Blairquhan Castle

Maybole, United Kingdom

Blairquhan is a Regency era castle near Maybole in South Ayrshire, Scotland. It was the historic home of the Hunter-Blair Baronets and remained in the family's possession until 2012, when it was sold to a Chinese company.

Four different families have lived at Blairquhan or on its lands. The McWhirters built the first tower house about 1346. The Kennedys then inherited the estate through marriage and built the remainder of the old castle about 1573. In the early 17th century the Whitefords took over, but in 1798, suffering the effects of a bank crash, they sold Blairquhan to Sir David Hunter Blair, 3rd Baronet, the second son of Sir James Hunter Blair, 1st Baronet who had married Jean Blair, the daughter and heiress of John Blair of Dunskey in Wigtownshire in 1770. When Jean Blair inherited her father's estate in 1777, the family took the additional surname of Blair. Sir David Hunter Blair made some of his money in Jamaica and was joint-owner of Roselle Estate, St Thomas-in-the-East.

In 1820, Sir David commissioned Scottish architect William Burn to design a new house on Blairquhan. The old castle, which had become ruinous due to previous fires and neglect, was torn down for a new the Tudor-style castle, which nevertheless incorporated some of the decorative mouldings and sculpted stones from the old castle into the kitchen courtyard of the new house. The new mansion was completed in 1824, and contains many antiques and an important collection of paintings by Scottish artists. In late 2012, Sir Patrick David Hunter-Blair, 9th Baronet, sold Blairquhan to Ganten Scotland, a subsidiary of a Chinese company which bottles mineral water for distribution around the world.

The late James Hunter Blair (1926–2004), younger brother and heir presumptive of Sir Edward Hunter-Blair, 8th Baronet (1920-2006), was a noted horticulturalist and forester who spent most of his life restoring the castle and preserving the estate grounds, which includes veteran trees and a walled garden. An ancient sycamore which stands in the shadow of the castle is thought to be a Dule Tree or gallows tree, planted early in the 16th century during the reign of King James V of Scotland. The once-spreading crown was heavily pruned in 1997, saving the much-weakened trunk from total collapse.

To help offset operating costs, James Hunter Blair opened the 800-hectare estate as a venue for private functions such as weddings, corporate outings and filming. The current owners continue this operation, offering the castle as an exclusive use venue. Blairquhan was seen in the UK television programme Beauty and the Geek. Its interiors and grounds were also used as a substitute location for Balmoral Castle in the Oscar-winning 2006 film The Queen, starring Helen Mirren.



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Maybole, United Kingdom
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Founded: 1824
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in United Kingdom


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Cherene Kruger (9 months ago)
Had an absolutely amazing 5 day stay in the stable cottages. Gorgeous area, staff super friendly. Highly recommend if you are looking for a place to stay with beautiful surroundings and close to the coast.
David Carley (9 months ago)
Castle and ground looked amazing, as long as ur having a wedding n hiring the Castle ur ok, unfortunately my family and few more were hiring cottages etc. So we were told to use a back entrance made us feel sooo wanted (not) and the roads we had to use were full of potholes and one r two big ones. The part we stayed in was part of the castle it was Kennedy cottage, very very basic ours slept 7 and had one bathroom which we shared with bees, one actually fell into her hair as she brushed her teeth, shower had to be taken down to get flow when u turn it on and u have to leave 30mins between each one, we were getting ready for wedding so not good at all, I'm a retired firefighter and to be honest who ever passed this cottage should be ashamed of themselves the light switch in sitting room is not connected properly and only two windows opened, if a fire happened upstairs they aren't getting out unharmed. When all this was brought to their attention we were told some windows were fine we just didn't push hard enough, (shouldn't have to force open a window)the cottage had been passed by for fire safety and its an old building because we complained about all the flies and cobwebs in the windows n doors, and that we got what we paid for approx £800 for 4nights self catering with closest shop about 30mins away, wouldn't recommend, at all, plus side the woman that was in the castle office was lovely to deal with, but nobody there weekends
Alan Adams (10 months ago)
We were piped of the bus then shown to our rooms some in the castle some in lodge's we had a lodge it was very well appointed 3 bedrooms large kitchen and large living room, beautiful grounds . We were here for a 50 th birthday, The staff were great and friendly, service was excellent . breakfast next morning there was plenty of choice, could have stayed a lot longer didn't want to leave this was part of a brilliant weekend
Madeleine (2 years ago)
The most incredible wedding venue! The grounds and castle itself are absolutely beautiful. The team at Blairquhan are second to none. Hannah, Anne, Nan and Martin and the staff helped us to have the most amazing wedding. They were incredibly easy to communicate with and nothing was too difficult for them. They were so accommodating and helpful over the whole weekend and in the lead up to the wedding. The hospitality was absolutely fantastic and we honestly cannot thank the team enough, we would love to do it all over again! Thank you!
Memories By Movie (2 years ago)
Stunning venue and brilliant staff
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