Mauchline Castle, was built in the 1400s as a monastic residence for Melrose Abbey. Robert Burns is believed to have married Jean Armour in the castles dining room. With the castle now being the family home of the late Alexander Hamilton, it is not open to the public. However, it is possible to view the castle from the cut at the rear of the castle from the cobbled streets around the Burns House Museum.
Sorn castle is situated on an 8000 acre estate on high ground above the Village of Sorn just a few miles from Mauchline. It was built as a Keep around 1380/1409 and was then owned by the Keith’s of Galston. In 1598 King James VI visited Sorn Castle to attend a marriage. In 1620 the 3rd Earl of Winton sold Sorn Castle and the estate to Sir John Campbell of Lawers. In 1700 Sir Hugh Campbell, 3rd Earl of Loudoun married Margaret Dalrymple, who had spent considerable time at the Courts of Queen Anne and George I and was a friend of James Boswell who frequently visited Sorn. In 1907 the Castle and the 8000 acre estate was purchased by Thomas W. McIntyre and is now the home and business of James and Jemma McIntyre who inherited the Castle and estate from James’s parents.
Dumfries House is a Palladian country house just 3 Miles from Mauchline . It is located within a large estate, noted for being one of the few such houses with much of its original 18th-century furniture still present, including specially commissioned Thomas Chippendale pieces, the house and estate is now owned in charitable trust by the The Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust, who maintain it as a visitor attraction and hospitality and wedding venue. Both the house and the gardens are listed as significant aspects of Scottish heritage.
The estate and an earlier house was originally called Lochnorris, owned by Craufords of Loudoun. The present house was built in the 1750s for William Dalrymple, 5th Earl of Dumfries, by John Adam and Robert Adam. Having been inherited by the 2nd Marquess of Bute in 1814, it remained in his family until 7th Marquess decided to sell it due to the cost of upkeep.
Due to its significance and the risk of the furniture collection being distributed and auctioned, after three years of uncertainty, in 2007 the estate and its entire contents were purchased for £45m for the country by a consortium headed by HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, including a £20m loan from the Prince’s charitable trust. The intention was to renovate the estate to become self-sufficient, both to preserve it and regenerate the local economy. As well as donors and sponsorship, funding is also intended to come from constructing the nearby housing development of Knockroon, a planned community along the lines of the Prince’s similar venture, Poundbury in Devon.
The house was re-opened in 2008. Since then various other parts of the estate have been re-opened for various uses, to provide both education and employment, as well as funding the trust’s running costs.
Click here for opening times and admission charges: http://www.dumfries-house.org.uk/
Loudoun Castle is situated just outside Galston, a village a few miles to the North-East of Mauchline. The present castle dates, principally, from the 18th century with part of the structure having been built in the 1400′s. It is closed at present.
Royal Dundonald Castle
Situated in rural Ayrshire, against a spectacular coastal backdrop, Dundonald Castle is a monument which stands as testimony, not only to the origins of the Royal Stewart dynasty, but also to the development of the nation of Scotland itself. Having lapsed into obscurity from the 16th Century onwards, Dundonald Castle has experienced something of a renaissance, transformed from a forgotten and neglected ruin into one of Ayrshire’s popular visitor attractions.
Dean Castle Country Park is a fantastic free day out for all the family. The country park, covering over 200 acres, is nestled in the heart of Kilmarnock (8 miles from Mauchline) and offers something for children and adults alike to enjoy. The Country Park boasts beautiful woodland walks, adventure playground, urban farm, visitor centre, tearoom, shop and a fantastic 14th century castle housing world class collections including historic weapons, armour and musical instruments. Explore the park using scenic paths and trails – each season brings with it ever changing plants and wildlife that you might spy along the way. With over 80 hectares of countryside within a very urban area, the park is a great place to get away from the stresses of everyday life and see some fantastic wildlife. Great for picnics!
Culzean Castle, the holiday residence of President Eisenhower. The beautiful 18th -century castle designed by Robert Adam has many interesting features including an Eisenhower exhibition. Culzean was Scotland’s first country park and has been described as ‘the most magnificent in Britain’. it sits on the Clyde Coast some 12 miles south of Ayr with stunning views of Arran and the Ailsa Craig. The park has walks, visitor centres, adventure play areas and guests can enter the impressive castle.
Click here for opening times and admission charges: http://www.nts.org.uk/property/culzean-castle-and-country-park/