Tuesday, 19 October 2010

The Cook School at BBC Food Show

The Cook School Scotland are attending this year's BBC good Food Show and they want to see you there!

They will be providing substantial discounts on their products and "something for everyone" on Stand F40.

You can win tickets by answering the following Question.

What is their recipe of the month for May?

Email your reply complete with name, address and telephone number to info@cookschool.org - you've only got til 5pm today (19th October to get your answer in)

Monday, 18 October 2010

MP Calls For "One Ayrshire" Tourism Activity

AN MP has called on Ayrshire’s three local authorities to get together to promote the area as a tourist destination.

Central Ayrshire MP Brian Donohoe said the three councils currently worked separately to promote “their own particular jewel in their crown.”

He said North Ayrshire has Arran, while South Ayrshire has Burns and golf and East Ayrshire has Kilmarnock Football Club.

Speaking at his annual tourism summit in Prestwick, Mr Donohoe said: “All three authorities must work together to treat Ayrshire as a whole rather than an area with three different parts.”

Local businesses complained organisations such as VisitScotland put too much onus on Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Mr Donohoe went on: “Many of them feel it is only the cities which are benefiting from the input of the tourism ‘experts’.

“We must get pan-Ayrshire support for a solely Ayrshire based tourism board or forum.

“Tourists arriving at Prestwick find absolutely no representation for the place. There is no promotion for Ayrshire. So how can we expect tourists to come here?”

The loss of Ryanair flights is another major blow to the tourism industry, said Mr Donohoe.

He added: “The cut-backs in the airline’s winter schedules has had a marked effect on the number of tourists coming to Ayrshire especially from the Scandanavian countries.

“I intend to promote a cross-party pan-Ayrshire effort in the hope that a body such at the Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce can perhaps look at organising a more structured meet up for the future.”

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Dalquharran Castle is Used as Security

Interesting article from the Irish Indepedant last week. Interesting for the main story but also for the fact that Ayrshire has been relocated by the journalist to the Scottish highlands.

"A castle in the Scottish highlands (sic), valuable paintings by Irish artists Sean Keating, Donald Tesky and George K Gillespie, as well as any proceeds from an upcoming court battle, have all been put up as security for borrowings from Anglo Irish Bank by indebted developer Seamus Ross of Menolly Homes.

Mr Ross has pledged Dalquharran Castle in Ayrshire as security against borrowings from the bank. The ruined castle, built by Robert Adam in 1780, is earmarked for major redevelopment as a golf resort, subject to funding.

Menolly has also pledged land in Montenegro as security, as well as a number of insurance policies, according to mortgage documents.

The image comes from a great site about derelict buildings and has some great photos of a magnificent ruin that most of us remain blissfully unaware of.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

What's the old saying about the proof of the pudding...

Well, little more than a fortnight after the three separate Ayrshire councils signed a declaration to work together in promoting a single destination Ayrshire message, what happens but one council already breaks ranks at the first big press and PR opportunity that comes around.

The cynics have argued that they heard this "joint working exercise" business spouted before and doubted the likelihood of seeing anything more than words. Do they have grounds for this scepticism? Make your own minds up...

This paragraph is lifted from the R & A press release announcing Turnberry as venue for the 2012 Seniors Open. (Which in itself is great news for Ayrshire and the rest of Scottish tourism.

"Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, said: "Turnberry is an iconic golf location and I am thrilled The Senior Open Championship is returning to South Ayrshire next year. We are, of course, the birthplace and home of Open Golf and we are also well-known for hosting major international events, so it’s going to be a fabulous sporting occasion.

“I look forward to welcoming players, staff, fans, family and friends to South Ayrshire for this wonderful event and will ensure a great time is had by all here on Scotland’s very own golf coast.”

So much for the value of that commitment and pledge then. They really just can't help themselves can they?

Martin Cheyne, Councillor David O'Neill, Councillor Bill McIntosh, Councillor Douglas Reid, and Jill Farrell sign the new Ayrshire Tourism Charter

Councillor McIntosh, just in case you forgot what you signed up for - there is only one Ayrshire.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Two Teams in Ayrshire...

