Culzean Castle and Country Park
All about The Castle
Come and visit beautiful Culzean Castle (probably my favourite Castle ever…) It was designed by Robert Adam in the late 18th century and built for the Kennedy family, one of the oldest clans in Scotland, whose ancestry can be traced back to Robert the Bruce. It’s perched on an Ayrshire Clifftop just 12 miles South of Ayr and exploring the Castle and the Country Park make for a great day out……
This stunning 260 hectare Castle and Estate was once the playground of David Kennedy, the 10th Earl of Cassillis – a man who was keen to impress with his wealth and status and the Castle is filled to the turrets with treasures that tell the stories of the people who lived here – from the imposing entrance hall, which boasts one of the largest collections of British military flintlock pistols in the world, to the elegant rooms and bustling kitchen, all filled with the artefacts of Culzean Castle’s history. The sweeping Oval Staircase with its soaring colonnades and grand oil paintings, as well as the unique Round Drawing Room, which has panoramic views over the Firth of Clyde are something to behold….
The Country Park
The Country Park surrounding the Castle has something for everyone….it’s opulent to the extreme and is planted with conifers and beech, sculpted around miles of sandy coastline dotted with caves, and finished off with a Swan Pond, an ice house, flamboyant formal gardens and fruit-filled glasshouses. Here’s more about what you can explore……..
- mixed woodland of 120 hectares managed for shelter, production, amenity and wildlife conservation.
- around 17 miles of pathways allowing you to walk through mature deciduous stands, a conifer plantation, small clearings, glades, quiet glens and down to the beautiful Culzean beach close to the village of Maidens…..
- the Walled Garden – which is one of the largest in Scotland. It consists of two sections divided by a spine wall – the pleasure garden with stunning flowers and the kitchen garden which supplies fruit and vegetables to the catering facilities within the Castle and Country Park. This was once one of the most innovative gardens in Scotland – and (interesting fact number 101) the onion ‘Ailsa Craig’ (named after the granite island just off the Ayrshire Coast) was bred by a gardener working at Culzean in the 1870s:) The team who manage the garden use a range of horticultural techniques and skills from the Victorian age to the present day and it’s a beautiful location to have a wander around….
- the Deer Park which is home to a small herd of red deer who share their living space with some llamas.
- the Swan Pond – This man-made pond is a popular spot for visitors (with plenty seating and space to picnic) – it’s surrounded by a footpath and is sheltered on three sides by mature woodland – it’s a beautiful spot for watching waterfowl, moorhens, swans and ducks just get on with life and it’s lovely in late Spring to see the ducklings and cygnets etc. In the warmer months it’s the place to enjoy an ice cream from the parlour at the pond!
- If you’re visiting with youngsters they will love Adventure Cove and Wild Woodland play areas – where there are lots of thrilling features to explore, including soaring towers, treehouses, slides, climbing walls, a maze house and zip slides and because it’s right beside the Swan Pond – you can keep an eye on the them whilst enjoying a family picnic at the pond.
- The Beach – Almost 3 miles of cliffs, rocky shore and sandy bays add the final touch to Culzean’s diverse surroundings. I never tire of the views across the Firth of Clyde to Arran, Kintyre and Ailsa Craig from the cliff walk and usually manage to capture some lovely photos. Paths lead down to the rocky lava platform where rockpools abound and endless hours can be spent on Culzean beach searching for ghost prawns, sea urchins and starfish, or semi-precious stones including agate, jasper and even amethyst. North of the castle the terrain changes to warmer old red sandstone and sandy bays and directly beneath the castle, and accessible from the beach, are a series of very large caves, which are a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and part of a volcanic cliff formation that’s 350 million years old. There’s evidence that people lived in these caves from Neolithic times – demonstrating that even then people knew how special Culzean was.
I hope this Blog article lets you see just how special Culzean is to me – and you’ll want to go visit yourself….