Attractions and Activities

For keen golfers there are world famous courses including Turnberry (20 minutes drive) Royal Troon (40 minutes drive) and Prestwick (30 minutes drive). For those who enjoy other forms of outdoor activity Balbeg sits on the edge of the Galloway Forest Park, home to some of the UK’s best walking and cycling and some of the world’s finest mountain biking trails.

For a comprehensive list of the wide range of things to see and do during your stay at Balbeg Country Holidays, click on the headings below.

Day trip to Isle of Arran (36 miles to ferry at Ardrossan)

Take a day trip from Ardrossan by catching the ferry at Ardrossan to the Isle of Arran – described as “Scotland in miniature”.  In Arran you can either take a leisurely trip around the island, climb the 2866 ft Goatfell, play in one of Arran’s many golf courses or simply experience the majesty that the island has to offer – ferry trip 1 hour.

Cycle around Little (46 miles to ferry at Largs)

Enjoy the family favourite of taking the 15 minutes ferry to Isle of Cumbrae (often referred to as Millport the name of its major town), hire a bicycle and cycle the flat 11 miles around the island. Get your energy back by enjoying an ice cream or some fish and chips before catching the short 15 minute ferry ride back to Largs

Heads of Ayr Farm (13 miles)

Open Easter to October Heads of Ayr Park is a family favourite whatever the weather with almost 50 different types of animals, indoor and outdoor play areas, aerial runway, quad bikes and more.  There is something for all the family for a fun filled day.

Galloway Forest Park   (1 mile to park)

Visit Britain’s largest forest park at 300 sq miles which starts around 1 mile from Balbeg. Visit one of the many  visitors centres, walk without meeting a sole all day, marvel at the wildlife and enjoy being in Britain’s first dark sky park.

Ayr Town Centre – (16 miles)

Visit the County town of Ayr where you will find shopping and a superb beach along with the following: Swimming pool and leisure centre; Cinema; Ten pin bowling.

Pirate (16 miles)

Pirate Petes is based in Ayr close to the seafront and is Scotland’s biggest indoor adventure play area with bouncy castles, dedicated toddlers section, mini cinema and cafe.  There is lots to do and you wont be  bothered whatever the weather.

Irvine Magnum Sports (27 miles)

The Magnum Leisure Centre has many activities including swimming pool, ice rink, gym etc

Day trip to Portpatrick (51 miles)

Visit the jewel in the crown of South West Scotland – the pleasant fishing village of Portpatrick.  Enjoy the relaxed holiday atmosphere, play putting, bowling or simply enjoy an ice cream overlooking the harbour.  You can also have a look at our sister property The Knowe at Portpatrick Harbour.

Culzean Castleculzeanexperience (10 miles)

Culzean is one of Scotland’s best loved castles offering something for everyone – you will enjoy a day out in the 600 acre grounds and gardens and explore the superb castle – this is a National Trust for Scotland property and is worth setting aside a full day for a visit.

Dumfries (14 miles)

This property was purchased in 2007 with the help of the Prince of Wales.  Since then this property has been open to the public by prior booking.  The house contains a unique collection of Chippendale furniture and has been described as an 18th century time capsule as it has remained virtually unchanged for 250 years.

Blairquhan (3 miles)

This local castle in Straiton is open a number of times during the year and is renowned for its castle tours.

Kelburn Castle Country Centre and  (34 miles)

You will find something for everyone at this superb Country Castle and Estate.

Drumlanrig Castle and Country   (29 miles)

The magnificent Drumlanrig Castle was finished in 1691.  The country Estate boats dedicated walks and mountain bike trails, gardens, shops and the Scottish Cycle Museum.

Culzean Estate – culzeanexperience (10 miles)

The Walled Garden at Culzean Estate is a must for any gardening enthusiast.  The garden covers an area of 2.5 hectares and now includes the newly refurbished fruit houses containing vines and peaches.

Threave Gardens, Castle   (43 miles)

Threave Gardens is a National Trust for Scotland property featuring woodland and heather gardens, water features and a walled garden over 64 acres.  The estate covers 1500 acres and you will find restaurant, gift shop, plant centre and glass houses.

Logan Botanical Gardens, Dumfries & Galloway  (43 miles)

Part of the Royal Britannic Gardens Edinburgh these gardens lie in the South Western tip of Scotland.  It is known as the country’s most exotic garden which is warmed by the Gulf Stream where many unusual and exotic plants flourish.

