Ayrshire food trail: Robert Burns food and drink trail

  • The List
  • 20 July 2018
Ayrshire Food Trails: Robert Burns Food & Drink Trail

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.

A Souter's Inn
47 Main Road, Kirkoswald, South Ayrshire, KA19 8HY
Cosy restaurant on the site of Robert Burns’ schoolhouse, with adjoining tearoom selling ice cream made on site, Costley’s hand-made chocolates and patisserie.
B Robert Burns Birthplace Museum
Murdoch's Lone, Alloway, Ayr, KA7 4PQ
Robert Burns Birthplace Museum offers a truly unique encounter with Scotland’s favourite son. The museum comprises the famous Burns Cottage where the poet was born, the historic landmarks where he set his greatest work, the elegant monument and gardens…
C Brig o' Doon House Hotel
High Maybole Road, Alloway, South Ayrshire, KA7 4PQ
Traditional Scottish dishes, including an all-year-round Burns Supper menu, at this attractively located Costley and Costley group hotel and gardens near Robert Burns' birthplace.
D Ayr Brewing Company
5 Racecourse Road, Ayr, KA7 2DG
A five-barrel micro-brewery producing between 20 and 40 casks a week, they focused mostly on session beers until the May 2012 launch of Dr Hornbrook, a 7.2% blonde imperial stout released in 750ml swingtop bottles as well as cask. Supplying pubs across…
E Robbie's Drams
3 Sandgate, Ayr, KA7 1BG
An independent whisky specialist, with many collectors’ items including bottlings from closed and silent distilleries as well as their own single casks.
F Pollok Williamson Family Butchers
23 High Street,, Ayr, KA7 1LU
An Ayrshire based family butcher with outlets in Ayr and Kilmarnock, as well as online shopping, with a particular reputation for dry-aged beef and haggis.
G Barwheys Dairy
Barwheys Farm, Maybole, South Ayrshire, KA19 7JS
A small scale cheese-maker, Barwheys make no more than forty-five truckles of cheese each week at their eco-friendly dairy in Maybole in Ayrshire. Their launch product, Barwheys, came out in September 2011 and is a hard cheese made from the…
H Kailyard Restaurant
The Black Bull Hotel, 2b Montgomerie Street, Tarbolton, South Ayrshire, KA5 5PR
A smart, contemporary-styled restaurant attached to the village hotel serving a big menu including seasonal specials, crowd-pleasers, grills and bar meals.
I Mossgiel Farm
Tarbolton Road, Mauchline, East Ayrshire, KA5 5LL
Faced with losing the family farm as a result of the unforgiving dairy industry paying only 15p for a litre of milk, Bryce Cunningham took matters into his own hands. He ensured his herd of Ayrshire cows (the “Mossgiel Girls”) ate a purely organic…
J Fairburn Hotel
14 Loudoun Street, Mauchline, East Ayrshire, KA5 5BU
Main village inn in Burns' former stomping ground with a pleasant restaurant serving an accessible menu studded with food from farms and businesses nearby.