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Some 3km (2 miles) south of Ayr, Alloway is where Scotland's national poet was born in a simple cottage - the "auld clay biggin'" - that his father, gardener, and farmer William Burnes (Robert dropped the "e") built by hand in 1757.

Start your visit of the Burns National Heritage Park at the Burns Cottage & Museum. Just a 10- to 15-minute walk down the road are the simple ruins of the Alloway Auld Kirk, celebrated in the poem Tam O'Shanter: "Coffins stood round, like open presses/That shaw'd the dead in their last dresses." It stands roofless and allegedly still haunted to this day, with the poet's father buried prominently at the front of the kirkyard. The nearby stone Brig o' Doon still arcs elegantly over the River Doon. Admission to the cottage, museum, and video in the Tam O'Shanter Experience is £2 for adults and £1.25 for children and seniors.