From secret gardens to coastal caves, explore the culture and history of Girvan.
Girvan has a colourful history, reflected in the town and its landscape. Did you know the town was a hotspot for smugglers? Or that King Robert the Bruce held court in Knockcushan Gardens? Plan your trip and take in all of the cultural, historical and natural places which make Girvan the town it is today.
Located between beautiful beaches and rolling hills, Girvan has something for everyone.
Girvan is located just 21 miles south of Ayr on the west coast of Scotland, in a beautiful, natural environment between coast and peaks. Girvan offers visitors adventurous experiences from kayaking, hillwalking and cycling, to moments of peace and quiet at our tranquil harbour or while browsing in our range of shops. Experience all Girvan has to offer and make the most of your trip to this hidden gem.
Orchard Gardens is a beautiful quiet space in Girvan, bursting with colourful blooms in the summer. A pond covered with lilypads and plenty of seating makes for a lovely little hideaway in the town.
The entrance is located on The Avenue.
At Little Peru we would love to welcome you for an afternoon of alpaca fun! We can offer alpaca trekking in the beautiful Ayrshire countryside, or why not try your hand at putting the alpacas through their paces on our obstacle course, or alpaca crafting with our own wool? We can even bring our alpacas to you for whatever the occasion! Contact Little Peru today to start your alpaca adventure!
The Biking Explorers offer a range of professionally guided bike tours for all abilities. Whether you are just starting on a bike or a veteran cyclist looking to explore the Girvan area as part of a cycling holiday, The Biking Explorers can help make that biking adventure a reality. Tours can be adapted for family-friendly easy cycle routes, full-blown all-day epics out in the wilderness or bikepacking adventures in the biosphere.
South Ayrshire is well-known for its stunning golf courses, and Girvan Golf Course is included in that illustrious list. Designed by James Braid, Girvan Golf Course is a popular links and parkland course with stunning views to Ailsa Craig and Arran over the water. It’s just over 5,000 yards which leaves you plenty of time to visit Girvan town afterwards. For more information, visit: www.girvangolf.com.
Are you looking for somewhere to go fishing in Girvan, South Ayrshire, Scotland? The River Girvan Angling Club offers salmon and wild trout fishing on approx. 1 mile of the river Girvan and rainbow trout fishing at the stocked Glendrissaig Reservoir near the town. You can become a member, or buy a day ticket. More information available at www.rivergirvananglingclub.co.uk.
Located near the promenade a Girvan Beach, Biosphere Bikes is a not-for-proft social enterprise working with local groups to bring accessible and inclusive cycling activities to Girvan and surrounding communities. Visitors can explore and appreciate the hidden places across South Carrick that are less accessible by car and enjoy the beautiful landscapes, local culture, and wonderful heritage whilst reducing environmental impact by using a bike instead of a car. Biosphere Bikes also has beach wheelchairs, ensuring the beach is accessible to all. Find them at: www.biospherebikes.com
Stumpy Tower, also known as Stumpy Jail, was built in 1827. It has survived 2 World Wars and is still standing as a tribute to the craftsmanship of its Victorian Builders and racing on to its 200th Birthday and is still at the centre and heart of Girvan’s Community. Inside, there are 4 floors of exhibits for the public to view free of charge, but unfortunately there are no lifts within the tower and the original stone stairs are steep and old. Special visits for groups of tourists, community groups, and schools for educational tours can be made by special arrangement and at no cost. Stumpy Tower is looked after by the Girvan Attractions Committee.
Girvan Harbour has, for centuries, been a thriving fishing port, and our modern harbour represents much of that original charm. There are 35 modern berths for a range of vessels and the facilities and services have recently been enhanced and developed to a high standard, establishing a vibrant, sustainable and welcoming harbour for commerce, leisure and the wider community of Girvan, South Carrick and South Ayrshire.
Girvan Youth Trust operate the Boating Pond during the summer season from June until August, including the September Holiday weekend. You can find out more about the Boating Pond by contacting the Youth Trust.
The Quay Zone is situated at Girvan’s Harbour, overlooking the sea. You can enjoy the pool, gym or studio, or pop into the Cafe and Play Zone for a little rest! You can find out more information by visiting their website.
Girvan is the gateway to the world-famous Ailsa Craig! The history of this volcanic rock which is also a bird sanctuary stretches back centuries, and includes acting as a refuge for persecuted Roman Catholics during the Reformation in the 16th and 17th centuries, being a smugglers’ paradise with the perfect hiding spots for contraband, and a long history of quarrying. The granite from Ailsa Craig is used in olympic-class curling stones today, and is only allowed to be harvested and manufactured by Kays of Scotland in Mauchline, Ayrshire.
Why not take a tour with the MVF Glorious and see the island up close? Visit their website for more details and booking information.
One of Ayrshire’s main beaches, the sandy Girvan beach offers traditional seaside activities such as amusements and a boating lake. The beach is conveniently located nearby Girvan’s amenities with its shops, cafes and a children’s play area.