The value and opportunity for football based tourism is greatly underestimated throughout Scotland. With matches with teams from the length and breadth of the country the idea of an all inclusive package with a couple of nights DBB, match ticket and match day hospitality is a sound proposal to attract shoulder and winter season visits to the area. And of course not every team has the pulling power of The Old Firm but visiting teams do have supporters with the means to make a weekend or midweek break of it?

So with that in mind how about tying up a hotel break with a football package - here's Kilmarnock Football Club's offering for their forthcoming CIS Cup match against Airdrie on Wednesday 25th August 2010 at Rugby Park, Kilmarnock.

Enjoy the 2nd round of the Co-operative Insurance Cup while dining at one of the finest venues in Scottish football for hospitality by taking advantage of our special deal at only £45 per person.

The package includes:
  • 2 course meal
  • 3 complimentary drinks
  • Executive seating
  • Match programme and team sheet
  • Traditional half time fayre
Guests arrive at 6pm. Please note cost includes match ticket and the evening will consist of a pay bar facility for additional drinks.

For more information or to book call Commercial Department on 01563 545312 email:  hospitality@kilmarnockfc.co.uk

You can check availability for hotel accommodation on the 25th August at nearby Ayrshire hotels

Back to School Dining Offer!

Gailes Hotel in Irvine and The Old Loans Inn near Troon are celebrating (as are the rest of us parents) the kids going back to school!

From Tuesday 17th August to Friday 20th August from 3pm until 6pm the Restaurant at the Gailes Hotel or  The Old Loans Inn are offering a delicious back to school treat with all kids eating from their children's menu for FREE.

Check out the Simpsinns newsletter for more information and contact details.

Make a Weekend of the Marymass Festival in Irvine

Keeping today's theme of Ayrshire Festival's going we can't overlook the traditional Marymass Festival in Irvine.

From fireworks to folk music, crowning to comedy, racing to rock music, horses to history Irvine has it all every August for the Marymass Festival with 12 days of tradition and there's still a whole weekend and more of activities left to enjoy.  Download the Highlights Brochure for information

The Festival is steeped in local culture and retains many of its ancient traditions dating back to the 17th century. This, coupled with a modern twist, makes it a must see festival for the whole family.

Join the carnival atmosphere on Marymass Saturday (Saturday 21 August) when one of the largest horse-drawn processions in Scotland leads the crowd to Irvine Town Centre to witness the Crowning of Marymass Queen. The parade then makes its way to Irvine Moor, where a full afternoon of sporting events takes place, including what is reputed to be the world's oldest horse race meeting and legendary Greasy Pole competition – a quirky Marymass tradition which sees teams attempting to climb a 20ft pole coated in grease to retrieve the 'coveted ham'.

The Marymass Folk Festival (Wednesday 18 to Sunday 22 August) is an institution in Irvine, where a wealth of national and international musicians appear in a sensational programme over five days. This year sees many folk favourites returning, such as The McCalmans, Johnny Silvo, The Ideal Band and rising stars such as Chloe Matharu.

A new family night has been introduced to the Marymass calendar – in the shape of Dancing Queen – an all singing and dancing event in the Magnum Centre on Sunday 15 August. So dig out your flares and dust down your platforms and get down to sing along to all your ABBA favourites.

Irvine was made a Royal Burgh in 1372 and is now a busy town with important historical and maritime connections. The Moor, on Kilwinning Road, was the location of the first-ever horseracing meeting, in the 17th century. Rumour has it that the Irvine Carters' Society rode from the town to fight for Mary Queen of Scots - hence the annual celebration of Marymass.

With over 100 different events, the Festival runs from 12 to 23 August 2010 - check online availability for Irvine and Ayrshire Hotels and make short break of your visit.

Semptembayr - More Live Arts for Ayrshire

It's not only Edinburgh that is culturing it up this festival season. Ayrshire is going live in a big way; The Kilmarnock Edition Festival and Live@Troon both take place between the 3rd and 5th of September and the annual Septembayr Festival kicks off at the same time for four weeks of music and the arts.

According to the Semptembayr website, "This  is Ayr’s own festival, organised by local volunteers. Septembayr is a mixed media festival encompassing popular and classical music, drama, street events, and sport."

