The graceful town of Irvine sits on the Firth of Clyde coast in North Ayrshire, 25 miles southwest of Glasgow. It is a former Royal Burgh and has a strong association with poet Robert Burns, after whom two streets are named. Holiday cottages in Irvine are a stone’s throw from an ancient harbour and bustling town centre, as well as being perfectly located for exploring the craggy mountains and shimmering lochs of the Scottish Highlands and Islands. Irvine Beach is a huge stretch of fine, white sand backed by wild grasslands. Its size makes it easy to find a quiet spot – even on a sunny summer’s day.
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Self-catering holidays in Irvine would be incomplete without delving into the town’s fascinating history at the Scottish Maritime Museum, home to a remarkable collection of historic boats, artefacts and sculptures. There are great places to eat and drink in Irvine, including The Ship Inn at the harbour and The Harbour Arts Centre, a popular hangout for locals with live music on weekends. The town centre is scattered with historic landmarks such as the Heckling Shop where Robert Burns once worked, St. Inan’s Well and the Old Powder Magazine, built in 1642 to store gun powder by order of King James IV. Eglinton Country Park is a short drive from holiday cottages in Irvine with 400 hectares of stunning parks and woodland to explore on the grounds of a ruined gothic castle. Medieval Dundonald Castle is also well worth a visit, perched on a hillside overlooking the village of Dundonald. Visitors who fancy a day in the city can hop on a train and arrive in central Glasgow in half an hour. Ferries across the Firth of Clyde to the Isle of Arran and beyond can be taken from Ardrossan, 10 miles northwest of Irvine.