Ayr's long sandy beach has made it a popular family seaside resort since Victorian times, but it has struggled in the recent economic climate. Parts of the centre have a neglected air, though there are many fine Georgian and Victorian buildings, and it makes a convenient base for exploring this section of coast.
The pretty, lush village of Alloway (3 miles south of Ayr) should be on the itinerary of every Robert Burns fan – he was born here on 25 January 1759. Even if you haven't been seduced by Burnsmania, it's still well worth a visit, as the Burns-related exhibitions give a good impression of life in Ayrshire in the late 18th century.
Walking or cycling is the best way to explore this accessible, hilly island (it's only 4 miles long), ideal for a day-trip from Largs. Millport is the only town, strung out around the bay overlooking neighbouring Little Cumbrae. The town boasts Britain's smallest cathedral, the lovely Cathedral of the Isles.
Troon, a major sailing centre on the coast 7 miles north of Ayr, has excellent sandy beaches and six golf courses. The demanding championship Old Course at Royal Troon is a classic of links golf. There are offers on its website; the standard green fee is £190, which includes a complimentary round at the Portland course. Troon hosts the Open in July 2016.