Drumlanrig Castle and Country (29 miles)

Victorian gardens include more recent additions for the sprawling woodland garden and a stunning rhododendron collection, all contained within Drumlanrig Castle and Country Estate.

Straiton (2 miles)

Straiton Stores is a community run shop in the local village of Straiton.  The shop is run partly by volunteers provides a good selection of groceries, fresh meat, fruit and veg etc. as well as being the heart of the community.  Everyone’s trip to Balbeg should include a visit to Straiton Stores where you will find a warm welcome and more than you would expect from a village store.

Dalduff Farm (4 miles)

Local farm shop where you can order food by phone for collection or delivery or you can visit it to select your own produce.

Castle (41 files)

Officially a food town Castle Douglas prides itself as a natural place for food and drink.  There is a wide range of individual shops where you can browse round the attractive country town.

Ayr – (15 miles)

Ayr contains a number of independent stops as well as the usual large supermarkets.  You will find everything you want in this attractive town.

Glasgow – (49 miles)

Less than an hour away is the second largest city in Scotland which is known for its city centre and out of town retail outlets – shop till you drop.  It is sometimes easier taking the train to Glasgow to avoid the normal city centre parking problems.

Galloway Activity Centre, Loch (34 miles)

Situated on the banks of Loch Ken in Loch Ken the Galloway Activity Centre provides a wide range of courses and activities from sailing, windsurfing, power boating, kayaking, canoes, outdoor laser quest, archery, mountain biking, orienteering, climbing, sailing and more ….

Mountain biking (17 miles)

If you enjoy your cycling you will love the world famous seven stanes trail where there is something for everyone  regardless of their cycling ability.  Local bike hire available.

Horse riding, Craigangillan (9 miles)

Enjoy hacking through beautiful countryside with the experienced riding instructors.

Horse riding on beach, Shanter Riding (11 miles)

Enjoy riding on a beach with wonderful views over the sea to Arran and Mull of Kintyre.

Ayrshire Equitation (12 miles)

Offering hacks and tuition at this purpose built centre.

Turnberry Golf (14 miles)

A choice of 3 courses including the world famous Ailsa Course where The British Open Championship has been hosted 4 times with the latest in 2009.  Enjoy an unforgettable experience.

Royal Troon Golf Club – (23 miles)

Ayrshire’s other Open Championship course with the choice of 3 courses.

Prestwick Golf (17 miles)

Home of the first British Open Championship where you will be sure of a warm and friendly welcome and you will feel the rich history of this famous club.

Public (closest 7 miles)

There are 8 public courses in South Ayrshire most of which are surprisingly good quality at an affordable price.  It is possible to book tickets so that you can play a number of courses, during your visit..

Balbeg Estate (0 miles)

You will find miles of walks from the front door of your holiday property.  From the 15 minute flat walk around the nature pond to the steep hill walk to the top of Bennan Hill taking around 1 hour there is something for everyone.

Straiton   (2 miles)

This series of walks around Straiton can be reached either by walking the 2 miles to the village or joining up with one of the paths that come within 100 yards of Balbeg.  There are 5 walks of varying lengths but in each you can take a trip to the village and stop off at the local shop, tearoom or pub.

Other Ayrshire network of

There are 13 paths in the Ayrshire paths network.  They are an ideal way of getting to know the area and are well marked and interesting walks.  Choose the area and length of paths you want and you could spend weeks walking around Ayrshire.

The Merrick (24 miles)

At 843 meters is the highest summit in South West of Scotland.  You can combine the Merrick with other hills to make a superb day in the hills.  You will be surprised how much you will enjoy your walk and you don’t have to go anywhere near the Highlands to feel you have had a real challenge.

Goatfell, Arran (35.5 miles to ferry)

This is a superb day out from Balbeg by travelling to Ardrossan in North Ayrshire, taking the ferry and then walking from the ferry to the top of Goatfell and back. Goatfell at 2866 ft is a good challenge but at the end of the day when back on the mainland you can look over and marvel at the hill looking down over the sea.

Walking in Southern Scotland

The area of southern Scotland has an enviable range of walks to suit every level of ability. From quiet country lanes to the Southern Upland Way, Scotland’s 212 mile coast coast long distance path, there is something for everyone in this magical area.

Springwater (9 miles)

Three fresh water lochs within an area of 20 acres.  A fly loch, a bait loch and a coarse loch.

Waterfront Fishery (15 miles)

Two lochans stocked weekly with fully finned rainbows, blues and brown trout.

Galloway Forest Park loch and river fishing

Various options available with one large stocked loch with brown trout to some pike fishing.

