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West Kilbride is a town in Ayrshire on the Clyde coast of southwest Scotland, with a population of 4860 in 2020. It has sought to distinguish itself as an arts & crafts centre, with partial success, and to distance itself from the industrial complex of Hunterston just north. Hunterston is well known for its nuclear reactors.



It was traditionally a weaving, potato-growing and sheep-farming town, expanding when the railway arrived in 1878, to grow into nearby Seamill and Portencross.

There a fabulous Celtic brooch was found, dating to 700 AD and now in the National Museum in Edinburgh.

Hunterston B nuclear power station, run by EDF, stopped generating in 2022, and us being decommissioned. Tours no longer seem to get available. EDF has seven other nuclear plants in the UK which can be visited: at Torness East Lothian, Dungeness B in Kent, West Burton B near Retford Notts, Heysham Lancs, Hinckley Point Somerset, Hartlepool, and Sizewell B in Suffolk.

Get in

Hunterston B nuclear power station

By plane: Glasgow Airport (GLA IATA) has the best choice of flights. Take the airport bus to Glasgow city centre then train or bus as below. Prestwick (PIK IATA) is closer but only has Ryanair flights from the Mediterranean.

By train: Trains run hourly from Glasgow Central, taking 50 min via Paisley, Kilwinning and Ardrossan, and continuing north to Fairlie and Largs. Change at Kilwinning for trains from Ayr, Prestwick, Troon and Irvine.

The 1 railway station is just east of town centre. It's just a platform halt with ticket machines but no staffed office or toilets. There is step-free access to the only platform.

By bus: buses pass through West Kilbride every 30 min or so on their way north to Largs (10 min) and Greenock (60 min), and south to Ardrossan (20 min), Irvine (40 min) and Ayr (60 min). From central Glasgow (Buchanan station) travel either via Ardrossan or Greenock: it's usually quicker via Ardrossan but ask at the ticket office for your best connection.

By road follow A78 the coastal main highway.

Get around

Map of West Kilbride

Stagecoach Bus 585 runs along the main coast road every 30 min from Ayr via Prestwick, Irvine, Ardrossan and Seamill to West Kilbride, Fairlie and Largs.

Taxi operators are Eddie's (+44 1294 822812) and I & D Airport Transfers (+44 7821 568255).


  • West Kilbride Museum, Village Hall, 1 Arthur Street. Tu Th Sa 10:30AM-12:30PM & 2-4PM. Small volunteer-run museum upstairs in village hall. Donation.
  • 1 Law Castle (200 yards east of railway station), . Closed to public. Built in 1467 as a wedding gift for Princess Mary, sister of King James III. But the groom was attainted of treason while he was away on the Continent, where he wisely chose to remain, so the marriage was annulled. The castle fell into disrepair in the 19th century but was smartly restored in the 21st and is now luxury accommodation with six bedrooms. Admire the facade, no interior tours. Law Castle (Q6502991) on Wikidata Law Castle on Wikipedia
  • 2 Barony Centre at 50 Main Street has rotating exhibitions, art studios and events.
  • 3 Portencross Castle, Portencross Rd KA23 9QA (On coast 2 miles west of town). Apr Jul Aug daily; May Jun Sep: Sa Su 11AM-4PM. First built in the 13th century, and replaced by the present bastion in the 14th. It hasn't suffered from assault and was only abandoned in 1739 when a storm ripped the roof off. By donation. Portencross Castle (Q7231565) on Wikidata Portencross Castle on Wikipedia
  • The beach stretches from Seamill by the Hydro to an outcrop of rocks by the golf course. It resumes along Ardneill Bay to Portencross. Good views southwest towards Arran.


  • Walk down Kirktonhall Glen. The woodland footpath starts in town centre and follows the Kilbride Burn for a couple of miles down to the shore at Seamill.
  • 1 West Kilbride Golf Club, Fullarton Drive, Seamill KA23 9HT. 18-hole links course between shore and farmland, fairly flat but with a stiff sea breeze. Par 71, the "Arran" course is 6523 yards. May-Oct £60 pp round, Nov-Mar £30.


Portencross Castle
  • A Gift Tae Gie, 45 Main Street, +44 1294 829509. M-Sa 10:00-5PM. Has various gifts, toys, cards and interior accessories.
  • There's a Co-op food store (open daily 7AM-10PM) on Ritchie Street, but for a big shop head to the supermarkets in Ardrossan.
  • Fencebay Farmers Market is at Fencefoot Farm off Irvine Rd in Fairlie, last Sunday of the month 9AM-2PM.


  • Various Indian and Chinese takeaways in the centre of town.
  • The Wee Deli, 2 Ritchie Street KA23 9AL, +44 1294 822015. Tu-Sa 10:30AM-3PM. A tardis of food delights. Best known for the wee deli pate & soups.
  • Cherry Orchard, 2C Orchard St KA23 9AD, +44 1294 824880. M-Sa 10AM-4PM. Friendly cafe at the foot of the glen.
  • Seamill Hydro Hotel has an excellent restaurant, see "Sleep".
  • 1 The Catch at Fins Restaurant, Fencefoot Farm, Fairlie KA29 0EG (5 miles north of town, on main road halfway to Largs), +44 1475 568 989. Th-Sa noon-3PM, 6-9PM; Su noon-3PM. Acclaimed seafood restaurant, small and booking essential. Not licensed, byob or buy from shop next door. mains from £12.


  • The Twa Dugs and the King's Arms are typical Scottish pubs on Main Street.


Seamill Beach
  • 1 Carlton Seamill B&B, 53 Ardrossan Road, Seamill KA23 9NE, +44 1294 822075, . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 10AM. B&B in Victorian house with period furnishings, has become run-down and tatty. B&B double from £70.
  • 2 Seamill Hydro Hotel, 39 Ardrossan Rd, Seamill KA23 9ND, +44 1294 8242217. Upscale hotel with leisure & gym facilities and pool. With Orangery restaurant plus Aura bar meals. B&B double from £90.
  • Seamill House Hotel is a separate mid-range establishment almost next door to the Hydro.
  • 3 The Waterside, Ardrossan Rd KA23 9NG (south edge of town), +44 1294 824414. Clean modern hotel, great setting but you need the sunshine. B&B double £80.



As of Sep 2022, West Kilbride and the coast highway have 4G from EE and Three, but a poor patchy signal from O2 and Vodafone. 5G has not reached this area.

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This city travel guide to West Kilbride is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.