There are three pages of events listed in the programme and over the coming days we'll select some highlights for the visitor to Ayrshire to look out for. In the meantime have a look at a packed programme online and book your tickets - many available online - or download the PDF Event Brochure

You can easily book a great value Ayrshire short break and make a weekend of it.

Kilmarnock Edition Music Festival

At the same time as the Live@Troon event is going on there's The Kilmarnock Edition Festival taking place funnily enough in Kilmarnock. So while they may be competing there's certianly going to be no shortage of live music for that weekend in Ayrshire... and we're sure there's more too somewhere.

Fill your little world right up, right up, with a great selection of music at Kilmarnock Edition Festival 2010. From 3rd – 5th September, 3 great days, 3 great venues and over 20 great acts will hit Kilmarnock. With The Feeling, Eddi Reader, Roddy Woomble, Wooden Box with a Fistful of Fivers and on the dance stage Basshunter & guests.

In addition, this year the festival will be supported by a weeklong programme of fringe events and special offers on food and accommodation.

This year’s headliners are The Feeling, Eddi Reader and following the huge success of Calvin Harris last year, Basshunter takes to the stage at the Grand Hall for a live set plus support, filling this year’s dance slot.

The evening acts will again be supported by two fantastic afternoons of completely FREE performances from local and up and coming acts in the beautiful grounds of the Dean Castle.

Roddie Woomble who played the first ever Kilmarnock Edition Festival with Idlewild returns in a support slot with guitarist Sorren McLean.
The organisers have also introduced a Fringe Festival which will take place throughout Kilmarnock from 28th August – so keep an eye out for the many great events which supplement the main festival.

Find our more about the Kilmarnock Edition Festival or check availability for hotel rooms in Ayrshire over a busy musical weekend.
Troon is set to host an exciting three-day music festival over the weekend of 3-5 September 2010. Called Live@Troon, it's the first of what the organisers hope will be a really successful annual event.

You can find out who's appearing on the Live@Troon website

Fancy a weekend break watching music? Check availability and book online now...

Old Loans Inn
South Beach Hotel
Lochgreen House Hotel
Highgrove House Hotel

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Wedding Suite Unveiled at Turnberry Resort

Turnberry, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scotland, has unveiled a new wedding reception suite that boasts one of the most inspiring and romantic backdrops in the UK.

The Turnberry Suite combines a five-star quality wedding destination for up to 200 people with stunning ocean views over the Irish Sea, Ailsa Craig and the mountains of Arran.

Direct access to a large private terrace offers space for wedding parties to enjoy an alfresco champagne reception while the sun sets. This stunning wedding venue also offers an array of photo opportunities throughout the 800 acre estate, from dramatic locations at the Turnberry lighthouse and on the steps of the hotel to warm and intimate settings in front of the log burning fires in the The Grand Tea Lounge.

The venue is fresh, spacious and ideally suited for wedding receptions. A series of floor-to-ceiling windows flood the venue with natural light and offer direct access to the terrace.

The choice of ocean-view suites are the perfect setting for the happy couple to relax in style after their big day. Generous in size, opulent in design, the suites offer all the thoughtful touches you might wish for, including large, walk-in shower with separate bathtub and, enticing Arran Aromatics toiletries.

Offering special accommodation rates for wedding guests, Turnberry has 198 guest rooms including 42 newly renovated deluxe rooms and four lavish ocean-view suites in main hotel, as well as 12 lodges with eight bedrooms and six bedrooms on the estate.

Prices for weddings at Turnberry of 50 or more people start from only GBP80 per person, including:
  • Turnberry Suite room hire
  • Three course wedding breakfast
  • Optional drinks package (half bottle wine and 2 glasses of sparkling wine per person)
  • Bed & Breakfast accommodation for the Bride & Groom in a deluxe ocean-view bedroom with VIP amenity
  • Flowers for table centre pieces, menu cards, place cards and table plans
  • Table linen and chair covers
  • Cake stand and knife
  • Microphone and speakers
To speak to a member of Turnberry's dedicated wedding team, please telephone 01655 333 996, e-mail turnberry@luxurycollection.com or visit http://www.turnberryresort.co.uk/meeting

If  you're looking for wedding availability in Ayrshire you can book your rooms directly with Scotland's For Me Online

Monday, 9 August 2010

British Boys Championship Arrives in Ayrshire

The R&A have rolled into town with two of Scotland's West Coast Links golf courses joint hosting the British Boys Amateur Championships.

