Ayrshire food trail: Robert Burns food and drink trail
- The List
- 20 July 2018
Food and drink locations around Ayrshire with connection to the life, work and inspiration of Ayrshire-born Scottish poet Robert Burns
Scotland's best-known poet, Robert Burns, was born on 25 January 1759 in a cottage in the village of Alloway, just to the south of the town of Ayr. He subsequently lived and worked in various locations around Ayrshire before his first collection of poems, published in Kilmarnock, became well-known in the 1780s. His legacy is celebrated in various parts of Ayrshire, and his links to food and drink range from his work as a ploughman and farmer to his celebration of whisky, beer and, most famously, haggis, in his poetry.
Burns Birthplace Museum, run by the National Trust for Scotland, incorporates not just the cottage where Burns was born, but exhibition areas, a shop and café. It's also the location for the monthly Alloway Guid Fayre Market, held on the second Saturday of each month, where local food and drink producers gather to sell from market stalls. Nearby, the Brig o'Doon House Hotel is named for a local landmark that features in Burns' epic poem Tam O'Shanter, and makes much of the local connections, not least by keeping the meal traditionally served at Burns Suppers, haggis, neeps and tatties, on their menu all year round.
The heart of Ayr itself is the location of the Ayr Brewing Company, whose Rabbie's Porter is one of a number of Burns-themed beers brewed on site, while whisky shop Robbie's Drams is named after the owner rather than the poet, but sells many examples of the uisge beatha which Burns often lauded in his verse. Pollok Williamson Butchers, with three branches around Ayrshire, are the best-known local makers of haggis.
The Burns family moved to Mossgiel Farm near Mauchline in 1784, and today the same farm produces its own non-homogenized milk, selling through local outlets as well as from the farm itself. You can find further links to Burns in Mauchline, including a statue of his wife Jean Armour, with meals featuring local produce served at the Fairburn Hotel. Not far away, the Kailyard Restaurant can be found in the Black Bull hotel in the village of Tarbolton, home of the prototype Burns Club.
There are further farming connections south of Ayr, including Barwheys Dairy near Maybole, making traditional farmhouse cheese close to the location where Burns' mother did the same in eighteenth century. A little further along the main A77 road at Kirkoswald is Souter's Inn, a bistro and tearoom right beside a historic house known as Souter Johnnie's Cottage, named for the famous character from Tam O'Shanter.
All venues featured on the Ayrshire Larder Food Map.