Ayrshire Castles & Abbeys
that can be visited
This page lists the Castles
and Abbeys in Ayrshire that are
popular for visits.
Click on PostCodes for maps
Blairquhan Castle /
Mansion is situated about 16
miles southeast of Ayr next to the
small scenic village of Straiton. The
castle can be visited in summer months
when not booked for weddings, holidays
or film shoots.
The original tower house/castle was
built for the McWhirter's, passed to
the Kennedy's through marriage, was
acquired by the Whiteford's, then sold
to Sir David Hunter Blair in 1798. The
Hunter Blair's had the new castellated
mansion built in the 1820s. The Hunter
Blair's sold Blairquhan in 2012 to
For information on visiting
Blairquhan, visit the website. The area
around Straiton has some of
the top hill walking in Ayrshire.
Page . KA19
& Country Park situated
about 3 miles north of Brodick on the
Isle of Arran. The castle and grounds
are open all year round from 09.00 till
sunset with an entrance fee to the
castle and park about £12 per
James IV awarded Brodick Castle and
the Earldom of Arran to his cousin Lord
Hamilton in 1503. The Hamilton's
extended the castle over the centuries.
The death of the 12th Duke of
Hamilton's daughter in 1953, led to the
castle being taken over by the National
Trust for Scotland.
AS Photo Page . Clan Hamilton Page .
Image . Large Side Image
Abbey situated about one and a
half miles south of Maybole, 10 miles
south of Ayr next to the A77. The abbey
and the adjacent Kennedy Baltersan
Tower have some connections through
history. Duncan the Earl of Carrick
founded Crossraguel around 1244 after
he donated money to monks of Paisly to
build the abbey on this site.
Crossraguel is open to the public
from 1st April – 30th September
09.00-18.30 with an entrance fee of
about Adult £4.
Page . www.historic-scotland.gov.uk
from the Tower
Cassillis House /
Castle about 8 miles southeast
of Ayr. Cassillis House is a private
home that can only be viewed from the
roadside. This was the home of the
Earls of Cassillis (Kennedy's) until
they sold Cassillis House in 2009 to
the Confused.com founder Kate
Armstrong. The Kennedy's were the
largest land owners in the southwest of
scotland since the 1200s, owning other
castles such as Culzean, Dunure,
Baltersan, Greenan, Kilhenzie, Maybole,
Dalquharran and more.
To view Cassillis House, you have to
drive along the B742 road that leads
south of the village of Dalrymple, down
on the right hand side, you can see
Cassillis House, as seen right,
although they have now let the roadside
hedge grow high to prevent viewing.
Dalrymple Map. Kennedy Clan Page
& Country Park situated
about 12 miles south of Ayr. The park
is open all year round with most of the
castle open to the public from 1st
April - October 31st 10.30 - 17.00.
There are also the Eisenhower
apartments in the castle that are
available for holidays.
Prices for entry to the castle &
park about £15 per adult, park
only £10. This was the main castle
of the Kennedy Clan for many years,
until they gifted the castle to the
National Trust for Scotland in 1945,
and moved to their older castle/house
AS Photo Page . Website
. Postcode: KA19
Castle was built by Robert Adam
for Thomas Kennedy between 1785 and
1790. Adam was also redesigning Culzean
Castle for David Kennedy at that time.
The completion of Dalquharran Castle
allowed the Kennedy's to move from the
Old Castle that is situated only 300
yards southeast, next to the River
Girvan, bottom left of the image
Work to convert this castle ruin to
a hotel and the estate into a
championship standard golf course is
expected to begin soon. The two castles
at Dalquharran are situated 16 miles
southeast of Ayr next to the small
village of Dailly. You can visit the
castles by parking in Dailly then walk
through the field in front of the
castles (as seen right) then cross the
river by footbridge. View an image with
windows added in Photoshop to show what
it may have looked like with
Image . sites.scran.ac.uk/dalquharran/
Image . Close Up
Castle . Map.
Dean Castle &
Country Park is situated to the
north side of Kilmarnock. These lands
were awarded to the Boyd's in 1316 by
King Robert the Bruce for their support
at the Battle of Bannockburn. The last
owner, Lord Howard de Walden, gifted
the castle and estate to the people of
Kilmarnock in 1975.
Entrance to the park is free
including guided tours of the castle
that are available every day from 12.15
- 16.15 each hour April - September.
The Visitor Centre & Children's
Corner are open 11.00 - 17.00 summer
and 11.00 - 16.00 winter. There are a
number of events held in the park each
year such as Classic Car Rallies.
AS Photo Page . Postcode:
Winter Image .
Castle was built for Robert II
(grandson of Robert the Bruce) on his
accession to the throne of Scotland in
1371. The castle is situated on a
hilltop in the centre of the small
There is a car park and visitor
centre below the castle that provides
information and snacks. The centre and
grounds around the castle are open free
of charge 10.00-17.00 1st April-31st
October. Guided tours of inside the
castle can be arranged at the visitors
centre for a small fee, or you can take
a tour yourself.
Page . Clan Bruce
Page . KA2
Image . View of
Castle was built in the 1300s
for the Kennedy’s (Earls of
Cassillis). Dunure was one of the first
seats of this family that became the
largest landowners in South Ayrshire.
Best Known as the place the Kennedy's
roasted the Commendator of Crossraguel
Abbey over a fire, in an attempt to
have him sign over Abbey land, setting
off a series of murders.
The castle is situated on the
outskirts of the small village of
Dunure about 6 miles south of Ayr on
the A719 scenic coastal road. There is
a car park and play area next to the
castle. There is also a traditional
Scottish pub and cafe at the harbour
for meals or drinks.