Practice started on Sunday morning at Barassie and Dundonald with the Strokeplay Qualifying teeing off on Tuesday morning.

Visitors are welcomed along to both clubs to watch the proceedings and you can download the full start list for Tuesday and Wednesday play here. The draw will be published on a daily basis on this blog for the Matchplay sections from Thrusday onwards.

Barassie are publishing their images from the event directly onto their Facebook pages at www.facebook.com/barassie

Friday, 6 August 2010

Keep up to date with Ayrshire Golf news

If you're a visitor or even an operator or accommodation provider in Ayrshire you can keep up to date with the very latest offers and news from ten of Ayrshire golf courses direct from their homepage.

Scotland's West Coast Golf Links features ten of the country's finest links courses including three Open Championship venues and they are updating their availability and offers online at their updated website.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

British Boys Battle It Out at Barassie

Kilmarnock (Barassie) will once again add to its fine championship pedigree when it acts next week as the main host for the 2010 Boys Amateur Golf Championship. Since starting its long association with R&A championships in 1948, when it welcomed the Boys Amateur for the first time, Barassie has staged five Boys Home Internationals, two Jacques Leglise Trophy matches, stroke play qualifying for the 2001 Amateur Championship and a further four Boys Amateurs – not to mention having previously acted as a final qualifying venue when The Open has arrived at Royal Troon or Turnberry.

For the first time, in 2010, the Boys Amateur will be staged across two venues. Consequently, in addition to the match play venue, nearby Dundonald Links will host stroke play qualifying rounds over the first two days of the Championship. Opened in 2003, Dundonald has already hosted the Duke of York Young Champions Trophy event, as well as qualifying for The Senior Open Championship.

The event is open to spectators and several thousand are expected as family and friends follow the boys through the qualifying strokeplay and then through the matchplay. Both golf clubs will open their facilities to non members and car parking facilities have been set up at both venues.

Admission is free and the event takes place from Tuesday 10th until Sunday 15th of August and it is a great opportunity for visitors who are in the area to watch the future Champions of the future - Ronan Rafferty was one of the previous winners at Barassie!

More information is available directly from the golf clubs own websites.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Dundonald Games This Weekend

The first Saturday of August is always the date in the diary for Ayrshire's largest Highland or actually Lowland games. The Dundonald Games takes place in the village which is almost equidistant from Troon, Irvine and Kilmarnock and therfore perfect for visitors to Ayrshire to get to.

It may not have the scale of the Cowal Games but held under the shadow of the historic Dundonald Castle it provides a fun day out for family, friends and visitors and this year as usual there will be the pipe band competition, heavy events, battle re-enactments and a host of community benefiting stalls.

So if you're at a loose end or your guests are looking for something to do in Ayrshire on the 7th of August you could do worse than hop along to the Dundonald Games, car parking is signposted and admission is free from twelve noon onwards.

More information is available on The Dundonald Games website

Friday, 30 July 2010

Ideas For Ayrshire Golf Breaks?

Did you know that Peter Alliss, the Voice of Golf, is appearing at The Palace Theatre in Kilmarnock on Sunday 17th of October 2010.

In the format of an audience with he'll be regaling the audience with his golfing anecdotes, his own brand of dry humour and telling the stories that the audience want to hear. He'll also be answering questions on the night.

Just a thought for the hotels packaging golf... what about a Peter Alliss Golf Break for that quieter October Sunday? Round of golf on the Sunday morning, overnight accommodation with dinner, transfer and ticket to The Palace Theatre, golf Monday morning.

Sounds like an ideal Ayrshire Golf break with a difference doesn't it?

Let us know and we'll publish it for you in the meantime you can still buy tickets online for an Evening with Peter Alliss for £20

Friday, 23 July 2010

Get Along to the Ayr Flower Show

Taking place between Friday the 6th of August and Sunday the 8th The Ayr Flower Show is Scotland's answer to the Chelsea Flower show and since 1960 has been delighting and captivating visitors to the town as well as being a red letter weekend in the local calendar.

