Girvan

South Ayrshire, Scotland | C.1668

Photo Credit: Accidentally Wes Anderson

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This sleepy port on the southwest coast of Scotland was given a spot on the map in the mid-1600s and while Girvan’s seaside view remains unchanged, there are some surprising curiosities to be found beyond its sandy beaches.

An afternoon spent here is a tour of the town’s greatest hits: starting with a trip to the lawn bowling club, then romping through the “best amusement arcade in Scotland”, and, of course, finishing up with a beachside toasty at David’s Snack Bar.

Looking out from Girvan’s harbor, you may notice an ominous rock formation in the distant sea–it’s no ordinary Scottish isle. That’s Ailsa Craig – one of only two places in the world where microgranite is mined to produce curling stones. Once a sanctuary for Roman Catholics escaping the Scottish Reformation, today the island is a sanctuary for birds when it’s not busy aiding the enlarged shuffleboard sport.

While it can be easy to chalk up the seaside town as slow and sleepy, a curious cave of wonders lies close by—and we’re not talking about those once inhabited by Sawney Bean (iykyk). Hidden in plain sight, the Hendrick’s Gin Palace lives in the town like a secret walled-off Garden of Eden. While their world-class spirit is not confidential, the magic held within the crystal halls can only be visited by a lucky few. Thankfully, there are no apples to tempt you, just flavorful gin and a paradise of tropical flora and fauna not usually found along the Scottish coast.

Fiddling with a map or running to catch the next ferry, you might miss this seaside port. But, as a wise road sign just outside of town asks, “Whit’s Yir Hurry?”

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