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Introducing Troon

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.

Four miles northeast, Dundonald Castle commands impressive views and, in its main hall, has one of the finest preserved barrel-vaulted ceilings in Scotland. It was the first home of the Stuart kings, built by Robert II in 1371, and reckoned to be the third most important castle in Scotland in its time, after Edinburgh and Stirling. The visitor centre below the castle has good information on prior settlements, and scale models of the castle and its predecessors. Buses running between Troon and Kilmarnock stop in Dundonald village.