Sea fishing from Girvan (14 miles)

Fishing charter aboard a 32 ft boat which can carry up to 12 people.  Contact the owner to discuss trips available.

Ayrshire boasts many superb restaurants within easy reach of Balbeg.  Remember to look at our Balbeg Special Options section if you want to arrange for a French chef to cook for you in your holiday property.

Black Bull, Straiton (2 miles)

Kenny Gibson the landlord will cook you superb seafood or steak.  It is often recommended that you book early to avoid disappointment.

Wildings, (11 miles)

Situated at the harbour of the lovely village of Maidens Wildings is a favourite of guests (and the owners).  Situated close to Turnberry you will often find residents of Turnberry Hotel taking a trip to the more informal surroundings of Wildings.

Enterkine Country  (12 miles)

A hidden treasure Enterkine is an ideal location to treat yourself.

Brig O’DoonBrig-O-Doon-House-Hotel   (12 miles)

The award winning hotel situated on the banks of the River Doon next to the famous Brig O’Doon where Robert Burns Tam O’Shanter escaped on his grey mare Old Meg.  The hotel run by Costley & Costley is well renowned in the area.

Souter Johnnies InnSouter’s Inn    (11 miles)

This is a newly refurbished Costley & Costley establishment which with a thatched roof will take you back in time.  You will find the restaurant, tea room and ice cream stop.   (16 miles)

One of the best restaurants in Ayr owned by award winning chef Douglas Smith.  This restaurant is highly recommended at any time of the day.

There are a huge variety of other restaurants, coffee houses, etc. throughout the area to suit any tastes or budgets.

Ayr Beach and Promenade – (16 miles)

Ayr beach and promenade has been beautifully revamped over the last few years.  There is plenty to entertain the children with a great outdoor adventure playground, crazy golf and mini golf.  The smooth flat pathways are great for cyclists, skaters and walkers.  The beach cleaned every day is a joy even if the water is not always hot enough to swim in.

Maidens (11 miles)

Maidens is a fishing village 2 miles north of Turnberry.  You will find this a nice quiet beach for a stroll or a dog walk or somewhere the kids will be happy splashing in the waves.

Girvan (14 miles)

Girvan promenade and beach is a beautiful sandy beach where you will find it is unspoilt and has superb views over the sea.  Have a paddle, an ice cream or enjoy your fish and chips looking out over the bay.

Robert Burns is the world famous Scottish Bard born in Alloway, Ayr, close to Balbeg.  In fact  his mother Margaret Brown was born even closer by in Maybole and Robert Burns himself is renowned to have visited most of the local hostilieries in Ayrshire.  In fact you will see his image throughout Ayrshire as you travel around.

Robert Burns Birthplace Museum – (14 miles)

Visit the house where Robert Burns was born at Alloway, visit the museum, Auld Alloway Kirk.  The superb Robert Burns Birthplace Museum will be open by the National Trust for Scotland shortly.

Burns An A’That

One of the largest arts and cultural festivals in the West of Scotland this is a four day tribute to Robert Burns which is held towards the end of May from traditional music to artist from the X Factor you will find something for everyone.

Wanlockhead Mining (37 miles)

The museum of Lead Mining is a Visit Scotland 5 star visit attraction where you can experience the thrill of going under ground to an 18 century lead mine.  During July and August you can search for hidden gold – yes real gold!! –  by trying your luck at gold panning.

New Lanark World Heritage   (39 miles)

This is an award winning beautifully restored 18th century cotton mill village close to the falls of Clyde.  There is a superb visitors’ centre where you can travel back in time on the Annie McLeod Experience Ride and spend time wandering around the cobbled streets of the superbly restored village. (14 miles to port)

Take a trip on the world’s last sea going paddle steamer from close by Ayr or Girvan.  Experience a great day in the water aboard this historic vessel.

Edinburgh Castle –  (69 miles)

Most popular tourist attraction in Scotland

Stirling Castle –  (61 miles)

One of Scotland’s grandest castles

Blair Drummond Safari Park –  (67 miles)

Safari and adventure park (open summer only)

Glasgow Science Museum –  (39 miles)

Hands on science for the kids

The Royal Yacht Brittania –  (98 miles)

Visit the Royal Family’s yacht

The Falkirk Wheel –  (55 miles)

World’s first and only rotating boat lift

Deep Sea World –  (66 miles)

The national aquarium of Scotland

Edinburgh Zoo –  (66 miles)

127 different species of animals for you to meet