Culzean Castle

Maybole, United Kingdom

Culzean Castle is a castle overlooking the Firth of Clyde, near Maybole, on the west coast of Scotland. It is the former home of the Marquess of Ailsa, the chief of Clan Kennedy, but is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland. The clifftop castle lies within the Culzean Castle Country Park and is opened to the public.

Culzean Castle was constructed as an L-plan castle by order of the 10th Earl of Cassilis. He instructed the architect Robert Adam to rebuild a previous, but more basic, structure into a fine country house to be the seat of his earldom. The castle was built in stages between 1777 and 1792. It incorporates a large drum tower with a circular saloon inside (which overlooks the sea), a grand oval staircase and a suite of well-appointed apartments.

In 1945, the Kennedy family gave the castle and its grounds to the National Trust for Scotland (thus avoiding inheritance tax). In doing so, they stipulated that the apartment at the top of the castle be given to General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower in recognition of his role as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during the Second World War. The General first visited Culzean Castle in 1946 and stayed there four times, including once while President of the United States.

The Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Yeomanry, a British Yeomanry cavalry regiment, was formed by the Earl of Cassillis at Culzean Castle in about 1794. On 24 June 1961, the regiment returned to the castle to be presented with its first guidon by General Sir Horatius Murray, KBE, CB, DSO.

The castle re-opened in April 2011 after a refurbishment funded by a gift in the will of American millionaire William Lindsay to the National Trust for Scotland.


The armoury contains a propeller from a plane flown by Leefe Robinson when he shot down a German airship north of London in 1916.

To the north of the castle is a bay containing the Gas House, which provided town gas for the castle up until 1940. This group of buildings consists of the gas manager's house (now containing an exhibition on William Murdoch), the Retort House and the remains of the gasometer.

There are sea caves beneath the castle which are currently not open generally, but are open for tours throughout the summer.

The castle grounds include a walled garden, which is built on the site of the home of a former slave owned by the Kennedy family, Scipio Kennedy.

The castle is reputed to be home to at least seven ghosts, including a piper and a servant girl.



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Maybole, United Kingdom
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Founded: 1777-1792
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Rosemary M (4 months ago)
Fantastic family day out with lots to explore. Big cafe and picnic areas. Electric golf buggy to help those who can't walk so far. Exciting coastal walk from the Gas house round to the Boat house.
Jane Thomas (4 months ago)
Lovely Castle with spectacular views of the sea. Run by National Trust of Scotland. Great walks around the grounds of various lengths. Deer park. Delicious food at the farm shop cafe too.
Joyce James (5 months ago)
Beautiful Country Park surrounding the Castle. It's a Scottish National Trust property so there is an entrance fee. It's quite expensive at £20 per adult for tickets but you can go around the Country Park for free from the next village at Maidens (free to park) if you don't mind a walk along the beach. There's a path that takes you through the forest area via the swan lake to the castle that you can easily follow. There are quite a few steps up from the beach but are manageable unless you have mobility issues
Tara Sanders (6 months ago)
An absolutely stunning building on the outside, sat within beautiful grounds. But, wait until you get inside..the rooms and stairways certainly give the wow factor. We bought a guide book and were going to walk around on our own (plenty of reading material on boards and cards in the rooms too), but the next guided tour had space and was just about to start, so we joined that, and I'm glad we did. The guide was engaging, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. She really brought the history of the house to life. We got in free as National Trust members and spent most of the day here in June. To get the most out of your visit, I'd definitely recommend putting a whole day aside to visit. I'd definitely visit again if I were up in Scotland, and spend more time walking around the grounds.
Meg Winslow (7 months ago)
Highly recommend a visit here. We went on a lovely weather day in July and the crowds were so reasonable and easy to navigate. There is a lot to be seen and lots of ground to cover, so I would recommend 4+ hours for exploring. More if you have little kids or plan on eating while you're here. The castle interior was very lovely and the ticket prices felt more than reasonable with all that is to be seen on the grounds as well. Don't miss the walled gardens area or the gas keeper's house. Dolphins can be seen here during certain seasons. They also have a great lego scavenger hunt which is definitely a great addition to the interior tour. Amazing!
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