Other easily accessible islands include Cumbrae, sailed from Largs, where a day can be spent walking or cycling around the island with a stop for lunch in Millport and an ice cream in the renowned Nardini’s of Largs on the way home; or Bute, where you can visit the magnificent Mt Stuart House and gardens. Fairlie found fame in the late 18th century when John Fife set up business here as a cartwright. His son William founded Fife Yachts which were brought to international fame by his grandson and the yachts were built here well into the 20th century. Nowadays Fairlie is a haven for sailors and the renowned Largs Marina and Sailing Club with its restaurants and chandlery is only two miles away. A ramble through wooded Fairlie Glen with its waterfalls and ruined castle leads up to the moors and Kaim Hill, at 387 metres, forms the backdrop to the village. Four miles south of Fairlie is West Kilbride, which is a craft village and well worth a visit. Near West Kilbride is Portincross, with its restored medieval historic Scottish castle open to visitors and set in a spectacular seascape setting. West Kilbride offers Seamill Hydro with its restaurants and health spa. Just north of Fairlie is Kilburn Castle, home to the Earl of Glasgow and open to visitors. Kelburn offers horse riding facilities and a visitor centre, cafe and woodland walks. Ayrshire has some world class golf on offer - the most recognised are Turnberry and Royal Troon - while West Kilbride itself boasts a course with spectacular views of Arran. The area is steeped in history with links to William Wallace , Robert the Bruce and Robert Burns. The Burns Heritage trail is within easy reach and a visit to the new Visitor Centre and his birthplace in Alloway can be combined with a tour of beautiful Culzean Castle and gardens. Dumfries House is one of Britain’s most beautiful stately homes and best kept heritage secrets. With its sumptuous interiors and magnificent furnishings, all set in two thousand acres of land, there is something to delight and enchant visitors of all ages. Built between 1754 and 1759 for the 5th Earl of Dumfries, with a unique collection of Chippendale furniture, the house has been described as an 18th century time capsule since the principal rooms and their contents have remained virtually unchanged for 250 years. In 2007, HRH Prince Charles headed a consortium that purchased the house to keep it accessible to the public. You can let the train take the strain and visit Glasgow or Edinburgh for a day of culture or retail therapy, whilst by car Stirling, Edinburgh and Perth are all under 2 hours from the cottage and Loch Lomond, Glasgow and Ayr are around 40 minutes.