LOCKDOWN restrictions have eased, the sun is shining and the weekend has landed. So where do you want to go? 

Here’s our list of the top 10 beauty spots to visit in North Ayrshire. Pack a picnic, but remember to stay safe and follow COVID guidance while you’re out and about. 

Irvine Times: Kelburn CastleKelburn Castle

Kelburn Country Centre

Home to the Earl of Glasgow, Kelburn, situated near Fairlie, boasts a castle, a splendid waterfall, marvellous walking trails and lots of activities for the youngsters. There are three outdoor play areas, including the Secret Forest, the Wild West Saloon and the ever popular adventure course. 

Irvine Times: Ardrossan South BeachArdrossan South Beach

Ardrossan’s beaches 

Whether you go for the North Shore or South Beach, when the sun comes out, it will be glorious. And you and your family will enjoy spectacular views of Arran and the Clyde. And from the North Shore, you can walk all the way to Seamill if you’re up for it. 

Irvine Times: Eglinton ParkEglinton Park

Eglinton Park 

The magnificent grounds around Eglinton Castle, near Kilwinning, are well worth a visit. The former home of the Earls of Eglinton and the Montgomery Clan is now maintained by North Ayrshire Council’s ranger service. Plenty of open space, playparks and soft play areas and lots of wildlife to spot.  

Irvine Times: Brodick CastleBrodick Castle

Brodick Castle and Country Park 

Brodick Castle, set in superb grounds, remains a must visit. The castle and gardens were acquired by the National Trust for Scotland in 1958 from Lady Jean Fforde. The castle is normally open to the public during summer while the country park is open all year round. 

Irvine Times: LochranzaLochranza

Lochranza

Where else can you see magnificent stags wander along the shore next to an iconic ruined castle, just a short distance away from the island’s own distillery?  Lochranza, on the north west of Arran, is one of the most beautiful towns in Scotland. 

Irvine Times: Lynn GlenLynn Glen

Lynn Glen 

This beautiful wooded glen features some dramatic waterfalls and incredible native trees. Situated near Dalry, a fairy trail has recently been added to the area, which has proved very popular with youngsters. 

Irvine Times: Irvine Beach ParkIrvine Beach Park

Irvine Beach Park 

The sandy beach offers outstanding views over Irvine Bay and the Firth of Clyde. The water is suitable for bathing and the long sandy coastline extends many miles to the south. With a boating lake, play areas and a walking and cycling paths, it’s perfect for a picnic. 

Irvine Times: Portencross CastlePortencross Castle

Portencross 

You can enjoy a beautiful scenic coastal walk around Portencross Castle, just north of West Kilbride. There’s a lot of history too, with the land being fifted by King Robert the Bruce to Sir Robert Boyd after the Battle of Bannockburn. The castle is now maintained as a museum by the Friends of Portencross Castle. 

Irvine Times: The Pencil, LargsThe Pencil, Largs

Largs seafront 

The popular destination for day trippers for decades, Largs has all you’d expect from a seaside resort. Try the walk from the Pencil Monument on the south side of the town along the promenade to the town centre.  

Irvine Times: MillportMillport

The Isle of Cumbrae 

A traditional Doon the Watter holiday favourite. The island, a short hop on the ferry from Largs, is a cyclist’s haven and if you don’t bring your own, there are bike hire shops in Millport to suit your needs. It’s also home to the famous Crocodile Rock and the National Watersports Centre and there’s plenty for the kids to enjoy.