Exploring the UK

An overview of: Kilmarnock

Where is Kilmarnock?

Kilmarnock is a town located in East Ayrshire, Scotland. It is situated approximately 25 miles (40 kilometres) southwest of Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland.

About the region

Kilmarnock is located in East Ayrshire, a region in southwest Scotland. East Ayrshire is bordered by South Ayrshire to the west, North Ayrshire to the northwest, and Dumfries and Galloway to the south. The region is characterised by its rolling hills, lush green landscapes, and historic towns and villages.

Historically, East Ayrshire was a significant industrial centre during the 19th and 20th centuries, known for coal mining, ironworks, and textile production. While the industrial legacy remains a part of its history, the region has undergone significant changes and redevelopment, with a growing focus on tourism, leisure, and rural pursuits.

The area offers a mix of urban and rural living, with towns like Kilmarnock providing modern amenities and services, while the countryside offers peaceful retreats and outdoor activities. The region is also home to several historic sites, including castles, ancient ruins, and museums that showcase its rich heritage.


Transport links in Kilmarnock provide convenient access to various destinations by car, train, air, and public transport:

  • Car: Kilmarnock is well-connected by road networks, with the A77 and A71 being the major roads that pass through or close to the town. The A77 connects Kilmarnock to Glasgow in the north and Stranraer in the south, providing easy access to the west coast. The A71 links Kilmarnock to Edinburgh, making it accessible to the east.
  • Train: Kilmarnock has a railway station that is part of the Glasgow South Western Line. Regular train services operate between Kilmarnock and Glasgow Central Station, providing frequent and efficient transportation to Scotland’s largest city. The journey takes around 35 to 40 minutes, making it a popular option for commuters.
  • Air: For air travel, Glasgow Prestwick Airport is the closest international airport, located approximately 15 miles (24 kilometres) southwest of Kilmarnock. It offers domestic and international flights, providing connections to various destinations. Glasgow Airport is another option, situated around 30 miles (48 kilometres) northwest of Kilmarnock, and offers a wider range of international flights.
  • Public Transport: Kilmarnock has an efficient public transport network operated by various bus companies. Buses connect the town to nearby villages and towns, as well as to larger cities like Glasgow and Ayr. The bus station in Kilmarnock is a central hub for different routes, providing accessibility for local residents and visitors.

Overall, the transport links in Kilmarnock make it well-connected and accessible, allowing for convenient travel to various destinations by car, train, air, and public transport.

Living in the area

Kilmarnock offers a range of housing options to suit different preferences and budgets. The town provides a mix of housing types, including apartments, terraced houses, semi-detached, and detached properties.

In the town centre, you can find modern apartments and townhouses, which are convenient for those who prefer to be close to amenities and public transport. Suburban areas like Bellfield, Crosshouse, and Fenwick offer spacious family homes with gardens and good access to schools and recreational facilities.

As for the cost of living, Kilmarnock is generally more affordable compared to larger cities in Scotland. Housing costs can vary significantly based on the property type, location, and size. The town also offers a reasonable cost of living in terms of other expenses like transportation, groceries, and leisure activities.

Kilmarnock has a mix of local shops, supermarkets, and leisure facilities, providing a good balance between urban convenience and a relaxed lifestyle. Residents enjoy access to green spaces and outdoor areas, making it an attractive place to live for families and individuals seeking a more affordable yet comfortable lifestyle in Scotland.


Kilmarnock offers a range of schooling options at the primary, secondary, and university levels, providing diverse educational opportunities for students.

  • Primary Schools: Kilmarnock has several primary schools, both state-funded and independent, catering to children aged 4 to 11 years. These schools follow the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence, providing a broad education that includes core subjects such as English, Mathematics, and Science, as well as various other subjects like History, Geography, and the Arts.
  • Secondary Schools: At the secondary level, Kilmarnock offers comprehensive schools and academies that continue the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence up to the age of 16. Students study a range of subjects, including those required for the Scottish National Qualifications (National 4 and National 5) and the Higher qualifications. Schools in the area aim to provide a supportive and stimulating environment to prepare students for further education or employment.
  • University Level: While Kilmarnock does not have its own university, it is conveniently located within easy reach of several higher education institutions in nearby towns and cities. The University of the West of Scotland (UWS) has a campus in Ayr, which is approximately 10 miles (16 kilometers) southwest of Kilmarnock. The UWS offers a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate courses across various disciplines, providing educational opportunities for students from the area.

Overall, Kilmarnock provides a comprehensive range of schooling options, ensuring that students have access to quality education at every level and opportunities for personal and academic development.


Kilmarnock offers a diverse range of leisure activities, providing something for everyone to enjoy.

The town has a rich cultural scene with numerous historical landmarks, museums, and art galleries, such as the Dick Institute, showcasing local art and exhibitions. For sports enthusiasts, the Galleon Centre is a popular destination, offering swimming, fitness facilities, and various sporting activities. Dean Castle Country Park provides a beautiful setting for leisurely walks, picnics, and exploring the castle’s history. The town also hosts regular events and festivals, bringing the community together for music, food, and entertainment. Additionally, Kilmarnock’s proximity to scenic countryside and the Ayrshire coastline offers opportunities for outdoor pursuits, such as hiking, cycling, and beach visits.

With a range of entertainment venues, parks, and recreational facilities, Kilmarnock provides a well-rounded leisure scene that caters to the interests and passions of its residents and visitors alike.


The University Hospital Crosshouse is a major hospital located in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland. It serves as the principal hospital for the region and is managed by the NHS Ayrshire and Arran health board.

University Hospital Crosshouse is equipped with modern facilities and advanced medical technologies, ensuring high-quality patient care. It provides a wide range of healthcare services, including accident and emergency care, medical and surgical specialities, and a variety of outpatient services. It’s also a teaching hospital, affiliated with the University of Glasgow, and plays an important role in training medical students and healthcare professionals.

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