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25 Apr 2022

Plan your perfect day – Brodie, Brodick and Burns

A view of the exterior of Brodie Castle on an autumn day. Tall beech trees behind the castle are red and orange. The walls of the castle have a pink hue. A couple with a pushchair walk along a gravelled path leading up to the castle.
For a day out with something for everyone, visit one of our properties where there’s plenty to discover and explore both inside and outside!

Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

The leafy village of Alloway in Ayrshire is the place to go to learn about Scotland’s bard. From the cottage where Rabbie was born, to Tam o’ Shanter’s iconic Brig o’ Doon, there are stories to be shared right across the village.

Start your journey at the award-winning, interactive Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, home to an incredible 5,000 Burns artefacts and unique interactive exhibits. Then pick up a hot meal or some delicious home baking in the café before heading outside for children to let off some steam at the Scots Wa-Hey play area. Every piece of equipment is themed around Burns and his work – from the Tam o’ Shanter flying fox to Auld Kirk climbing wall.

You could stay and play all day but make sure to leave time for the atmospheric and fascinating Burns Cottage. Last entry is at 3pm and there’s more fun to be had along the way. Continue spotting the Burns references along the Poet’s Path, where the sculptures include a possibly timorous (if not so wee!) mouse and the recently installed ‘Twa dogs’, Luath and Caesar.

At the end of this creative trail is Burns Cottage, where the poet lived until the age of seven. Listen to verses of Tam O’Shanter in the kitchen of the cottage and then, if you’ve still got time and energy, you can head back past the museum to follow in Tam’s footsteps and visit Alloway Auld Kirk and the Brig o’ Doon.

Finally, head to the beautiful Burns Monument Gardens to climb the stairs of the 21-metre-high tower and take a moment to gaze out over the gardens, the Doon and the iconic brig.

Plan a visit to Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

A human-sized statue of a mouse sat up with its paws in front of its body as it gazes into the distance. There is a tall hedge and trees behind it.
The timorous mouse on the Poet’s Path

Brodie Castle & Estate

Spring is a marvellous time to visit Moray’s Brodie Castle Estate, as that’s when the lawns are carpeted with golden daffodils. Back in 1899, Major Ian Brodie gave up growing roses in favour of a new obsession, and his regimented rows of daffs continue to delight to this day. ‘They look almost like little soldiers standing to attention,’ says Alexandra Boag- Wyllie, visitor services supervisor.

There’s more to the estate than just the daffodils, of course. ‘Walk around the pond – you can see beautiful birds,’ Alex suggests. ‘I would also recommend taking a wander through the shrubbery.’ Visitors often miss this gem, resplendent with unusual trees.

Take your time strolling around the castle walls – its architecture spans centuries, and eagle-eyed visitors will spot the carved initials of former clan chiefs. Inside, stop to admire Alex’s favourite painting, ‘The Philosopher and his Pupils’ by Willem van der Vliet, and seek out a pair of returning exhibits: this year, the coronation robe worn by Queen Adelaide comes home after conservation work, and a precious 1311 letter written by Robert the Bruce to the Brodies also rejoins the display.

And if you’re travelling with kids, you mustn’t miss the amazing Playful Garden either. With its mirrors, musical instruments, giant table and chairs and more, it’s like nowhere else. The massive bunny sculpture is the biggest in Scotland, and was inspired by Ninian Brodie’s star turn in a local production of Harvey. There’s a great café here, too.

Alex suggests taking a guidebook home to learn even more about the castle’s wonderful history. Be warned though, it’ll make you want to plan another trip before too long…

Plan a visit to Brodie Castle

Two young children slide down a grassy slope beside a giant model of a white rabbit, that is lying on the bank.
The Brodie Bunny!

Brodick Castle, Garden & Country Park

It takes just an hour to cross over to Arran from Ardrossan on the mainland. Once ashore, Britain’s only island country park is easily reached via a short bike journey, a 10-minute drive or about an hour’s walk (depending on whose pace you’re travelling at).

If you’ve worked up an appetite on the way over, stop off at the Woodland Café for a refreshment break and picnic supplies on your way into the country park. From here, a wealth of options awaits you, from the walled garden to the fairies and legends trail. But if you’re travelling with children in tow, they might already be pestering you to find the playpark…

The good news is that Brodick’s unique Isle Be Wild play area has plenty to entertain adventurous swingers and scramblers, with high towers and walkways, zipwires and bridges. And on good weather days, the Red Squirrel Tuck Shop by the play park has a range of treats for when snack time arrives.

There are real red squirrels on Arran too, of course. They’re thriving on the island, thanks to the absence of invasive greys. There’s nowhere better to spot them than Brodick’s red squirrel hide. But first, take your time to explore the grand baronial castle, which is brimming with hundreds of fascinating treasures. Its silver collection was the inspiration for Brodick’s sparkling silver garden: 21 mirrored pillars, talking tubes, a xylophone and majestic stag.

Later, on the way back from the red squirrel hide, another quick trip to the playpark may be in order. Here, you can pick up ice creams to enjoy on your walk back via Brodick’s woodland trails, either to your night’s accommodation or your ferry home.

Plan a visit to Brodick Castle

Brodick Castle, seen from across a green lawn on a bright sunny day.
Brodick Castle