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The perfect walk for seeing some of the historic buildings, monuments and statues of Kilmarnock, and great for kids thanks to the play park and duck pond.
Parking available behind Salvation Army, Sturrock Street, KA1 3AH (pay & display midweek, free at weekends). Kilmarnock bus station is just across the road and the train station is only a few minutes walk away from the start point.
Route: Exit the car park and turn right to cross the bridge over the Kilmarnock Water on Sturrock Street. Continue straight to pass the The Palace Theatre . The footpath bends round to the right to pass the adjoining Grand Hall on London Road. Cross the road and just after Kay Park Parish Church turn left onto a quiet country lane signposted for Kilmarnock Tennis Club. The road takes you under the impressive railway viaducts. The path then opens up into lots of open green space and splits into two, both heading uphill. It doesn’t matter which you take as they both come out at the same place which is beside the Burns Monument Centre at the top of the hill. Take some time to enjoy the Kay Park before exiting onto DeWalden Terrace (south end of the park where the railway bridge is). Continue straight ahead onto Holehouse Road, then cross London Road, turning right (note the impressive Dick Institute ahead). At a fork keep left to walk uphill on Braeside Street. It bends to the left and then passes the lovely red sandstone building, formerly Kilmarnock Academy. Conveniently, a path leads steeply downhill from here right to the Salvation Army car park, completing the loop.
WALK REPORT: 3rd January 2016
Only two days since our last walk and I was delighted that daddy decided to come along with us today! The weather wasn’t amazing but it was dry so no excuses. Thomas had a bigger size of wellies on today and fared much better, only needing carried the final few minutes so we have solved that problem!
The new-build residential area which you come to just after passing through the gate pictured above, used to be the site of Kilmarnock College. The college moved to a new location in late 2016 – the former site of the much loved Johnnie Walker factory on Hill Street, closed in 2012 after a 192 year history in the town.
Next building of interest: the town’s main library, the Dick Institute!
I am actually slightly embarrassed to admit that today was my first time seeing the (now former) Kilmarnock Academy building up close! Since it sits up high away from the street you really need to be going there on purpose and I just never had until today. Kilmarnock Academy has moved now too. It is now part of the newly built William McIllvaney Campus in the New Farm area of the town, which itself replaces the former James Hamilton Academy (where I went!).
This was the point in the walk where Thomas decided he couldn’t walk another step so he finished the walk on daddy’s shoulders. A shame as he was so close to the end but try telling a 2 year old that!
The path back down to the car park passes the remains of Burlington Berties which was destroyed in a fire – back in it’s day Bertie’s was the place to have your 18th birthday bash and I have lots of memories of nights in there, including my own 18th! Biffy Clyro also played a gig in there in 1998! Not much left of it now, always makes me sad to see it lying in ruins.