The Remarkable Burns National Heritage Park

The Burns National Heritage Park is dedicated to Scotland’s best-loved poet, Robert Burns. His work, which has been translated into hundreds of languages, has appeal that transcends cultural, national and language barriers and has stood the test of time.

Robert Burns was born in a humble cottage in the village of Alloway, in Ayrshire located in south-west Scotland, on 25 January 1759. The Burns Cottage, which has been completely restored to its original condition, is a prominent feature of Scotland’s Burns National Heritage Park. Visitors can enjoy an audio-visual presentation that brings the childhood world of Robert Burns to life. The Burns Cottage Museum contains an original manuscript of one of the world’s favorite songs, “Auld Lang Syne”, which takes pride of place among a collection of manuscripts, memorabilia, artifacts, personal items, letters and artworks.

The Tam O’Shanter Experience uses laser-disc technology and theatrical effects in a mesmerizing presentation of this well-loved story. The venue for the Tam O’Shanter Experience is a modern visitor centre set in an acre of exquisitely landscaped gardens. Facilities include an air-conditioned restaurant, which serves traditional home made food, a gift shop, restroom and children’s play area. The centre runs a full program of family and special events throughout the year. Burn’s Night is celebrated at the centre on 24 January each year.

Statue House is the home for sculptures by James Thom. These life-sized statues of Robert Burns’ friends are considered to be excellent examples of early 19th century Scottish genre art. The bridge known as Brig O’Doon, which spans the width of the River Doon, was used in the climax of the tale of Tam O’Shanter. It was off this bridge that Tam’s mare, Meg, leapt in an attempt to escape the clutches of the Cutty Sark witch. The Brig O’Doon and its surroundings continue to be a favorite subject for landscape artists with many of the artworks displayed in the museum.

The Robert Burns monument was constructed as a result of the fund-raising efforts of local admirers. The foundation stone was laid in 1820 and the monument was opened to the public in 1823. The roof of the monument allows magnificent views of Burn’s beloved Alloway, the area from which he drew much of his inspiration while wandering through the fields and by time spent listening to his mother’s old Scots songs and his cousin’s tales of fantasy, ghosts and witches.

Robert Burns was only 37 years old when he died on 21 July 1796, but his achievements during his short life-time endure to this day and he remains Scotland’s best-loved poet.