Culzean Castle, Scotland - A stunning stately mansion, and holiday residence for a US president, dating from 1777 !

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We took a day trip out to Culzean Castle yesterday. Its pronounced Cul-ain. The castle is on the west cost of Scotland, just south of Ayr.


Culzean is a fairly modern castle by Scottish standards, with construction starting in 1777, and finishing in 1792. Its more of a very fine country residence, than a typical fortified castle, and hence is 'prettier' than many.


Culzean is well known for its tropical trees. We dont really have the climate for it here in Scotland, but the castle is in a very favourable location, as it benefits from the gulf stream which brings warm weather across the Atlantic, with Culzean being the first thing it hits when it makes land fall.


Today the castle and its grounds are in the care of the National Trust for Scotland (NTS). They run it as a visitor attraction, and hence it is well set up, maintained, and has lots of activities and facilities.


One of the things I found cool about Culzean is the outbuildings above. They alone would constitute a castle in many other areas - and thats just the non-castle part !


The estate really is spectacular with lots to see a do - its quite large, and we spent around 4 hours there exploring and certainly didnt see it all.


The castle is also famed for its links with US President Eisenhower. The suite in the top floor was gifted to him as a thanks from Scotland in 1946 for his efforts during World War II. Following that he came and stayed there four times, including once while he was president ! Thats his office above.


The main cafe area is also really nice. The entrance gate above takes you into it, and I guess it was a stable block in the past.


It leads into a lovely large courtyard, which was quite a suntrap yesterday ! The cafe was quite nice, with nice lunch snacks, served fairly rapidly. There is also a nice gift shop and gallery in the same block.


You can also explore the sea front down below the castle, where it looks out towards North America over the Atlantic Ocean.


Its such a beautiful setup that anywhere you looked, you would find beautiful features.


And the gardens were spectacular also - with beautiful stepped areas in front of the castle giving one heck of a dramatic view.


Sandstone appears to have been used in quite a few of the outbuildings and decorative features, and you can see the effect of wind and rain erosion in a number of places, adding their own beauty.


We have an annual family membership for the NTS which means we can get in anytime for free. Although we hadnt been as a family before, as its a few hours drive from where we live.


The main thoroughfare up to the castle is also quite impressive (below) - taking on the look of a castle entrance from days of old.


Another view of the entrance below with the castle in the background.


I also loved the octopus below, which was down by the seashore !


There was so much to see and do that we couldnt get through it all in one visit - and we took loads of pics, so I'll have to cover more like the castle internals in another post.


The castle was designed by Robert Adam, who was a famous British architect of the time, for the 10th Earl of Cassilis. And hats off - the boy done well !


The castle also has some decorative cannons around, as is the norm !


Looking at the stamp on the side of the cannon (below) it would appear that these were built in Glasgow, in the Edington foundry, also know as the Phoenix Works. I cant tell if these were only ever ornamental, but Edington did cast cannons used in warfare. I also like the stone plates behind the cannons used for storing the cannon balls ! Its hard to age the cannon, but the foundry was opened in 1742.


As can be seen, its a heck of a place and well worth the visit ! We will be going back for sure.



I remember I visited the Culzean castle in 2008. The tropical garden was a highlight of the visit! We have also seen huge grapes on the vine, we were lost for words.

Aye - its quite impressive. The grapes were only just growing yesterday - they were tiny !

Nice! Here is what it looked like in Aug 2008

Oh wow !

Pay another visit in August! 😀

thanks for sharing. some great shots there.

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