Top 5 Castles in Ayrshire

Culzean Castle - Photo Credit: National Trust for Scotland
Culzean Castle - Photo Credit: National Trust for Scotland

Ayrshire is steeped in history, and nothing says history more than a castle! Some of Scotland’s best and indeed most significant castles can be found here in Ayrshire. Each and every one of them deserves a visit; it is part of what makes us Ayrshire folks who we are!

Our land, towns and occasionally lives are built around these historical monuments, so it’s time you took a look at what we have for you! We are striving to build the biggest and best source of information on castles in Ayrshire, so why not get involved?

What makes Ayrshire great are the people, the visitors and the sites. If you have a photograph, memories or anything else from a visit to one of Ayrshire’s castles, get in touch with us and we can share it with our fans! Here is a look at the top 5 castles Ayrshire boasts:

Dunure

Simply stunning. No other words. Just stunning. Dunure Castle is set in the sleepy South Ayrshire fishing village of Dunure, a mere 15 minute drive from Ayr. Sitting on the edge of the cliff-face sits the now closed Dunure Castle, renovated in just 1999 to restore it to the standards once set before years of weather had taken its toll on the building.

It is thought the castle has stood in the current position overlooking Dunure Harbour since around 1250s. Located within Kennedy Park in the village in Dunure, the remains of this castle really are worth a visit no matter the time of year.

Eglinton

Set in the beautiful grounds of Eglinton County Park in Kilwinning, the remains of the once giant Gothic castle is a sight not to be missed. The ruins of the castle are accessable to the public for free, making it one of the most popular visitor attractions in Ayrshire. The layout of the castle can be seen with the extensive ground works and stonework remaining around the site, all of which can be explored up close.

Eglinton Castle sits in the heart of Eglinton Country Park, surrounded by natural beauty and amazing feature pieces. From the rolling hills and wide range of trees and flowers to the sensational Tournament Bridge and former Coach House and Stables, Eglinton Park is certainly worth exploring. There are cafe facilities for you and your pets as well as a museum and gift shop detailing the history of the park and the significance it plays in current life in Irvine and Kilwinning.

Countless woodland paths, fishing spots, river crossings and kids playgrounds complete this stunning country park. Eglinton Park, it’s more than just a castle.

Dundonald

Situated in the rural heartland of Ayrshire sits the spectacular Dundonald Castle. The castle is hugely important in not only the history of the village of Dundonald but also the development of Scotland as a nation.

Guides on site during peak season will provide visitors with a detailed look at the castles importance and stature as well as a delving in to the history and transformation of this stunning venue. Dundonald Castle serves are more than just a visitor’s attraction. With weddings, music events, annual Highland Games and filming all taking place on site, it shows this historic castle is a year round venue benefiting the local community.

Culzean

With the waves crashing against the stone far below, the costal setting of Culzean Castle is one of the best in Scotland. Set amongst the deep green forests of Culzean Country Park sits this remarkable 14th Century castle, which certainly doesn’t look it’s age!

Overlooking the Firth of Clyde, Culzean Castle is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Ayrshire. Guided tours of this pristine castle are held to allow visitors to explore the ancient history of the building as well as to delve in to the artwork, architecture, furniture and beautiful gardens on site.

The almost 600 acre parkland is perfect for a long walk together, with kids playgrounds, guided tours, ice cream houses, shops and perfect green lawns all available for visitors to enjoy. Why not head over to Deer Park and discover up close and personal what these secretive animals have to offer. The beautiful walled gardens are a must see at any time of the year, but visiting during the summer months will surely take your breath away.

Culzean Castle and Country Park has so much more to offer, from the wildlife to the cliff top walks. No visit to Ayrshire is complete without a visit to this remarkable location.

Dean Castle

The gem of castles has to be found in East Ayrshire; Dean Castle. Set amongst Dean Castle County Park this stunning 14th Century building, steeped in history, has been kept in remarkable condition over the years.

The castle still houses a number of fascinating historic collections including armour, musical instruments and weapons. A visitor’s centre is on site to give detail on the parks history and frequent guided tours of the castle are on offer.

Dean Castle Country Park itself has a number of fantastic features making it one of the best attractions in East Ayrshire. A tearoom, shop, kid’s adventure play park and stunning woodland walks make up the backdrop to the park. The main feature, however, is the kid’s pets corner. Pigs, horses and goats are among the animals on display in the fields surrounding the kid’s playground. This gives the children an amazing experience and makes this one of the best places to visit.

So if you want to get out and about in the countryside, Dean Castle Country Park is the place to go!