The exterior of the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum lit up.
United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

Please be aware of government guidelines before setting off.

Government Guidelines
  • Learn all about Robert Burns, Scotland’s National Bard and lyricist at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway.
  • Explore the cottage where Robert Burns was born in 1759 and spent the first years of his life.
  • Visit the interactive museum where you can take a peek at more than 5,000 Burns artefacts.
  • See Burns Monument, the building that commemorates the literary icon.
  • Discover the original 15th-century cobblestone bridge, the Brig o’ Doon, celebrated in Burns’s poem Tam o’ Shanter and visit 16th-century church Alloway Auld Kirk.

The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum is situated in the beautiful village of Alloway in a suburb of Ayr in South Ayrshire, Scotland. The birthplace and the first home of Scotland's national poet, the museum explores the story of his life, his work and his heritage.

The poet was born in 1759 in Burns Cottage in Alloway. Scotland's National Bard, Robert Burns's poetry is world-famous. The Robert Burns Centre in the picturesque village of Alloway is the ideal place to get to know Burns and unearth his genius. The museum will take you on a journey through the village, highlighting landmarks to iconic buildings known to Burns.

Immerse yourself in the small house Burns was born and lived in until the age of seven. A three-room property that Burns and his family lived together with their farm animals, take a peek at the tiny box bed that Burns shared with his three siblings. There is an epic rendition of Tam o' Shanter in the kitchen area, which recreates an atmosphere where Burns's imagination was sparked. Keep your eyes peeled for fragments of Burns's famous verse, which are daubed throughout the walls of the building. Take a stroll in the garden where Burns took care of crops with his family. Throughout most of the 19th century, Burns Cottage was privately rented and was then an alehouse. In 1881, Robert Burns house was restored by the Burns Monument Trust.

Next, take a walk along the Poet's Path that connects the house with the main museum. Search for Timorous Beasties's creative ironwork along the way, which celebrates scenes from Burns's Tam o' Shanter as well as other artworks including Kenny Hunter's Monument to a Mouse.

Visit the fascinating museum, where you can listen to Robert Burns poems, play games that explain mysteries, have a look at objects connected to the Scottish legend and appreciate visual artworks. Little Burnsians will love immersing themselves in the self-guided space where there are plenty of Robert Burns facts for kids and interactive games and quizzes. Learn about how the bard died using forensic foraging and get your own shadow portrait made! Discover his life and legacy in the exhibition, which displays many of his most cherished works in books and manuscripts. Some of the museum gems include William Burns’s Bible, which documents the date of Robert's birth, the illustrated Scots Musical Museum and the Kilmarnock Edition of Burns's first published collection, Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect.

Enjoy the different pieces of iconic artworks exhibited throughout the museum. There are paintings of David Roberts's pastoral views of the Brig o' Doon, and portraits by Archibald Skirving and Alexander Nasmyth. Each hour, you can expect the museum comes alive with a spectacular audiovisual treat of his Burns's poems and songs. Search for all the special collectors' items on display like Burns's portable writing kit, a lock of his hair and the cast of his skull.

Afterwards, devote some time to the awesome Burns-themed play area, Scots Wa-Hey, which can be found in the museum garden. Have a play in the mini Burns Cottage, explore the Witches' Cauldron, have a go on the Auld Kirk climbing wall and hop on the Tam o' Shanter zip wire. Plus there is also a fun feature of the Scots language.

Make some time to explore the Burns Monument, a 21m-high Grecian-style temple, which represents muses from Greek mythology. The unique memorial was designed by Sir Thomas Hamilton Junior and opened in 1823. Climb the stairs to enjoy the fantastic views of the village, and afterwards take a walk around the beautiful gardens.

The setting for Tam o'Shanter, Burns's most famous poem, be sure to visit the iconic Brig o’ Doon bridge too. A 15th-century cobblestone bridge with beautiful views across the River Doon, the Brig o’ Doon remains a place of pilgrimage for Burns's fans. At the 16th-century church ruin, the Alloway Auld Kirk, you can visit the graves of Robert's father William Burns and sister Isabella Burns Begg. Unlike his father and sister, Burns was buried in Dumfries, when he died in 1796.

For more Scottish heritage days out, why not check out the Real Mary King's Close or Balmoral Castle.

What to know before you go

  • Robert Burns Birthplace Museum opening times are dependent on the time of year, so please check before you go.
  • Accessible openings take place on the first Tuesday of each month from 3pm - 5pm. Sound effects and interactive screen are switched off, and cleaning lights switched on.
  • During busier times, there is an electric shuttle running from Burns Cottage to the museum.
  • There is an accessible toilet available in the museum and Education Pavilion.
  • Baby-changing facilities are available.
  • Wheelchair access is available. There is level access at the museum and Burns Cottage. Poet's Path is level and there is access to the Monument Gardens. Wheelchairs are available to use for visitors.
  • The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum is buggy friendly.
  • Your are welcome to bring your dog in the garden, but please keep them on a lead.
  • Assistance dogs are welcome throughout the venue.
  • There are induction loops fitted in the museum, education areas and meeting rooms.
  • Get something to eat at the on-site cafe, which serves freshly prepared hot food, soup, sandwiches, paninis, snacks. and home baked goodies. It is situated in the main museum building.
  • The venue is breast-feeding friendly and there are highchairs available in the cafe as well as a kids' corner where children can play.
  • Visit the museum shop that sells a wide range of mementos of your visit.

Getting there

  • Alloway station is a 14-minute walk to the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. It is served by the Maidens and Dunure Light Railway.
  • Glasgow is around 40 minutes away from the venue. There are regular trains to Ayr from Glasgow, and bus route 360 goes to Alloway.
  • There is parking available at the Burns Cottage and Museum. It is free for members of the National Trust for Scotland.
  • Disabled parking is also available.

Please follow the latest government guidelines if travelling by public transport.

Government Guidelines


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National Trust for Scotland

The National Trust for Scotland, or NTS, is a Scottish National Trust, parallel to the English National Trust, and conservation charity. They protect heritage sites north of the border, and have been since 1929.

There are so many properties cared for in Scotland. Souter Johnnie’s Cottage, Weaver’s Cottage, and Hugh Miller’s Birthplace Cottage and Museum are just some of the National Trust Scotland cottages and houses. For somewhere grander, look at Culzean Castle, Brodick Castle and Kellie Castle for some of the best National Trust Scotland castles. There are also places relating to famous Scots, beautiful gardens, locations of battles, and many more places to visit; the Trust cares for around 130 properties.

Join National Trust Scotland and make the most of loads of benefits with a National Trust Scotland membership. It’s why it’s the largest membership organisation in Scotland. You’ll get unlimited entry to NTS properties, free or discounted entrance to other National Trust properties, free parking, and access to NTS publications. You’ll also be able to enjoy National Trust Scotland events for special prices.

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A Robert Burns image on the entrance to the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.
Robert Burns Birthplace Museum
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