Cream of the crop visitor attraction

Visit Scotland's regional director Gordon Smith tries his hand at bottling milk at Corton Plant's cafe The Coo Shed, watched by owner Alison Kerr.
Visit Scotland's regional director Gordon Smith tries his hand at bottling milk at Corton Plant's cafe The Coo Shed, watched by owner Alison Kerr.

A pretty plant nursery where you can bottle your own milk from their working dairy farm next door has scored a five-star rating from VisitScotland.

Corton Plants and its café The Coo Shed at South Corton Farm, a dairy farm at Alloway, achieved the national tourism organisation’s top-quality award with an “exceptional” score in categories including core experience, hospitality, friendliness, staff efficiency, catering, and cleanliness following a quality assurance visit.

Alison Kerr, owner of Corton Plants, said: “We are thrilled to have been awarded this five star accolade. This is a result of lots of hard work by myself, my family and a fantastic team of staff.

“We want every customer who crosses our threshold to have an experience they will remember and share with their friends and this rating will hopefully encourage more people to give us a try.”

Corton Plants was established in 2004 by Alison, and has grown from a single poly-tunnel to a full plant nursery, with seven poly-tunnels housing over 200 plant varieties.

The Coo Shed opened its doors in 2017.

The Kerr family are fifth generation farmers and now Willie Kerr and his son David take care of the farm’s 220 Holstein Friesian dairy cows while his wife Alison and daughter Joanne run The Coo Shed and Corton Plants.

As well as achieving a five-star rating, Corton Plants also joined VisitScotland’s Taste Our Best schemes.

The Taste Our Best award scheme – a joint initiative between VisitScotland and the Scottish Government, with support from Scotland Food and Drink - was designed to promote the use of Scottish produce within the tourism industry and recognises businesses that offer great quality Scottish food and drink experiences.

Gordon Smith, VisitScotland’s regional director, said: “I am delighted that Corton Plants and the Coo Shed has achieved a five-star quality assurance rating.

“This is a clear sign of Ayrshire’s tourism offering going from strength to strength as it becomes the tenth five-star attraction in the region.

“This award is a testament to all of the hard work and dedication of the staff.

“We need to continue to create world class experiences, events and attractions to keep up with ever-changing visitor demands. Tourism is more than a holiday experience – it is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy and touches every community, generating income and jobs.”