Sit on the shore and admire the wonderful views towards Ailsa Craig, the Isle of Arran and the Mull of Kintyre. Watch the boats using the harbour, and you may even spot a visiting seal.
The McKechnie Institute opened in 1889 thanks to the bequest of local businessman Thomas McKechnie. Its architectural style is Scottish Baronial with some Renaissance detailing.
The McKechnie Institute remains a popular community venue to this day, showing exhibitions of items from the McKechnie and wider South Ayrshire collections, plus a variety of local themed and incoming exhibitions. Also, the McKechnie is the venue for many local group meetings, Councillor surgeries, art classes and much more.
Dalquharran Castle is a category A listed building in South Ayrshire, Scotland, designed by Robert Adam and completed around 1790, but the castle has been in ruins since the 1960s. Situated in beautiful woodland countryside, it is a gentle walk up to Dalquharran Castle, and you can visit the Old Dalquaharran castle ruins which lie within the same grounds.
Designed by Robert Adam, Culzean Castle is a magnificent cliff-top castle with plenty to keep the whole family occupied. Only 10 miles from Girvan, the castle and its grounds are well worth a visit, and you may even catch a glimpse of the old smugglers’ caves on the beach below the cliffs. If smuggling isn’t your thing, you can relax with delicious food & drink at the cafe, visit the Culzean Castle shop, or pop along to the fabulous second-hand bookshop for a bargain or two.
Girvan Community Garden was set up in 2011 and is mostly run by a task force of volunteers. The Gardens host a number of events throughout the year including live music, green gym, fayres and markets.
Adventure Carrick is open all year round and offers a variety of adventure activities including watersports, forest activities, and mountain and cycling activities for individuals, families and groups. Try your hand at foraging in the forests, paddleboarding along Girvan Beach, or hit the cycling trails in our local hills.
Start your visit to Girvan off right with a visit to our volunteer-run Tourist Information Point, situated in the Town House. Chat to locals who can answer all of your questions about the town, learn more about our history, and pick up some maps and brochures along the way.
Inside the Tourist Information Point, you’ll also find a Litter Picking Station! Pick up some supplies and receive a free cup of tea or coffee and a biscuit for every bag of rubbish you pick up! This is run as part of the Town Action Group (TAG) Girvan, an initiative designed to help clean up our streets and beaches.
The Tourist Information is currently closed and will re-open on the 1st April 2024
Flanked by the rolling Carrick Hills on one side and the Ayrshire Coastal Path on the other, there are plenty of gorgeous walks for you to explore. Plan ahead with our handy guides.
Why not linger longer in our little corner of Scotland?
Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway, a beach break or a camping trip, Girvan has many options to choose from. Plan your stay with our guide to accommodation here.
Located between rolling hills and stunning beaches, Girvan has something for everyone.
Girvan is a harbour town in Carrick, South Ayrshire. Sitting on the west coast of Scotland about 21 miles south of Ayr and 29 miles north of Stranraer, Girvan is bordered to the east by the Galloway hills and to the west by long stretches of beach which reach out the Firth of Clyde. We are proud to be part of Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere, recognising our world class environment for people and nature.
The town dates from 1668 when it became a municipal burgh incorporated by charter, but the harbour predates that time and is an important part of Girvan’s identity. The fishing industry has played a large role in the economy of the town, as has weaving and industry which became the mainstays of employment when the fishing trade dwindled.
In fact, the town motto is Weave Industry with Truth, a nod to the importance that weaving and industry had on the stability of Girvan, and you can still see the motto on the town crest.
Just up the road from Girvan is Turnberry, the birthplace of King Robert the Bruce who also had a special connection with Girvan. You can see, for example, a stone marking the spot where Robert
the Bruce held court at Knockcushan Gardens in Girvan. More of Girvan’s history can be explored in the McKechnie Museum on Dalrymple Street.
If outdoor activities are more your thing, then don’t worry because Girvan has much to offer. There are many hillwalking opportunities, or you can follow the coastal paths north between Girvan and Ayr, or south to Ballantrae where you can learn about the gruesome legend of Sawney Bean.
Our award-winning beaches offer stunning views of Ailsa Craig and the chance to relax with an ice-cream on the sandy shores, or you can take to the sea on a paddleboard or rowing boat and explore our marine life. There are all-terrain wheelchairs available from Biosphere Bikes, so the beach is accessible for all.
Whatever your preference, there is something for everyone in Girvan. Our community looks forward to welcoming you on your visit here where we hope you decide to linger longer and see what we have to offer.
With thanks to Epic Sky Media (Rodger Hunter and Craig Bradshaw), Roddy Leitch, and Girvan Camera Club (Bill Arnott, Patrick McCloskey, Robert Grant, Robert Wright, Rory McAdam and Stewart McLaren) for the beautiful images which we have used with their permission throughout this website. All images are copyright protected.