Held in the beautiful setting of Rozelle Estate with its feature trees, ponds, woodland walks and the glorious Rozelle Mansion House and Galleries, the event draws thousands of visitors from all over Scotland and beyond. They come to see the cream of British horticulture, marvel at stunning gardens created specially for the show, sample speciality food and drinks from throughout the UK, enjoy a range of family entertainment, or just have a great day out for all the family.

Ayr Flower Show is all about excellence, with hundreds of competitions for amateurs in everything from vegetable growing and flower arranging to crafts, photography and home baking. There's a children's flower show for younger members of the family to enjoy and take part in too.

Well worth a visit and you can get full information on the Ayr Flower Show programme and tickets from their website.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Sailors Take To Ayrshire Waters

Ayrshire is the focus this month on the seas as Largs Sailing Club in Ayrshire, sportscotland’s championship sailing venue and home of the Scottish Sailing Institute, welcome two out of four sailing regattas comprising the Laser World Championships: the Laser Radial Women’s World Championships from 7 - 14 July 2010 and the Laser Radial Men’s and Youth Worlds from 18 - 25 July 2010.

Hosting the event will attract more than 500 sailors to Ayrshire on the west coast of Scotland, including competitors from more than 30 countries, many with their sights set firmly on representing their country at the 2012 Olympic Games.

The Laser World Championships have been secured for Britain and is being hosted by the RYA and have been supported through a partnership of UK Sport, EventScotland (the national events agency) North Ayrshire Council, the Scottish Sailing Institute and Scottish Enterprise.

Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer at EventScotland, said: “To secure the Laser World Championships for Scotland is a great achievement and testament to the country’s sailing credentials.  Scotland attracts thousands of avid sailors from around the globe to its coasts each year and hosting two prestigious stages of the Laser Worlds will further reinforce the message that it’s a world class environment for the sport. 
“EventScotland has supported sailing in Scotland through a variety of events such as the Bell Lawrie Scottish Series in 2008 and 2009 which have raised awareness of the nation’s first class facilities and enthusiasm for the sport.  Largs will without doubt be an unforgettable host and the scenery of the south west coast of Scotland will be an unrivalled backdrop.”

David Kent, Sailing Development Manager at the Scottish Sailing institute, said: “The Scottish Sailing Institute is looking forward to welcoming the Laser Radial sailors to Largs and putting the superb facilities on offer at Largs Sailing Club, Largs Yacht Haven and sportscotland’s Inverclyde and Cumbrae centres onto the international stage. Scotland will provide a very warm welcome and some great racing for this Olympic dinghy. It is a superb opportunity for Scottish sailors and race officials to take part in a world class event on their home waters.”

Largs and North Ayrshire have an abundance of assets, which contribute to a quality sailing destination and offer some of the best sailing in Europe.  It has large areas of sheltered water, stunning scenery, beautiful islands to discover and superb marinas and moorings up and down our coastline.  People from across the UK, Western Europe and even as far afield as America come to sail in and around North Ayrshire.

Annemarie Burns, Project Manager, Scottish Enterprise, said: "Securing the 2010 Laser World Championships is a huge endorsement of Scotland's role as a venue for hosting international and Olympic class events. Our research has identified that the sailing industry is worth around £250 million to the Scottish economy and this world-class event is a major opportunity to showcase Scotland as an international sailing destination and maximise its growth potential."

Check late availability and book online for July in Ayrshire

Great Value Package for the Golfer to Ayrshire

The day before the Scottish Open, a week before The Open at St Andrews and a couple of weeks before the Seniors Open; today saw the launch of The Gailes Golf Experience.

Three Ayrshire courses - Western Gailes, Glasgow Gailes Links (right) and Dundonald Links - have joined together to create this unique golf pass with great value for the visiting golfer. Golfers to Ayrshire can play three of the finest links championship courses in Ayrshire for just £180.

For further information on Gailes Golf Experience call 01294 311649 or visit www.gailesgolfexperience.co.uk for details on how to book.

You can get information on all three of these great Scottish West Coast links golf courses - including maps, scorecards and clubhouse information at www.scotlandswestcoastgolflinks.com you can also check availability and book online accommodation for around twenty Ayrshire properties