring the coast, venturing inland, and visiting the many attractions in the area.
As well as the walks from Girvan outlined on the map, there are other walks around the Girvan area. You should take some time to stroll along Girvan's main shopping street and then head down to the shore. Girvan has an attractive beach of white soft sand and a great view across to Ailsa Craig. Sit on the promenade and watch the sunset over Arran. Walk along to the harbour to see the fishing boats.
Stop off at Knockcushan Gardens across the road from the harbourside. This was where Robert the Bruce presided over Girvan's Court in 1328 and there is a memorial commemorating this. You will also find an aviary here. Further up towards the lights you will come across 'Auld Stumpy', part of the original town house dating back to the 18th century. Turn left onto the A77 northbound and past the buildings on the right is the Tourist Information centre where you can pick up leaflets and books to further enhance your visit, or book accommodation. For a great view of Girvan and the hills behind, walk down to the north side of the harbour, past the shipbuilding works, along the pier.
Other walks in the area include a day out at Culzean (see later), a wander round the old fishing village of Maidens or stop off at Turnberry to watch the golfers tee off on the championship course. Have a spot of lunch or dinner at the Malin Court before returning to Girvan.
An excellent guide to walking the Ayrshire Coast is the book Ayrshire Coast by Dane Love. The two Ordnance Survey Explorer maps covering the area are Explorer 317 and Explorer 326.
There is fishing inland near Girvan, from the pier and shore and sea fishing which can be arranged with one of the boat hire companies in the area. For river, loch and sea fishing nearby click here. For boat hire for fishing or trips out to Ailsa Craig in the area check with the local tourist board or click here.
Turnberry shore is a popular location for bird watching with Shearwater, divers, Gannet and other seabirds throughout the year. Also worth a visit are the coastal areas between Turnberry Bay and Girvan. Of course a trip to see the Gannet colony at Ailsa Craig is a great day out for a bird watcher. Walking the Laggan path will take you to the Laggan Loch and a variety of birds to enjoy.
The area is famous for its golf courses, in particular the Turnberry courses situated just 5 miles north of Girvan. The Ailsa course is world famous and the Arran course provides an equal challenging links experience. The setting is unique with the majestic Turnberry Hotel in the background, the famous lighthouse and the 18th green where Tom Watson putted to win the Open Championship. For more information on Turnberry click here.
No visit to the Ayrshire coast is complete without visiting one of the jewels in the crown of the National Trust For Scotland, Culzean Castle and Country Park. The castle has a commanding location on the cliffs above the coast some 8 miles north of Girvan on the A719. The entrance is well signposted. Here you can spend an entire day touring the castle and its grounds. There are walks throughout the estate. In particular you should take the cliff walk from the castle along to the swan pond. The visitors centre has displays, a craft shop and restaurant. Most weekends during the summer there is some activity, event or special nature tour organised. The castle is a Robert Adam design dating from 1777. For more on Robert Adam and his work at Culzean click here. For details of Culzean, opening times and special events click here for the National Trust website.
Another National Trust property is just a few miles away from Culzean at Kirkoswald. Souter Johnnie's Cottage was the home of John Davidson, the character 'Souter Johnnie' in Robert Burns' Tam o' Shanter. The refurbished thatched cottage has Burns relics on display.
There are various small businesses involved in creating or selling locally made crafts. For example Carrick Cooperage makes tubs and planters for your garden from oak barrels. Woodcraft makes attractive display stands from wood.
5 miles south of Girvan you will come to Lendalfoot where you will find holiday homes, picnic areas, caravan sites and cottages hugging the shoreline. 600 years earlier this would not be a good place to spend a holiday. Just 2.5 miles further down the coast at the layby you will find a pathway down to Sawney Bean's cave. Legend has it that Sawney Bean and his family lived in this cave and abducted travelers making their way along the coast. The mystery grew as more travelers disappeared until one day locals found body parts washed up on the shore. King James I and 400 soldiers set out to search for the perpetrators and happened across Sawney Bean's cave. Here they found body parts pickled and dried together with a hoard of belongings taken from the travelers You can explore the cave yourself and afterwards have a picnic on the beach.
Ballantrae is the last village in Ayrshire on this route south. It is a picturesque former fishing village near the mouth of the River Stinchar. Back in 1890 this was a major fishing port with over 900 fishermen employed in the industry. On Mill Hill to the north of the town are the remains of a windmill which date back to 1696. Most of the buildings date from the 19th century although the old bridge is from 1770. From Ballantrae you have a choice of continuing south or following the B7044 north west towards Pinwherry and then via the A714 back to Girvan (or take the B734 across to Barr for another series of great walks).
There are a some traditional farmhouse B&B's and local Hotels available in the area. Go to the Ayrshire and Arran Tourist Board website to search for accommodation.