Set in the heart of Scotland's Robert Burns country, approximately 30 mi/50 km southwest of Glasgow, Ayr will appeal to literary mavens. Attractions include the parish church where Burns was baptized, as well as the two bridges the poet immortalized in Twa Brigs. Also in town are 16th-century Loudon Hall and the 17th-century church Ayr Auld Kirk. No place in Scotland is complete without a golf course, and Ayr has three—their settings along the coastline are stunning.

South of Ayr is Alloway, where Robert Burns was born. Located in the village is the Robert Burns National Heritage Park (which includes the cottage where he was born), the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, the Burns Monument and Gardens, Alloway's haunted Auld Kirk and the Brig O' Doon, over which Tam O'Shanter escaped from witches in Burns's epic poem.

On the coast road south from Alloway is Culzean (https://www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/culzean), a castle designed by Robert Adam and the most-visited property belonging to the National Trust for Scotland. Set along the coast in a wooded estate that's one of Scotland's finest parks, the castle exudes a sense of history and tradition and houses a fine collection of military memorabilia dating from the 1800s. Mementos of former U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower, who was given lifetime use of an apartment in the castle, are on display. (The Eisenhower Rooms, part of the National Guest Flat, can be rented.) The cliff below the castle is riddled with old smuggler's caves.

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