Culzean Castle

Should golfer’s playing Turnberry feel a tug of conscience and perhaps realise that they ought to explore a little bit rather than immersing themselves in the resort, then Culzean castle is just down the coast and worth a few hours. This isn’t an arduous mini excursion and could easily fit the description of relaxation in it’s own right

Culzean Castle was built between 1777 and 1792. It incorporates a large drum tower with a circular saloon inside, a grand oval staircase and a suite of well-appointed apartments. In common with many Scottish ‘castles’ it is more of a strong house and seat of power than a traditional fortified citadel. Former home of the Marquess of Ailsa, the chief of Clan Kennedy it does have a US presidential link, but to Eisenhower, not JFK. When donating the property to the National Trust, the family stipulated that the top apartment be given to Ike. Eisenhower visited four times, once as President. An exhibition occupies one of the rooms, with mementoes of his lifetime. The Castle is reputed to be home to at least seven ghosts including a piper and a servant girl

Culzean Castle. The gardens are every bit as spectacular as the location

© photo by StaraBlazkova / Wikimedia Commons / licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
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One of the tag lines Turnberry have used in the past is ‘play golf in the gulf stream’. It’s relevant to Culzean Castle. The north Atlantic current warms the west coasts of Ireland and Scotland in the winter and allows the growth of plants that really shouldn’t flourish at this latitude. The castle has been able to exploit this by producing a really quite exotic garden which perhaps borders on the surreal

It’s worth noting, that although Culzean Castle doesn’t have that many bedrooms, it is one of the Scottish castles that you can stay in provided you plan for enough ahead. For the resident guest it probably comes alive (ironically) once the day’s visitors have left. When the gates have closed you and the small group of fellow guests will have the magnificent castle and its grounds to yourself, allowing you to live like the clan chiefs of yore