Dean Castle Country Park, Kilmarnock. Hand Picked Places to Visit in Ayrshire, Scotland
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Places to Visit in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire

Dean Castle Country Park, Kilmarnock

Dean Castle Country Park

Dean Road
Tel: +44(0)1563 554701
Fax: +44(0)1563 554720
Dean Castle Country Park online: information and bookings

Where the Fenwick and Borland waters enter lowland Ayrshire, they meet in a shallow, wooded valley, before joining the river Irvine just south of the town of Kilmarnock. Concealed within this valley is Dean Castle, the historic seat of the lords of Kilmarnock. Dean Castle was gifted to the Burgh of Kilmarnock in 1975 by the 9th Lord Howard de Walden. The building is now a museum and visitor attraction within Dean Castle Country Park, administered by East Ayrshire Council.

Dean Castle has been described as the best example of a faithfully restored medieval castle in Scotland. It is a courtyard-castle with a massive fortified keep built in the 14th century and a separate residence built in the 15th century, all protected by an encircling curtain-wall.

The barony of Kilmarnock was given to the Boyd family by Robert the Bruce, as a reward for their support in the Wars of Independence. They built the castle, which remained their stronghold for four hundred years. During this period the family lost and regained the castle on more than one occasion. The Boyds found favour with the Stewart kings of Scotland and by the 1460s, Lord Robert Boyd was governor of Scotland and his son Thomas married to the sister of the young James III – Princess Mary. The 1745 Jacobite rebellion brought the Boyd’s association with the castle to a tragic end, when William Boyd – the 4th Earl – was taken captive on the field of Culloden fighting for the cause of Bonnie Prince Charlie.

In 1899 Thomas Scott-Ellis became the 8th Lord Howard de Walden and inherited the Kilmarnock estate. A man of many interests and talents, he was in particular fascinated by the medieval past. Between the years 1908 and 1946 he restored the castle which had lain a ruin since the 18th century. The castle now houses the 8th Lord Howard de Walden’s collection of arms, armour and tapestries along with an internationally important collection of early musical instruments assembled by his father-in-law, Charles van Raalte. The castle is also home to the McKie Collection of original manuscripts and relics which relate to Robert Burns.

• Historic House
• Gardens
• Tea Room
• Car Park
• Private Group Tours
• School Tours Available

In case of alteration, please check prices, opening times and any specific important information before booking or visiting

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