Crave salty sea air but need to be within reach of Glasgow? Ayr's unspoilt coastline and excellent road and rail links could be the answer.

Where is Ayr?

Ayr is a large coastal town in Ayrshire on the south western coast of Scotland. It borders Prestwick and its suburbs include Alloway, the birthplace of the celebrated Scottish poet Robert Burns.

Just 37 miles away from Glasgow, Ayr offers homebuyers a tempting combination of coastal living with ideal commuter connections. Its house prices are on par with those of the wider south Ayrshire area, standing at £170,000. You can check the latest figures with the Zoopla House Price Tool.

Our guide on Ayrshire can give you even more details on what to expect within the county.

Living in Ayr: what to expect

Ayr's coastline means it's been a popular seaside resort since the Victorian period. Sandy beaches give residents the perfect excuse to walk, run or play by the sea.

Ayr's Victorian influence is still keenly felt in the town centre, which is lined by imposing 19th-century buildings. Victorian properties, particularly terraces, are also typical fixtures on the housing market.

The town serves as Ayrshire's retail centre thanks to its shopping centres, arcades and lively High Street. Theatres, pubs and quirky restaurants are also in good supply.

Families looking to live in Ayr will have numerous schools to take their pick from. Primary schools in Ayr include Grammar Primary School and Doonfoot Primary School, whereas Ayr Academy and Belmont Academy are among the secondary schools on offer.

Victorian terraced house in Ayr

Top places to start your property search

Town centre: As a popular Victorian seaside town, Ayr has plenty of 19th-century properties on the market.

Charlotte Street and Cassillis Street are just some of the roads lined by stone-built Victorian terraces. Some of the larger homes have been converted into flats with the bonus of high ceilings, large windows and well-kept communal gardens.

More sizeable terraces with attractive gabled roofs are available on Montgomerie Terrace, Bellevue Crescent and Quail Road. The most attractive are built of blond sandstone. Alternatively, you can check out the red sandstone town houses on Park Circus. Many have double bay windows, corniced ceilings and traditional fireplaces.

Main Street also has a smattering of period properties, including flats above local shops. Look out for the homes that offer views over the River Ayr.

Rooms with views over the river can also be secured on North Harbour Street and South Harbour Street. These roads have a collection of modern purpose-built flats and converted houses.

For post-war family homes, check out the spacious family semis and terraces on streets such as Glencairn Road to see what's available.

Suburbs: Popular suburbs include Alloway, Doonfoot, Heathfield and Seafield.

Alloway is best known as Robert Burns' birthplace, but it's also a popular village for house-hunters. Leafy cul-de-sacs such as Upper Crofts are home to roomy post-war and modern detached homes. These houses typically have up to five bedrooms, integrated garages and extensive landscaped gardens. Similar homes can be found on Parkview and Bathurst Drive.

You can find some attractive detached homes on Doonfoot Road in the suburb of the same name, many of which have generous gardens. Quiet and leafy areas such as Newark Crescent also have striking detached homes which sit opposite more conventional bungalows.

Doonfoot is becoming a favoured spot for modern development too. Just off the A77 is Doonholm Meadows, a new development of four- and five-bedroom detached family homes. The biggest have double garages and double doors between the living and dining rooms, as well as utility rooms and bay windows. All benefit from French doors into the garden as well as easy access to local shops in Alloway and a short drive to the beach.

Doonholm Meadows will also have a collection of three-bedroom apartments. All residents will have access to a lift as well as an intercom entrance system, private garages and allocated parking spaces. French doors opening onto a balcony provide access to fresh air.

Seafield has some stylish 1930s villas with period features, limestone fireplaces and large bay windows. These homes tend to have good-sized gardens too – take a look at Monument Road for examples.

Pretty detached bungalows line roads such as Seafield Crescent. Many are double-fronted and have off-road parking as well as surprisingly large gardens. Alternatively, hunt out grand and imposing Victorian mansions near the racecourse. Racecourse View includes properties that have up to eight bedrooms set in extensive grounds.

