North Ayrshire's Heritage

 

Places of interest in North Ayrshire - Castles

 

Kelburn Castle and Country Park

Kelburn estate has been in the possession of the Boyle family since the twelfth century. The castle is now the seat of the Earls of Glasgow. The estate is 3,500 acres in size with many activities for visitors.

Location On the A78 between Largs and Fairlie.

Public transport - Stagecoach bus 585 (Ayr to Greenock route)

Map Reference NS 2172 5671

Access The estate is open to the public most of the year and the castle during the summer months.

Contact Telephone - 01475 568 685; Website

 

Portencross Castle

A well-preserved 14th century tower, seat of the Barony of Ardneil. Architecturally it is typical of its period having the main hall on the first floor and smaller chambers above. However, the castle boasts two kitchens. Having passed through various owners, as from 2005 the castle is in the care of the Friends of Portencross Castle.

Location 2½ km west of Seamill at the end of the B7048.

Public transport - Stagecoach bus 585 (Ayr to Greenock route)

Map Reference NS 1754 4891

Access The castle site is accessible to the public, or contact the Friends of Portencross Castle.

Contact Telephone - 01294 823799; Website; Email

 

Ardrossan Castle

With parts of the castle dating to the 13th century, this is one of Ayrshire's oldest buildings. The castle was originally the home of the Ardrossan family and later passed to the Montgomeries of Eaglesham through marriage at about 1360. Nearby the circular foundations of the castle's doocot can be found.

Location South of Glasgow Street, Ardrossan

Public transport - Stagecoach bus 585 (Ayr to Greenock route) First ScotRail Glasgow Central to Ardrossan Town/Harbour Services

Map Reference NS 2324 4227

Access The castle site is accessible to the public all year.

 

Kerelaw Castle

The estate of Kerelaw was originally the seat of Stephen Ross who was known to possess the property as long ago as 1191. The old castle was razed by the Eglintons in 1488 during their feud with the Earls of Glencairn. A new castle was erected and occupied by a succession of owners until 1787. Kerelaw today is a fine looking ruin, as ruins go, with many well preserved architectural features; doors, windows, fireplaces and the like, still to be seen.

Location North of Glencairn Street, Stevenston (follow the path at the side of Stevenston Burn)

Public transport - Stagecoach bus 585 (Ayr to Greenock route) First ScotRail Glasgow Central to Ardrossan Town/Harbour/Largs Services

Map Reference NS 2689 4284

Access The castle site is fenced in.

 

Brodick Castle

Brodick Castle of today was mostly built by the Hamiltons. The National Trust dates its oldest section to about 1558. An earlier castle built in the late 14th century originally occupied the site. Our first reference to it is in 1307 when Sir Robert Boyd (while waiting for Bruce) ambushed English soldiers then occupying the castle.

Location North of Brodick

Public transport - Stagecoach West Scotland Service 324

Map Reference NS 9332 5066

Access Site owned by National Trust for Scotland. Castle open to the public March to October. Park open all year.

Contact Telephone - 0844 4932152; Website; Email

 

Lochranza Castle

On a spit of land stretching into Loch Ranza a hall house was built in the late 13th century for royal hunting parties. The Montgomeries enlarged the house in the 16th century to form the present castle. Again it was sold, this time to Anne, Duchess of Hamilton, in 1706. Then un-roofed, to avoid paying taxes, and abandoned at the end of the 18th century.

Location On the west side of Loch Ranza, Isle of Arran

Public transport - Stagecoach West Scotland Service 324 from Brodick Pier

Map Reference NS 9332 5066

Access Site owned by Historic Scotland. Castle open to the public during the summer months.

Contact Telephone - 0131 668 8600; Website

 

Seagate Castle

The castle is first recorded in 1184 as 'castello de Hirun', and would most likely have been a wooden structure. Sometime in the second half of the 13th century this first castle was replaced with a stone tower as part of Alexander III's fortification programme. This tower in turn was rebuilt to form the present Renaissance townhouse by Hugh Montgomerie, 3rd Earl of Eglinton, in 1565. It was abandoned as a residence in the 1740s and its roof removed. After which 'the castle acquired a very evil repute as the haunt of smugglers and thieves'.

Location Seagate, off the High Street, Irvine town centre

Public transport - Stagecoach buses X34 and X36, First ScotRail Glasgow Central to Ayr service

Map Reference NS 3192 3915

Access Locked but mostly visible from the street.

 

Glengarnock Castle

A 15th century tower with an added courtyard and out-buildings sitting on a defensive height on a bend of the Garnock. Landward it was once protected by a dry moat and drawbridge. Masonry from the castle was quarried for local buildings and in 1839 the north wall of the tower was destroyed in a storm. William Cochran-Patrick of nearby Ladyland rescued the ruin by repairing the remainder in 1841.

Location At end of Blackburn Farm Road, on the Dipple Road off the A760 Kilbirnie.

Public transport - None

Map Reference NS 3102 5735

Access In farmland.

 

Old Place, Kilbirnie

Once the graceful mansion of the Craufurds of Kilbirnie its construction began with a tower of about 1470. It was extended about 1627 by John Craufurd when he added a more modern wing. In its day, the Old Place was considered the most desirable property in this part of Ayrshire. Surrounded by pleasure-grounds, it also had walled gardens and orchards and was approached by a straight avenue 20 yards wide.

Location Largs Road (A760), Beith

Public transport - None

Map Reference NS 3035 5411

Access In farmland surrounded by Kilbirnie Place Golf Course (behind 4th green).

 

Eglinton Castle and Country Park

Once the home of the Earls of Eglinton, the surviving structure was built between 1797 and 1802. Two previous medieval castles once occupied the site. The park covers nearly 1000 acres and contains many buildings associated with the castle including a stable block and racquet hall.

Location Irvine Road (A737), Kilwinning Stagecoach bus service 11 - Ardrossan to Kilmarnock

Map Reference NS 32274 42206

Access The Visitor Centre, Eglinton, Irvine, Ayrshire KA12 8TA

Contact Telephone - 01294 551776; Website; Email

 

 

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