Enjoying North Ayrshire in the rain


Welcome to March, which hopefully means we’ll see some sunshine soon.  If you’re heading to us for your holiday there’s always the chance that there’ll be the odd rainy day so we’ve been reminding ourselves of some of the places you can go to enjoy yourselves and keep dry.


There is an impressive range of different visitor centres, museums and galleries depending on what sort of thing you enjoy.


If you’re interested in finding out about the heritage and history of the area, the North Ayrshire Heritage Centre at Saltcoats is a great place to start.  They have a permanent display of local artefacts including part of a stone Celtic cross and they have a range of temporary exhibitions that change throughout the year.  If your ancestors are from the area and you’re interested in knowing more about them, they also hold the local archives and offer a genealogy service.  You never know, if you discover a relative with a rural past you might even find them at Dalgarven Mill, the museum of country life and costume.  This is housed in an old Victorian grain mill and has a beautiful riverside setting.  There’s a lovely tea shop too.


If art is more your thing, Rozelle House is well worth a visit.  It is a major exhibition venue and includes a series of 54 paintings showing the story of ‘Tam O’Shanter’, the famous Burns poem.  The Rozelle estate also includes the Maclaurin art galleries which have an impressive collection of both traditional and modern paintings including one of the best collections of 20th century paintings in the country.


Do you have children with you?  We know they need lots of entertaining but if you want to include something educational the Scottish Maritime Museum is good fun and you can take in up to three children per paying adult for free.  Keep an eye out for Sammy the seal, who’s a popular local resident!  EDF Energy have also opened a visitor centre at Hunterston B Power Station where you can learn more about electricity.  They also run site tours at the weekend if there’s enough demand, although those need to be booked two weeks in advance.


For keeping the whole family entertained we think we’ve saved the best until last.  Vikingar! is in Largs and is one of our favourite places as they have something for everyone.  The exhibition guides you through 500 years of Viking history in Scotland using sight, sound and even smells.  You might find yourself face to face with a real live Norseman too.  If the sun has started shining you’re right next to Largs promenade with its’ stunning views over the Firth of Clyde and you could even treat yourself to an ice cream sundae at Nardini’s.  Even better, if more indoor entertainment is needed you can stay inside at Vikingar! and sit back with a coffee whilst the kids let off steam in the Mini Vikings soft play area.  If you’re feeling energetic you can take them for a swim as there’s a 25m pool on site as well.


We hope we’ve given you some ideas – if you find any hidden gems on your travels we’d love to hear your favourites.