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Ardrossan Harbour

Ardrossan is a town in Ayrshire in Scotland.

Get in

Most people coming here are only transiting through to get to the Isle of Arran.

By car

From the south, the A78 now by-passes Irvine, Stevenston and Saltcoats so Ardrossan is a lot easier to get to. A recommended route avoiding the traffic lights is to stay on the bypass until you pass Ardrossan, turn left and then turn right at a public toilet, following the coast. Stay on this road and then turn right at the crossroads at Princes Street.

From Glasgow, the M8 takes you to Glasgow Airport and at the Airport, the A737 signposted Irvine and going through Dalry is the best route.

Even though the bypass has been built, the main roads around the town centre can be clogged with ferry traffic, especially in the summer, so watch out. Extensive long term parking is available at the Harbour.

By bus

A variety of bus services run here from all over the area.

  • The number 11 bus from Kilmarnock runs frequently Monday to Saturday and every 20 minutes on Sunday.
  • The 'Clyde Coast' 585 service runs from Ayr and Glasgow Prestwick International Airport in the south and Greenock, Weymss Bay (for the Isle of Bute and Largs (for Cumbrae) in the north every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday and every 2 hours on Sunday.
  • The X36 express bus runs from Glasgow every hour Monday to Saturday and every 2 to 4 hours on Sunday. Other express buses are available Monday to Friday during peak times, see this website [1] for more details.

By train

Good train service from Glasgow, with stops at all of the town's 3 railway stations - Ardrossan South Beach, Ardrossan Town and Ardrossan Harbour.

Trains from Glasgow usually depart at quarter to the hour and quarter past but this changes at peak times. Trains leaving at quarter to the hour will only stop at Ardrossan South Beach and continue on to Largs whereas trains leaving at quarter past will carry straight on to Ardrossan Town and Ardrossan Harbour.

If you are looking to only go as far as South Beach then Largs trains at quarter to the hour are faster as these stop at fewer stations.

As of January 2009 at least one of the signs at South Beach station is full of bullet is wise to alight from trains as near to the front as possible as this will mean you step off directly at the station building and exit. It is not unknown for underisable youths to congregate at the station and hassle travellers.

By boat

From the harbour, you can catch the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry, MV Caledonian Isles, to the Isle of Arran. This leaves several times a day and there are trains from Glasgow Central that connect with these sailings. The journey time is around 50 minutes though this can change depending on the weather conditions.

In Summer (June to August) an additional ship is used for the route, to date this has always been the MV Saturn. It is a smaller ship and the sailing time is around 1 hour 5 minutes, train services do not specifically connect with its sailings.

For private vessels and pleasure cruisers there is the Clyde Marina at Ardrossan Harbour which offers superb shelter from the elements and competitive rates. As well as this it is also situated next to the best restaurant in town and a large ASDA supermarket.

By plane

The nearest is Prestwick Airport, which is less than an hour away by bus. Also convenient is Glasgow Airport.

Get around

Shanks pony is the best way to get about or take the bus. Or one of those new fangled car thingies


  • Windmills on the hillside near the town are juxtaposed next to the quaint rolling fields.
  • South Beach - popular with daytrippers from Glasgow, situated close to amenities and pubs. On good days this beach is very busy and there are often several ice cream vans but bear in mind good days are few and far between.
  • Barony St Johns and St Peter's Church are splendid examples of both old and new styles of architecture, situated at South Beach.
  • Ardrossan Castle - The castle was once ransacked by William Wallace and his followers and remained an important outpost until Oliver Cromwell took control of it, had it dismantled and sent the stone to build a new castle in Ayr. It is now a ruin but the site towers above the town centre making the approach into Ardrossan Town station reminiscent of Edinburgh Waverley. Excellent views of the surrounding coast and Isle of Arran from the top of Castle Hill.
  • North Beach - wonderful stretches of sand north of the town, a superb alternative to South Beach especially at sunset where the Isle of Arran can make for an arresting scene while out on a stroll.


  • Go on a trip to the Isle of Arran, of course!.
  • Go to Auchenharvie Leisure Centre [2], where you can go ice skating on the UK's only double decker ice rink or you can go swimming in the olympic sized swimming pool. Catch the number 11 or 585 buses from Princes Street.


  • Use the costcutters in Glasgow Street.
  • New ASDA wait till about 3.30PM for the cheap out of date stuff (you can't miss it there is always about 15 to 20 folk waiting to grab the almost out of date bargains).
  • Not forgetting the under age drinkers here try the rownside shops or the alpine stores for cheap gut rot booze and your set.


  • Cafe Palazzo - at the top of the street. Sells brilliant fish and chips! Even if you are not stopping for too long, this is possibly one of the best chippys in Scotland, so eat here! They also offer a sit down service, an extensive selection of sweets (some old fashioned) and newspapers.
  • Alberts Fish and Chicken Bar - a good chippy, only 5 minutes walk from the ferry terminal (They do excellent chips!).
  • Jaipur, Glasgow Street. Excellent Indian restaurant - small, but the staff are very friendly and the food is good. Also does a takeaway service.

Don't forget the happy kitchen and the new italian resteraunt doon the harbour (sorry marina aye right its the harbour) Chechi.


There are a few establishments in which to remedy a dry throat in Ardrossan, some less reputable than others. These are...

Charlie's Bar

The Red Herring

Castlehill Vaults

Cecchini's Bar

Johnny Ho's

The Laurieston Hotel


Free internet access at the Ardrossan Library where there are pleasant, foreigner-tolerant librarians.

The Harbour where a free wifi internet connection is set up.

There are several public phone booths in the centre of town.

Several postboxes around town and a Post Office in neighbouring Saltcoats.

Get out

As soon as possible. There are 6 roads out of the town, the train to Glasgow and the ferry to the Isle of Arran. So why the bloody hell do folk want to stay there I do not know. (Could be worse right enought you could stay in Stevenston)

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