Ayr beach


This long stretch of beach along the Ayrshire coast has long been popular with beach-goers. Scroll down to take a tour.



Photo credit: Ian Downie

Photo credit: Ian Downie


Photo credit: Ian Downie

Photo credit: Ian Downie

Photo credit: Ian Downie

Photo credit: Ian Downie

Photo credit: Ian Downie

Lisa Sloan

Very lucky to live here and so say both my dogs 😍

Lockdown cycle run on 4th May photo of Ayr beach taken from Seafield end looking North

View toward the Heads of Ayr

Ayr Beach on Monday this week.

The south end of Ayr Beach at Greenan approx 300m from home. Mostly quiet, peaceful and part of the #AyrshireCoastalPath #LuckyToLiveHere #MyAyrBeach
The south end of Ayr Beach at Greenan approx 300m from home. Mostly quiet, peaceful and part of the #AyrshireCoastalPath #LuckyToLiveHere #MyAyrBeach <3 
Maybe a few hundred yds from the beach but these swans were heading there in numbers! #ayrbeach Ayr beach has some magnificent sunsets.
#myayrbeach Dramatic Sunsets #luckytolivehere
Al Kay

Ayr beach showing natural fractionation that occurs with the proteins in the water. Found this to be a rare occurrence.

Yesterday morning. 

Tilly walks #Ayrbeach every day

Doug Mac @ATCO31

#Ayrbeach is the home of the Lang Scots Mile

Doug Mac @ATCO31

A great place to ride your horse #Ayrbeach

A Dunlop Landscapes

...and it was looking stunning just the other morning.


Greenan castle, Ayr.

What does Ayr beach mean to you?

Are you lucky enough to live near Ayr beach? What is your favourite thing about the beach? What do you value most? Tell us with an image!

Send us your photographs, drawings, collages or anything else that captures the beautiful, inspiring, interesting or mundane. Landscapes, portraits, close-ups or artistic frames are all welcome. You can email them to us or post them to us on social media, tagged #LuckyToLiveHere @KSBScotland.

We will add our favourites to the online gallery above for everyone to enjoy. Let's celebrate Ayr beach!


Know your beach

How well do you know Ayr beach? Take our quiz to find out, or read on below to explore.

This year more than ever, beaches and all natural spaces are a vital life-line, offering us somewhere to be, with views and fresh air. There is more to the sand and sea here than immediately meets the eye. Whether you're a lucky local or dreaming of a visit, take a tour below to find out more about Ayr beach.

How well do you know Ayr beach?

Average score: 53%

Can you do better?

Environment & place

Ayr is a designated bathing water, shown above in red. Bathing waters are designated where a large number of people are expected to bathe and a permanent bathing prohibition, or permanent advice against bathing, is not in place. Water quality here is monitored during the bathing season by SEPA.

You can check water quality forecasts daily during the bathing season on SEPA’s website. SEPA, Scottish Water and the council are always working to improve water quality. To find out more, view the Ayr bathing water profile

Beach length: 3.5 km

Tidal zone: 25-700m meters from the water's edge

Average rainfall: 296 mm (compared to 311mm average for Scotland)

Main tributaries: River Doon & Slaphouse Burn to the South; River Ayr to the North

Catchment area: 930 km2 of land drains into this bathing water

Beach Manager: South Ayrshire Council.

Community information: 'Don’t trash Ayr' is a newly formed group to tackle the litter problem at Ayr Beach and River Doon.

Stay safe at the beach with this advice from RNLI.



Protect your bathing waters

Learn more about bathing water quality and your role in making sure that the sand and sea at Ayr is clean for everyone to enjoy.


Wildlife & landscape

Beaches are great place for us to spend time outdoors, whether walking, pic-nicing, swimming or playing. But have you ever stopped to think who else calls this beach and these waters home?

The marine environment

Ayr beach is across the water from the South of Arran Marine Protected Area, where a number of important marine plants and animals live, including what is possibly Scotland’s largest Seagrass bed.

Seagrasses form beautiful meadows on the bottom of the sea, that provide a home for all sorts of marine animals big and small. They also play an important role in combating climate change, capturing carbon up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests. Dredging and other disruptions, including pollution from the mainland threaten these crucial ecosystems

Six-spot burnet moth

These moths are hard to miss on a sunny day, with their dark green metallic wings sporting six bright red spots. As is often the case in nature, these spots are no accident. They are there to warn predators that they are toxic to eat.

You can see them in the summer, feeding on the nectar of flowers on the coast.

Sea rocket

One of the flowering plants that commonly adorn Scotland’s shoreline, sea rocket is adapted to living on the salty, windy coast. It grows low to the ground and its fleshy succulent leaves protect it from drying out. Its corky fruit can float away with the tides, carrying seeds to new shores. 

Sea rocket is also popular with pollinators like bees and flowers and can be seen from June to August.

Cetaceans - whales and dolphins

Marine mammals like dolphins, porpoises and even whales are fairly common in the waters off Ayr beach. You can see a map of sightings here.

In recent years, even humpback whales have been sighted in the Firth of Clyde near Arran -right across from Ayr beach. Bans on whaling have seen these majestic creatures bounce back to old haunts and feeding grounds, including Scottish waters.


Gannets can often be seen from the Ayr shoreline. Ailsa Craig across the water is a Special Protection Area where around 70,000 of these beautiful birds breed on the cliffs.

Gannets fly out to sea to fish, diving into the waves to reach depths of 15 meters and hitting the water at great speed -nearly 60 mph.

They are the UK’s largest sea bird.


History & Heritage

The waters of the Firth of Clyde have lapped the Ayr shoreline throughout the ages. Have you ever considered what has changed over the years -and what else might change in the future?

Day trippers

The Ayr promenade was created during the Victorian era (1830-1900), when the Low Green became a popular destination for day trippers. Initially, visitors would reach the town by steamer service from Glasgow. Once the railway line was introduced, visitor numbers boomed and the Low Green transformed into a centre for recreation and sports, including ladies croquet.

Low Green

The development of Low Green from a common grazing ground into a tourist attraction started with an erection of a sea wall in 1881. This allowed for the first part of the Esplanade to be built, despite the wall washing away and having to be rebuilt the following year. A bandstand built in 1887 was taken down in the early 1050s. The fountain (1892) and The Pavilion (1911) remain. 

During the First World War the Royal Flying Corps used the Low Green as a landing strip up until 1916, when they moved to the Racecourse.

Greenan Castle

The ruins of Greenan Tower, erected in 1603, were part of a castle of the same name. With both military and commercial interest, it would have been flanked inland by an unusually large castle-town, which commonly sprang up beside such Keeps.

Greenan Castle was the site of clan infighting that inspired Sir Walter Scott to write a short play, "An Ayrshire Tragedy".

Have we missed something? Help us make this page a true celebration of Ayr beach! Get in touch.


Activities & Resources

Find out how to get involved in 'My Beach, Your Beach' this summer, with campaign materials, activities and learning resources for children and adults!

Related Documents

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