Robert Burns


Burns Country and the Heritage Park

In mid June 2013 my wife and took a two night stay in Alloway. We rented a small apartment in Alloway, just a few yards from Burns' Cottage. We were blessed with nice weather during our stay so we travelled around some of the sites including the cottage, the new museum in the Burns Heritage Park and the monument.

We also took a trip down to Kirkoswald to have a look at Souter Johnnie's cottage and the local churchyard , where you can find the graves of several people who are part of the Burns Story. His mother's family, his schoolteacher, Kirkton Jean, Tam o' Shanter and Souter Johnnie are all buried there. I have posted some pictures and information below. The video shows a short introduction to the new museum.

It's a nice wee day out so if you have not already done so why not try it? If you have visited some of the other destinations on the Burns trail please feel free to contribute information on them.



Some allowances must be made in comparing the cottage to that which Burns lived in for the first seven years of his life. His father let the cottage out when the family moved to Ellisland and it was later bought for use as an ale house. It continued as such until it was taken over by the trustees of the museum in the late 1800s. They restored it to what they thought it had been like back in the day. It is many years since my previous visit and I seem to recall that it was more authentic back then but it is still well worth a visit considering that the entry fee includes the nearby museum.

(You can mouse over the images to enlarge.)

Burns Cottage

This is the front view of Burns Cottage today.


Bed recess

The bed recess in the modern cottage is typical of what they had in Burns day. Burns is said to have been born on this spot.


Burns Cottage Parlour

This is the parlour but I would not bet on it having been as neat and tidy as this in 1759.

It has been restored to something like what it was in Burns day but agricultural cottages back then would probably have been dirty, smelly places.

In the revamp of the cottage and the museum many of the original artefacts were taken out of the cottage and relocated the nearby museum.


Alloway Kirk

Alloway's auld haunted kirk!


View from Alloway Brig

A view from the bridge over the river Doon. Alloway and the heritage park are beautifully prepared and maintained. It is one of the neatest and nicest places I have visited in Scotland.


Burns Monument

The Monument

Rear of Burns Cottage

The rear view of the Cottage.



This is the fireplace in the kitchen. It would have been used for both cooking and heating.


Burns' father's grave

William Burness's (Burns father) grave in Alloway Kirk yard. The inscription written by Burns reads ...

O YE, whose cheek the tear of pity stains,
Draw near with pious reverence and attend!
Here lie the loving husband’s dear remains,
The tender father, and the generous friend;
The pitying heart that felt for human wo!
The dauntless heart that fear’d no human pride!
The friend of man, to vice alone a foe,
For ev’n his failings lean’d to virtue’s side.


Alloway Hotel

The hotel at the Brig o' Doon. The bridge can be seen in the background.


Alloway Brig

The Brig o' Doon where Cutty Sark "was scarcely Maggie's Mettle".


Tam and the Souter

Statues of Tam O' Shanter and Souter Johnnie within the Burns Monument.



The new museum is quite impressive. Set in beautiful grounds it offers visitors a very pleasant experience. It has a nice restaurant offering typically Scottish breakfasts, snacks and meals. This is a short video of the museum.

Wood Carving 2

A wood carving of Tam O' Shanter crossing the Bridge with Cutty Sark close behind.


Robert Burns' Bureau

Robert Burns Bureau


Kilmarnock Edition

A copy of the Kilmarnock Edition in the Museum.

Tam O' Shanter wood carving

Another wood carving of the "Dance o' Witches" as depicted in the poem.


Burns Poster

An 1896 Poster (Centenary of Burns Passing)


Burns Pistols

Burns' pistols, which he used when working as an exciseman in his later years in Dumfries.



Kirkoswald is a tiny village about 11 miles south of Alloway. It is associated with Burns because his mother's folk are buried there and also because Burns stayed there one summer. He attended school there for around three months in 1775 being taught by Hugh Rodger, the local schoolteacher.

Tam O' Shanter (Douglas Graham), Souter Johnnie (John Davidson) and Kirkton Jean (Jean Kennedy) were all locals. They are all buried in the local churchyard.

Souter Johnny's Cottage

Souter Johhnie's Cottage


Souter Johnny's Kitchen

The Parlour in Souter Johnnie's Cottage


The loft

During our visit to the cottage we were allowed a peek into the loft area. This is not used as part of the exhibition but the window indicates that it it would have been used back at that time as additional living space.


Souter Johnnie's grave

Souter Johnnie's Grave (John Davidson)


Kirkton Jean's Grave

Kirkton Jean's Grave (Jean Kennedy)

Souter Johnny's Workshop

Souter Johnnie's Workshop is within the cottage. It is a recreation of the workshop using his original tools.


Souter Johnny's Bible

The Souter's Bible


Roof Beams

This is a close up of the inside of the roof and the thatch covered roof beams. It was bone dry up there so the thatchers have done a great job.


Tam O' Shanter's grave

Tam O' Shanter's Grave (Douglas Graham)


Burns'  Grandparents.

Burns Grandparent's Grave

Larger, more detailed images of the gravestones can be seen here, Tam O' Shanter, Souter Johnnie, Kirkton Jean and Burns Grandparents.


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