AS Photo Page
. www.maybole.org .Map.
Large Image from
Park is situated about one mile
northeast of Irvine. The park is open
to the public free of charge all year
Eglinton estate along with the town
of Ardrossan passed from the
Eglinton’s to the
Montgomery’s though marriage in
the 1300s. The Montgomery’s were
forced to abandon Eglinton Castle and
estate in 1929 after loosing all their
money building Ardrossan Harbour. The
castle soon fell into disrepair and was
later used as target practice for tanks
during World War Two.
Page . KA12
Castle was built for John
Kennedy of Baltersan in 1603. The
castle is situated on the south side of
Ayr Beach. A large car park nearby
makes this a popular walk along the
beach past the castle towards the heads
of Ayr Cliffs. More information and
photos for Greenan can be found at:
www.maybole.org . Wiki
Page . Walking Page . Map.
Large Image .
& Country Park is situated
about one mile south of Largs with
views over the Firth of Clyde and
island of Great Cumbrae. The castle is
run separate from the country centre as
it is used for holiday accommodation,
banquets, weddings and conferences.
The earliest parts of Kelburn Castle
are from the 1200s, built by the
Boyle's. The castle has been vastly
extended over the centuries, and is
still owned by Boyle's.
There are good views of the castle
from the country centre. The centre is
open from Easter to the end of October
with a charge of about £7 for
adults and £6 for children. A
family ticket is about £25.
Page . Map.
Large Image . Entrance Image
Abbey was built for Huge de
Morville in the 1100s. The tower
completed in 1816 is open to the
The Abbey is often connected to the
Knights Templar and the start of the
The Abbey Tower Heritage Centre is
open Mid May until Mid September,
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm
- 3pm.. Access for visiting groups
outwith these times may be possible.
Phone 01294 551 496 for details.
The abbey, situated in Kilwinning
town centre, can be easily found as it
rises high above the surrounding
buildings. More history and photos of
the abbey can be found at:
AS Photo Page
. Map .
Large Image . View from
Castle is situated in the centre
of Lochranza village, on the north
coast of the Island of Arran. The
earliest parts of the castle were built
in the mid 1200s for the MacSweens. In
1262, it was granted by Alexander III
to Walter Stewart (Earl of
It is believed Robert the Bruce
landed at this spot on his return from
Ireland in 1306, as he began his
successful campaign to become king of
Scotland. The castle was later owned by
his grandson when he became King Robert
II of Scotland in 1371. The following
years saw it used as a royal hunting
During the 1490s, Lochranza Castle
was used as a base from where James IV
could attack the MacDonalds (Lords of
the Isles). James VI took control of
the castle in 1614, and the English
Parliamentarian leader Cromwell took
control in the1650s. The last owners,
the Hamiltons, acquired the castle in
Page . Map.
Large Image . Close Up Image
Castle was built in the 1200s
for Robert the Earl of Carrick. Robert
the Bruce’s father gained control
of this castle and Turnberry Castle in
1271 after marrying the widow Marjorie
(Countess of Carrick).
The castle was originally situated
on a small island in the middle of Loch
Doon. The ruins were rebuilt at the
side of the loch in the 1930s to allow
the loch to be used as a water
reservoir. To visit this scenic area,
take the A713 east of Dalmellington and
follow signs for the hill road leading
to Loch Doon.
Loch Doon Page . History
Page . Turnberry
Large Image . Interior Image
& Country Park is situated 5
miles northeast of Kilmarnock next to
the town of Galston. An amusement park
was opened in the grounds in 1995
becoming one of Ayrshire's top visitor
attractions. The park closed in 2010,
it is unclear if it will be used for
any other visitor attractions.
The earliest parts of Loudoun Castle
were built by the Craufurds in the
1400s. The castle was extended by the
Campbell's in the 1600s, and by Flora
Mure-Campbell in the early 1800s..
The Castle was severely damaged by
fire in 1941 with all that remains are
the walls. The walls are in excellent
condition so the castle could be
restored someday. See 2 photos, the
first of what the castle is like today,
and the second what it may look like
. Image 2
. Clan Campbell
Page . KA4
Castle is situated next to
Maybole High Street. The earliest parts
of the castle were built as a townhouse
for the Kennedy’s (Earls of
Cassillis). The main tower is dated to
around 1560 and additions that give its
present day look to 1812.
Maybole Castle is now the
headquarters of a Community Council
training company. The castle can be
visited with a tea room and local
heritage centre in the castle expected
to open soon. There is a car park
behind the shops opposite the
Large Image . Same view
(Tower) is built on lands
originally owned by the Ross Clan. The
Ross’s supported John de Baliol
in the feuds with Robert the Bruce.
After Bruce defeated Baliol, he awarded
these lands to his loyal supporters the
Boyds of Kilmarnock.
Robert Boyd had this castle built in
the early 1400s to protect and make use
of the small harbour here. There is a
scenic seaside car park about one
hundred yards from the castle to allow
visits to the castle that has recently
been restored, and the popular walk
along the shore. Signposts on the A78
less than one mile north of Seamill
direct you to the castle.
Page . Map.
Large Image .
overlooking the River Ayr, is situated
4 miles east of Mauchline, next to the
B743. The earliest parts of this castle
were built in the early 1400s for the
Although Sorn is a sporting estate
most of the year, fishing /shooting,
the castle is open to the public for
four weeks each year, normally mid July
- mid August 1400 - 1600. The castle
has recently been made available for
holidays and weddings. For enquiries
phone 01290 551 476.
Large Image .