Large family home in Ayr

Best ways to get around Ayr

By rail: Commuters and travellers can use Ayr Station to reach Glasgow Central, Dumfries, Carlisle, Edinburgh Waverley, Girvan, Kilmarnock, Newcastle and Stranraer.

Ayr to Glasgow takes 45 minutes via the fastest trains, whereas Edinburgh can be reached in less than two and a half hours.

By car: Ayr is linked to Prestwick via the A79, which runs through the town. To reach Edinburgh, drivers can take the A70.

The A77 is another major local route. It passes to the east of the town and heads north through Kilmarnock, where it then becomes the M77 to Glasgow. Drivers can also follow the A77 road south along the coast to Girvan and eventually Stranraer.

By air: Glasgow Prestwick Airport is the closest airport to Ayr. It has international flights to European destinations and its airlines include budget operator Ryanair.

Alternatively, Glasgow Airport is a 50-minute drive away where flights to the USA and Dubai are available. Airlines including Flybe, easyJet and British Airways operate from here.

The Old Bridge of Ayr

Best things to do in Ayr

History: The poet Robert Burns was born in nearby Alloway and is now celebrated by the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, which features a collection of buildings associated with the poet. The museum itself has visual artwork, books and manuscripts detailing his work, life and legacy. Visitors can also see the cottage where he was born to learn more about his family life.

One of Ayr's most iconic coastline sights is Greenan Castle. Its ruins are perched on a cliff top to the south of Ayr, marking a site that has been fortified for thousands of years. It's too unstable to explore, but it offers a striking viewpoint across to the Isle of Arran.

Cultural: Gaiety Theatre was first built in 1902 but is now largely run by volunteers. The social enterprise puts on a mix of comedy, pantomime, drama, music and variety shows, including performances by touring companies.

Outdoors: A visit to the beach is one of the top things to do in Ayr. Ayr Beach holds a Seaside Award and is ideal for a relaxing day out with a bucket and spade. Fishing off the coast is also popular among residents who rent or buy boats to fish for cod and haddock.

The rolling glens and hills of Galloway Forest Park are just a 30-minute drive from the centre of Ayr. Forest trails make it ideal for walking or mountain biking, and your efforts will be rewarded by stunning views of the loch and mountains. The park is also the perfect spot for stargazing after having been designated a Dark Sky Park.

Sport: Ayrshire is full of golf courses, including Belleisle, Seafield and Dalmilling Golf Courses. Belleisle and Seafield were first opened in 1927 and designed by James Braid. Both offer spectacular views across to the Isle of Arran on a clear day.

A trip to the racecourse is another popular pastime in Ayr. The course dates back to the 16th century and has a programme of both flat and national hunt meetings. It's also the home of the Scottish Grand National.

Group and individual sport is available at the Citadel Leisure Centre. It has courts for football, basketball, badminton, hockey and netball as well as a gym and dance studio. Three swimming pools and a sauna suite are also open for relaxation and exercise. Alternatively you could take up curling or ice skating at Ayr Ice Rink.

Shopping: Ayr Central Shopping Centre is one of the main retail destinations. It has a selection of undercover shops including Top Shop and Debenhams.

Arran Mall has a mix of independent and luxury brands, including Pringle of Scotland, as well as gift shops, cafés and furniture stores. More household names can be found in The Kyle Shopping Centre.

Food and drink: Restaurants in Ayr include eclectic venues such as The Smoking Goat. This basement bar is housed in an 18th-century former bank vault although it does also have an outside terrace for summer. Menu options include locally sourced real ales along with fresh and organic produce.

Local produce is also used at Saffy's, a bar, café and brasserie. Its chef focuses on Mediterranean and global flavours, which result in popular dishes such as peppered duck breast and smoked haddock gratin.

Detached house in Ayr

Hidden Ayr

Poet’s Path takes visitors between the different sites of Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. It's lined with some unusual artwork including a cast iron mouse and a granite haggis.

5 reasons to live in Ayr

  • Close to the coast's sandy beaches
  • Wide selection of shops
  • Close to Glasgow Prestwick Airport
  • Good road and rail connections to Glasgow
  • Top golf courses and a racecourse

What drew your attention to Ayr? Let us know in the comments below...

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