Ayr is a popular seaside resort in south Ayrshire, established as a Royal Burgh in 1205. It served as Ayrshire's central marketplace and harbour throughout the Medieval Period and was a well-known port during the Early Modern Period. Ayr has a fantastic esplanade with a long sandy beach which is perfect for walking. There are also plenty of parking spaces on either side of the main road that runs parallel with the beach. Scotland's national bard, Robert Burns, was born in Alloway, on the outskirts of the town. Visitors should make the short trip to visit his birthplace and the new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. There are also great shopping and dining facilities in Ayr and three public golf courses: Belleisle, Seafield and Dalmilling. On the southern bank of the River Ayr sits the ramparts of a citadel constructed by Oliver Cromwell's men during the mid-17th century. Towards the south of the town is the birthplace of Scottish poet Robert Burns in the suburb of Alloway. Ayr has been a popular tourist resort since the expansion of the railway in 1840 owing to the town's fine beach and its links to golfing and Robert Burns. Ayr is one of the largest retail centres in the south of Scotland and was recognised as the second healthiest town centre in the United Kingdom by the Royal Society for Public Health in 2014. Ayr has hosted the Scottish Grand National horseracing steeplechase annually since 1965 and the Scottish International Airshow annually since 2014.
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