Things to see & do in Alloway
Just over a mile to the south of the ancient Burgh of Ayr on the West coast of Scotland, lies the delightful village of Alloway, the birthplace of the Scottish national Bard - the poet, writer and songwriter, Rabbie Burns (Auld Lang Syne, Tam O'Shanter, Holy Willies Prayer).
Alloway is a picturesque village and is popular stop on the tourist trail of Scotland and it is not difficult to see why. There are many places of significance to be found on a walk through Alloway, not least the actual whitewashed and thatched cottage where Rabbie himself was born a couple of hundred years ago on January 25th, a date much celebrated the world over with Burn's Night Supper and Ceilidhs. The cottage is open to the public, and has a museum full of artifacts associated with his life. He died tragically at a young age, though he had lived his life very much to the full and left an outstanding legacy of Scottish Literature that is very relevant today.
A perfect way to while away a couple of hours would be to park your car at the Cottage and Museum car park and make a start with a visit to the cottage. There is a cafe within the museum itself, though a five minute walk along the trail to the Tam O'Shanter Experience (Audio visual show and gift shop) will take you to another cafe/restaurant with a super garden that's perfect for any children in the group to let of steam. Its got some unusual sculptures that positively invite the wee ones to clamber about!
Beyond the cafe are the Monument Garden. The gardens roll down to the famous river Doon itself, which is overlooked by the equally famous Brig O'Doon, forever immortalised as the Bridge in Burn's hilarious poem 'Tam O'Shanter' . Tam, in a state in complete inebriation sees ghosts partying in the ruins of the Auld Kirk Alloway across the road and once they start chasing after him he rides his mare like the wind, escaping across the bridge, but not before one of the ghouls grabs his horses tail and pulls it off - a tall story!
A stroll around the Auld Kirk Alloway is a must, being an important scene in the poem (hopefully you will have by now watched the audio visual show) and the spot where the poets father is buried. The current Alloway Church across the road is open to visitors throughout the summer from Monday to Friday and boasts some stunning stained glass windows, some on a Burns theme.
Alloway isn't just about the Bard and an honourable mention must go to it's two parks, Rozelle and Belleisle, and also its two golf courses that are open to everyone to enjoy. .
Rozelle Park is home to the Maclaurin Art Gallery (famous local artist Peter Howson exhibited his controversial collections here which included Madonna), a gift shop and small cafe. It is also home to local groups such as the Ayr Embroiderer's Guild who recently completed a very special picture depicting Auld Ayr to celebrate the Burgh's 800 year anniversary, and now hangs in the town's Carnegie Library. For those interested in the tale of Tam O'Shanter, on display at the gallery are paintings which depict the story with great wit. The gardens also have a number of intersting sculptures on display.
Belleisle Park, in addition to being the home of two excellent municipal golf courses, also boasts wonderful gardens and walk, children's playpark and pet's corner.
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