Ayrshire food trail: where to go for a picnic in Ayrshire
Culzean Castle / courtesy of National Trust for Scotland
A selection of the places where you can buy food for a memorable local picnic along with locations to enjoy
There are always a few elements required to put together a memorable picnic, but some good food and the right location are the essentials. Ayrshire and Arran offers plenty to help out on both scores.
Various local delis and sandwich shops are well worth knowing about if you're looking to pick up ingredients or something ready made. The Wee Deli in West Kilbride, Logans Larder in Fenwick and Jane's Delicatessen in Maybole are great examples in different parts of the region, while for specific ingredients try stopping in at the shop and tearoom at Dunlop Dairy by Stewarton, where they make a range of artisan farmhouse cheeses including cheddar-like Dunlop and soft cheeses shaped like local landmark Ailsa Craig. Bhaile Craft Bakery in Ayr sells a range of breads, pastries and treats that would adorn any picnic, while over on Arran The Bay Kitchen & Stores in Whiting Bay is a handy place to stock up on supplies and The Sandwich Station makes an array of memorable and imaginative sandwiches right by the ferry pier in Lochranza.
As for places to go, Ayrshire's long coastline and rural hinterland has plenty of top spots to offer, among them the estates around Dumfries House by Cumnock and Culzean Castle on the coast near Turnberry, both of which offer extensive grounds, family activities, on-site cafés and historic buildings to check out. One of Scotland's most exclusive picnics is available through Glenapp Castle, a luxury hotel beside Ballantrae, which offers a package for eight people to take a special picnic hamper (and a bottle or two of wine) on the hotel's private speed boat to the uninhabited landmark island of Ailsa Craig in the Firth of Clyde.
All venues featured on the Ayrshire Larder Food Map.
The Sandwich Station
Isle of Arran,
A simple takeaway sandwich bar and coffee shop by Lochranza pier, utilising sourdough Blackwater Bakehouse bread, Robin's Herbs and Skipness smoked fish.
The Bay Kitchen & Stores
Isle of Arran,
Grocery store stocked with well-chosen local produce including island bread, plus an array of their own homecooked food for takeaway or at one of the few sit-in tables.
A grand and luxurious setting for upmarket dining including a six-course gourmet menu based around produce grown on the estate.
2 Ritchie Street,
Engaging takeaway and perch-in daytime café-deli with some great homecooking and homebaking, along with a few shelves of preserves and dry goods.
Culzean Castle and Country Park
Culzean Castle and Country Park,
Visit the Castle to admire the period objects, take in the panoramic view of the Clyde from the Round Drawing Room and check out one of the world’s largest collections of swords and pistols in the Armoury. Outdoors there are around 40 other quirky…
25 High Street,
A modest shop on the main street stocked with a good range of Ayrshire, Scottish and specialist food including Barwhey's cheese, also serving takeaway snacks and soup.
Bhaile Craft Bakery
11 North Harbour Estate,
Small-scale, artisan craft baker producing daily sourdough loaves, speciality breads, pastries and sweet treats, with a small shop open for retail sales, coffee and snacks.
West Clerkland Farm,
Ann Dorward has been making ‘Scotland’s cheddar’ since the mid-eighties, reinvigorating a once-common 17th-century recipe for Dunlop cheese on West Clerkland Farm. She uses the milk from her own cows, and also has flocks of sheep and goats from which…
28 Main Road,
A dynamic and welcoming local café-deli serving soups, salads, platters and a daily 'soul bowl' as well as offering cakes, coffee and useful staples to buy including bread, eggs and veg.
Dumfries House Estate,
Historic house with extensive grounds and attractions, incorporating an education centre for hospitality, training restaurant, Coach House café and kitchen garden.