Girvan is a seaside town in Ayrshire on the west coast of Scotland. With a population of 8000, it has a long, sandy beach and expanded as a resort when the railway arrived in Victorian times. But being the furthest out of the "Costa Clyde" resorts, and too far to become a commuter town for Glasgow, it's retained more of its original character as a fishing village.
By train from Glasgow Central take the train to Ayr, which runs via Kilwinning, Irvine, Troon and Prestwick Airport. Change at Ayr for the onward train to Girvan, which is from Kilmarnock to Stranraer. The service is hourly, taking just under 90 mins from Glasgow. 1 Girvan railway station is half a mile north of town centre.
By bus from Glasgow likewise means changing in Ayr. Start by taking the X77 from Glasgow Buchanan, which runs every 30 mins and takes 80 mins to Ayr. From there take Stagecoach Bus 58 / 60, which runs every 30 mins either along the coast past Turnberry or meandering inland, taking 80 mins to Girvan. Bus 358 / 360 takes the same route then continues south from Girvan to the Cairnryan ferry terminals and Stranraer. The main bus stop in Girvan is by the railway station.
By car from Glasgow follow A77, 90 mins to Girvan; the highway continues to Stranraer, another 45 mins.
Girvan is small enough to walk around. Buses 58 / 60 make many stops along the main road, see "Get in".
Taxi firms in town are Joe's +44 1465 713737, McCartney's +44 1465 712085, Paddy's +44 1465 710000, Four Fours +44 1465 714444, and DD Cabs +44 1465 715282.
- 1 Stumpy Tower (Auld Stumpy), Knockcushan St (corner of Dalrymple St). This was completed in 1827 to house the courts, police station and town jail; it replaced a 1789 jail which, having a thatched roof, never retained its prisoners long. The tower was decommissioned in 1871 but left standing as it carried the town clock. In 1911 the town hall was built around it, but this burned down and the area was cleared, so Auld Stumpy now stands in isolation.
- 2 Carleton Castle is a ruined 15th C tower house above the village of Lendalfoot 6 miles south of Girvan along A77.
- Turnberry Castle is a scrappy ruin on a headland next to Turnberry Golf Course north of Girvan, you come for the sea view and the walk to the lighthouse.
- Maidens is a small village a few miles north of Turnberry, where rocks create a natural harbour. Wildings Hotel here has an excellent restaurant; also try Malin Court Hotel.
- Sail to Ailsa Craig on MFV Glorious, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. They offer trips around and sometimes onto the island. They claim to sail daily, year round, in practice it's erratic even allowing for weather and customer demand.
- The beach is a good place for various sports in the summer. Kite surfers and windsurfers enjoy relatively calm seas yet a stiff breeze. There's also a beach volleyball net.
- Fishing: try the end of the pier, or off some of the rocky outcrops a couple of miles south of the town.
- Golf: the famous one is Turnberry, next to Trump Turnberry Hotel, see "Sleep". Their courses are the Ailsa (£375 pp), the King Robert the Bruce (£120), and the Arran (9 holes, regarded as a practice course).
- Open Links of Ayrshire is a combi-package with Turnberry, Prestwick Old Course and Royal Troon. Reckon £2000 for a couple playing all three, plus accommodation and meals at Turnberry. You can't book this online, call +44 1655 333 991 or email email@example.com.
- There are two golf courses at the north edge of Girvan itself.
- Hill-walking: Waymarked trails start at the south of the town. One leads over the hills to Barr; the trails are very quiet and you are unlikely to come across other hikers. The markers are often poorly spaced and the surfaces are slithery, particularly after rain. Take a map and sturdy footwear.
- Girvan Folk Festival is held in early May. The next event is probably 7-9 May 2021 but tbc.
- ASDA supermarket is by the railway station.
- In early summer, get a bag of new Ayrshire potatoes. Perfect when boiled up in salty water and served with plenty of butter.
- Main drag for cheap and cheerful eats in Girvan is Dalrymple Street, spilling into Bridge St and Hamilton St.
- Auld Acquaintance at 9 Dalrymple St is quirky and creative fusion food. They're open Tu-Sa 08:00-21:00, Su 08:00-18:00.
- Town centre choices are Harbour Bar and Flix Theme Bar (F-Su 22:00-02:00). Athletic Tavern is south down Dalrymple St.
- Grant's Distillery a couple of miles north of town make grain Scotch whisky for blending into Grant's various brands, plus a new malt whisky line, and Hendrick's Gin. They don't do tours.
- Caravan pitches are available at Strathavon just north of the centre, and Byne Hill on A714 two miles south.
- Queen's Hotel, 1 Montgomerie St KA26 9HE, ☏ . Small welcoming place with bar. B&B double £70.
- Royal Hotel, 36 Montgomerie St KA26 9HE, ☏ . More a traditional B&B than a hotel, some furnishings tatty but overall value for money. B&B double from £70.
- Woodland Bay Hotel, Woodland Farm KA26 0HP (on A77 a mile south of town), ☏ . Clean spacious hotel, good service and restaurant. B&B double £100.
- 1 Trump Turnberry, Turnberry KA26 9LT (by jcn of A77 & A719), ☏ . Top-flight hotel, with spa, horse-riding and golf. B&B double £160.
- See Stranraer for Glenapp Castle, a swish affair 10 miles south of Girvan off A77.
You will need a car to make the most of attractions in the surrounding areas. They are:
- Galloway Forest Park - around 45 minutes drive from Girvan. Take the Barrhill road from the roundabout at the south of the town.
- Culzean Castle - around 20 minutes drive north of Girvan.
- Maidens Beach - around 15 minutes drive north of Girvan, Maidens is a small village with a good beach. Try walking further north along the beach to get to a footpath leading into Culzean..