North Ayrshire clings to Scotland’s west coast and reaches out into the Firth of Clyde, claiming Arran as its own. Often described as ‘Scotland in miniature’, the scenic island of Arran, caught between the Ayrshire coast and the Kintyre Peninsula, has been a popular holiday resort for generations of Clydesiders, with excellent opportunities for outdoor activities around the island.
The Highland Boundary Fault runs through the island, and while the mountain of Goatfell dominates the skyline to the north, the south is much more level. The granite northern peaks are home to red deer, unique vegetation and raptors, while the narrow coastal plain has typically Hebridean raised beaches, on which tiny clachan (hamlet) settlements have developed, many now in ruins after the infamous Highland Clearances of the 19th century.
Back on the mainland, North Ayrshire takes in the towns of Irvine, Kilwinning, Largs and the ‘Three Towns’ – Ardrossan, Saltcoats and Stevenson. The area’s long sandy beaches and historic attractions make it an ideal destination to escape to from Scotland’s cities.