The Castles of East Ayrshire

Over the years East Ayrshire has seen many clans come and go, and with them a great many castles that were once home to their leaders. While the majority of the castles in the area are now nothing more than scant remains, some have been lovingly restored to their former glory and are still in use today.

Dean Castle

Nestled in the heart of Kilmarnock, the stunning Dean castle is one of the top attractions in the area. Though the original castle was partially ruined by an accidental fire in 1735, it was restored in the early 20th century and was gifted to the people of the town. Now owned by the council, the castle and grounds can be toured for free, with many additional attractions, such as a cafe and exhibitions of medieval arms and armor. The grounds are host to several events throughout the year, including concerts and fairs.

Loch Doon Castle

When you think of castles, most people think of strong, impenetrable buildings, and this thought is not wrong. The ruined Loch Doon castle however isn’t all that it seems to be. It was originally built on an island in Loch Doon, but when a hydro electric system was built on the Loch in the 1930s, it was dismantled and rebuilt brick by brick on the waters edge. Nowadays it’s open all year round and free to visit. The natural beauty of the location is fantastic, sitting on the edge of Galloway forest park, and it’s a great setting for tracing the famous eleven sided curtain wall.

Rowallan Castle

ROWALLAN CASTLEThe rounded towers and impressive brickwork really make Rowallan castle stand out. Nowadays it’s privately owned and part of a golf hotel development. However, visitors can stay, dine and visit the castle by prior arrangement. It’s home to many legends, such as the “fox tree”, which played host to a friendly fox who liked to watch the world go by from his perch in the branches!