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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 !

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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 !

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

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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.

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

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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 !
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Nice! Here is what it looked like in Aug 2008
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Oh wow !

Pay another visit in August! 😀

thanks for sharing. some great shots there.

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