East Ayrshire lies to the south of Glasgow on Scotland’s western coast, and its main towns are Kilmarnock, Cumnock and New Cumnock. Loch Doon lies within the area, and Loch Doon Castle, originally built on an island, was moved to the shore when the loch was dammed in the 1930's, in order to avoid the rising water. East Ayrshire is also home to Dean Castle Country Park, which covers 200 acres and not only provides visitors with the opportunity to admire the world class collections of historic weaponry, armor and musical instruments within the 14th century castle, but also features a visitors’ center, adventure playground, pets corner and some beautiful woodland walks. Mauchline, 13 km from Kilmarnock, was home to Scotland’s National Poet, Robert Burns, during the most productive period of his life. The Burns House Museum provides an excellent insight into his life and works.
The recently restored Dick Institute in Kilmarnock has a superb museum which displays fine examples of local and industrial history, two contemporary art galleries and public and reference libraries. The town has many bars, restaurants, cafés and hotels serving a wide selection of local and international food and drink. Based at the Dunaskin Heritage Center, the Scottish Industrial Railway Center makes for a fascinating visit. The center owns a number of standard gauge steam and diesel locomotives and an extensive collection of photographs.