Ayrshire Castles & Abbeys that can be visited

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This page lists the Castles and Abbeys in Ayrshire that are popular for visits.

Click on PostCodes for maps and reviews.

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 Ganten Scotland.

For information on visiting Blairquhan, visit the website. The area around Straiton has some of the top hill walking in Ayrshire.
www.blairquhan.co.uk . Clan Hunter Page . KA19 7LZ.

Blairquhan Castle / Mansion image
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Brodick Castle & 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 adult.

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.

Website . AS Page . Clan Hamilton Page . KA27 8HY.

Brodick Castle Isle of Arran
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Crossraguel 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.
www.historic-scotland.gov.uk . UDS Page . KA19 5HQ.

Crossraguel Abbey image
Large Image 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. Ayr to Dalrymple Map. Kennedy Clan Page .

Cassillis House image
Large Image . Large Close Up View

Culzean Castle & 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 of Cassillis.
RS Photo Page . Website . Postcode: KA19 8LE.

Culzean Castle image
Large Image . Large Entrance Image

Dalquharran 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 right.

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 windows.
Windows Image . sites.scran.ac.uk/dalquharran/ .

Dalquharran Castle image

Large Image . Close Up View

Old 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.
Castle Website . AS Photo Page . Postcode: KA3 1XB.

Dean Castle
Winter Image . Summer Image.

Dundonald 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 village Dundonald.

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.

Website . UDS Page . Clan Bruce Page . KA2 9DW

Dundonald Castle image

Large Image . View of Great Hall

View From Window

Dunure 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.
www.maybole.org . UDS Page . Map.

Dunure Castle image
Large Image from the rocks

Eglinton Country Park is situated about one mile northeast of Irvine. The park is open to the public free of charge all year round.

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.
Website . AS Photo Page . KA12 8TA.

Eglinton Castle
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Greenan 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.

Greenan Castle image
Large Image . View from Window

Kelburn Castle & 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.
www.kelburncastle.com . Clan Boyle Page . Map.

Kelburn Castle
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Kilwinning Abbey was built for Huge de Morville in the 1100s. The tower completed in 1816 is open to the public.

The Abbey is often connected to the Knights Templar and the start of the Masonic Lodge.

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:
Website . UDS Page . Map . Reviews

Kilwinning Abbey image
Large Image . View from Car Park

Lochranza 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 Menteith).

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 lodge.

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 1705.
Website . UDS Page . Map.

Lochranza Castle image
Large Image . Close Up Image

Loch Doon 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 Castle Page

www.historic-scotland.gov.uk . Map.

Loch Doon Castle image
Large Image . Interior Image

Loudoun Castle & 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 restored.

Image 1 . Image 2 . Clan Campbell Page . KA4 8PE.

Loudoun Castle
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Maybole 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 castle.
www.maybole.org/places/maybolecastle . Map.

Maybole Castle image
Large Image . Same view 1860s

Portencross Castle (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.
www.portencrosscastle.org.uk . UDS Page . Map.

Portencross Castle image
Large Image . Information Board

Sorn Castle, 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 Hamilton’s.

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.

Sorn Castle image
Large Image . Staircase Old Image

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