Then catch the moments as they fly,
And use them as ye ought, Man!
Believe me, Happiness is shy,
And comes not ay when sought, Man!
“A bottle and a friend”, 1787
Perhaps those words of Burns best sum up what our vacations in Scotland are all about!
Robert Burns, Scotland’s National Bard and often described as the only true International Poet, was born in the village of Alloway, just outside Ayr, on 25th January 1759. In his short life of 37 years, he wrote and collected a vast amount of poetry and songs, which are read, recited and sung in all corners of the world to this day.
Every year we are regularly asked by guests to include something connected with Robert Burns in their Scottish tour itineraries.
This normally takes them to Alloway with the cottage where the Bard was born being the most popular choice. However, a short walk or drive from there, included in what’s now known as the “Robert Burns Heritage Park,” is the Burns Monument and Gardens, the “Tam O’Shanter Experience” which is an excellent modern Audio/Visual presentation, and the setting for Tam O’ Shanter at “Alloway’s auld, haunted kirk” and the famous “Brig o’ Doon”.
A day spent visiting these places gives a marvellous insight into the life and times of Robert Burns. We can arrange all standards of accommodation in the adjacent town of Ayr, but recommend spending at least one night in the heart of Burns’ Country, at the Brig o’ Doon House Hotel, in walking distance of all the above attractions.
For the truly keen and dedicated Burnsian, there are a multitude of other places we can include in such a Tour, which can be expanded into the surrounding area featured in the Bard’s life and work. On the way to, or from Alloway, a visit to Kilmarnock, home of the “Burns Federation” might be of interest, or possibly a call at the Irvine Burns Club with its fine Museum. For many, an essential part of such a tour is Dumfries where the house in which Burns spent the last years of his life is now a museum. There’s the chair in which he wrote his last poems, many original letters and manuscripts, and the famous Kilmarnock and Edinburgh editions of his work. Of course, no visit to Dumfries would be complete without calling at the Burns Mausoleum in St Michael’s Kirkyard where, together with his wife Jean and five of their children, the Bard is buried.
We have Guides available for such tours who can add a bit of colour to the day by reciting or singing Burns’ work while sharing their knowledge and love of his life and times with you.
O, my luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June.
O, my luve’s like the melodie,
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.
As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I,
And I will luve thee still, my Dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.
Till a’ the seas gang dry, my Dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun!
O I will luve thee still, my Dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only Luve,
And fare thee weel a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile!