The area offers appeal for all the senses – the feel and sound of waves cooling your feet on lovely beaches; first class restaurants and local food producers; stunning landscapes and the sounds and sight of wildlife and birds as you escape the normal hustle and bustle of life. In the cottage grounds you may see deer, squirrels, woodpeckers or owls and buzzards soar overhead – high above the lambs in the fields next door.
Ayrshire has an amazing coastline and the road follows the sea like a ribbon with stunning views across to Cumbrae, Arran and Bute – some of the best from the hillside directly behind Underhill cottage. Tantalisingly close, the Isle of Arran just beckons one to hop on the ferry and live the adventure – easy to do for the day. Often referred to as ‘Scotland in Miniature’, the Isle of Arran offers towering granite peaks to the north and softer greener landscape in the south. There is so much to do here from climbing Goat Fell or visiting historic Brodick Castle – or indulging yourself with local Arran cheeses, beers, whisky or soaps – you can even make your own! There are lovely sandy bays and more outstanding wildlife like deer, otters, and seals and if you are lucky you may spot an eagle!
Other easily accessible islands include Cumbrae – off Largs where a day can be spent walking or cycling around the island with a stop for lunch in Millport and an ice cream in the renowned Nardini’s of Largs on the way home; or Bute, where you can visit the magnificent Mt Stuart House and gardens. Ayrshire has some world class golf on offer the most recognised are Turnberry and Royal Troon – while West Kilbride itself boasts a course with spectacular views of Arran.
The area is steeped in history with links to William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and Robert Burns. The Burns Heritage trail is within easy reach and a visit to the new Visitor Centre and his birthplace in Alloway can be combined with a tour of beautiful Culzean Castle and gardens. Alternatively, Dumfries House is a magnificent Palladian mansion, one of the grandest and most imposing houses in Scotland. It has only been open to the public since June 2008 and is a fascinating snapshot of high quality interior décor dating back almost 250 years with a unique collection of Chippendale furniture.
For a memorable day out with a difference hop aboard the Waverley, the last seagoing paddle steamer in the World and see the Holy Isle and Ailsa Craig. The convenient location of Underhill Cottage makes exploring this delightful area very easy.
Why not let the train take the strain and visit Glasgow or Edinburgh for a day of culture or retail therapy While by car Stirling, Edinburgh and Perth are all under 2 hours from the cottage and Loch Lomond, Glasgow and Ayr are around 40 minutes