Visiting Culzean Castle and Country Park
“If I had a spare few million kicking about……”
I wonder how many times those little words have been muttered wistfully on the grounds of Culzean Castle. Without doubt one of Scotland’s favourite castles, Culzean boasts an enviable cliff top position overlooking the Atlantic and its vast grounds are also amongst the best in the country. While Scotland excels in this department, Ayrshire just may be the most unexpected jewel in the crown.
Upon entry, you are barely in the door before you are in the heart of the armoury. Close to a thousand weapons decorate the walls in an impressively ostentatious show of force. ‘Welcome to my home, it could supply a small army’ kind of thing. You can wander Culzean Castle at your own pace or join one of the scheduled guided tours. Magnificently decorated and maintained throughout, the castle served as the long-standing home of the wealthy Kennedy family for generations. The interior design work can be attributed to the famous Robert Adam and he was allowed to let his creative imagination run riot with the room layout. Particularly grand is Adam’s work on the castle’s oval staircase.
As impressive as the castle itself undoubtedly is, the grounds are even better. If the sun is out, this is a great place to spend an entire day. Woodland walks, a lake, numerous garden areas and even access to a beautiful little beach space should be enough to keep just about anyone happy. There are also the Culzean Castle caves that can be visited by guide in summer but they are not necessarily frequent so it is best to call ahead and enquire for availability.
For those looking for the full castle-living experience, it is possible to stay at Culzean as it also operates as a hotel. Dwight D Eisenhower has stayed here on several occasions (including one while President of the United States) and the top floor of rooms is dedicated to him. The Man with the Golden Gun has even lived here! Christopher Lee’s castle in the film The Wicker Man was shot at Culzean in 1972.
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