Souter’s Inn, Kirkoswald – where drouthy neebors, neebors meet

In the Ayrshire village of Kirkoswald, Souter’s Inn is up for sale, offering ‘not only a tremendous business opportunity, but an opportunity to own a piece of Scottish history’.

Dating back to the early 1700’s, the traditional, two-storey stone-built property, under a pitched thatched roof, was once national bard Robert Burn’s school house.

The Souter’s Inn business was established in 2007 when the current owners purchased The Shanter Hotel and undertook an extensive refurbishment, renaming the property after Souter Johnnie, from Burn’s epic poem Tam O’Shanter, whose cottage sits beside it.

The premises were completely refurbished again in 2012, with a new thatched roof, and the business has since built an excellent reputation with loyal and regular clientele from the village and surrounding towns and villages.

Souter’s Inn also benefits from the area’s high volume of tourists and day trippers, both those on the Burns trail and Ayrshire coast golfers, with the Turnberry Hotel nearby, and high levels of travellers to and from the Irish Ferry.

As well as its award-winning restaurant and bar, decorated in keeping with that Burnsian history, the sale also includes an adjacent single storey property under a pitched slate roof, housing an ice cream production factory and bakery.

There is also a separate single storey outbuilding under a thatched roof that houses the beer cellar, and all the subjects are situated within an extensive site including an external seating terrace and a large car park for circa 60 cars.

Jonathan Clough, of Smith & Clough, who is handling the sale, said: “We are delighted to have been instructed by the Costley & Costley Group to market this iconic property, which offers not only a tremendous business opportunity, but an opportunity to own a piece of Scottish history.”

Souter’s Inn can accommodate approximately 140 covers in total, split equally over ground and first floor by way of loose tables and chairs. There is also some bar seating round the ground floor bar counter. The first-floor area can be used for private functions up to about 80 people, and benefits from a separate bar/ servery, as well as a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system.

The current business is said to pride itself on ‘providing culinary excellence mixed with country hospitality’, with all food freshly made on the premises, showcasing the best local produce, as well as producing their own ice cream, chocolate and bakery products.

Trading seven days a week, 9am- 8:30pm, accounting information for the year ending 30th September 2023 shows a turnover of £1,416,097 net of vat. Further financial information can be provided to interested parties after formally viewing the business. Smith & Clough are seeking offers over £995,000 for the freehold of Souter’s Inn.