Culzean Castle

Culzean Castle is a castle near Maybole, Carrick, on the Ayrshire coast of Scotland. It is the former home of the Marquess of Alisa, the chief of Clan Kennedy, but is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland. The clifftop castle lies within the Culzean Castle Country Park and is opened to the public. Since 1987, an illustration of the castle has featured on the reverse side of five pound notes issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland. Culzean Castle was constructed as an L-plan castle by order of the 10th Earl of Cassilis. He instructed the architect Robert Adam to rebuild a previous, but more basic, structure into a fine country house to be the seat of his earldom.

Culzean Castle, Ayrshire, Scotland

                                             Culzean Castle, Ayrshire, Scotland

The castle was built in stages between 1777 and 1792. It incorporates a large drum tower with a circular saloon inside (which overlooks the sea), a grand oval staircase and a suite of well-appointed apartments.

In 1945, the Kennedy family gave the castle and its grounds to the National Trust for Scotland (thus avoiding inheritance tax). In doing so, they stipulated that the apartment at the top of the castle be given to General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower in recognition of his role as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during the Second World War. The General first visited Culzean Castle in 1946 and stayed there four times, including once while President of the United States. An Eisenhower exhibition occupies one of the rooms, with mementoes of his lifetime.

The castle re-opened in April 2011 after a refurbishment funded by a gift in the will of American millionaire William Lindsay to the National Trust for Scotland. Lindsay, who had never visited Scotland, requested that a significant portion of his $4 million go towards Culzean. Lindsay was reportedly interested in Eisenhower’s holidays at the castle.

Culzean Castle received 220,000 visitors in 2013, making it the National Trust for Scotland’s second-most popular property.

Culzean Castle and gardens

Culzean Castle and gardens

To the north of the castle is a bay containing the Gas House, which provided town gas for the castle up until 1940. This group of buildings consists of the Gas Manager’s house (now containing an exhibition on William Murdoch), the Retort House and the remains of the gasometer.

There are sea caves beneath the castle which are currently not open generally, but are open for tours throughout the summer.

Culzean Castle is used as the castle of Lord Summersisle (played by Christoper Lee) in the 1973 cult film The Wicker Man. The scenes here were filmed in February 1972.
Culzean Castle was featured in the PBS documentary series
Castles of Scotland in 1997.

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Dunure Castle

Ayrshire is one of my favourite destinations and I strongly recommend visiting the ruins of the castle and Ayrshire in general. When I saw this very old castle for the first time and the place itself I was very impressed. The beautiful beach is full of rocks and there is also a tiny harbour. Additionally, the landscape on the way to Ayrshire is stunning. The best time to come is in the early morning on Spring or Summer day, of course I mean sunny day, which is not that easy in Scotland but to make an effort and get up in the early morning to get there, is worthwhile. The light of the rising sun seen on the fields and hills with the sheep and the sea behind them is breathtaking. I was there many times but only once in the early morning and that was the best time ever.

Dunure Castle is located on the west coast of Scotland, in South Ayrshire, about 5 miles south of Ayr and close to the village of Dunure. Today the castle stands in ruins on a rocky promontory on the Carrick coast, overlooking the small harbour of Dunure.

The site dates from the late 13th century; the earliest charter for the lands dating from 1256, but the remains of the building are of 15th- and 16th-century origin. One tradition is that the castle was built by the Danes and another states that the Mackinnons held the castle from Alexander III as a reward for their valour at the Battle of Largs.

Dunure Castle

Dunure Castle

The castle is the point of origin of the Kennedys of Carrick, who once ruled over much of south western Scotland and were granted the lands in 1357. Sir James Balfour described Dunure as a grate and pleasand stronge housse, the most ancient habitation of the surname of Kennedy, Lairds of Dunure, now Earles of Cassiles.

The Celtic name Dunure or Dunoure is said to derive from the “hill” or “fort of the yew tree”.

The castle consisted of two distinct parts; a keep of an irregular shape on the top of a precipitous rock and other buildings at a lower level. The keep walls are about five feet thick and the vaults on the basement are well preserved, however most of the superstructure is entirely demolished. The keep represents the original castle, much altered. The central portion of the castle may be 15th century and was intended to form a defence to the access into the keep. The additional buildings are of a later date and contain two kitchens on the ground level, one for the castle and the other for the retainers. To the north-east stands a detached wall which may have led to a gateway. A drawbridge may have stood nearby and the chapel may have been located against the thick wall of the central part of the castle. A moat or fosse protected the approach and a wall may have also existed.

Beneath the castle is a cavern, called the Browney’s Cave which may have been a sally-port; a secret tunnel leading to the castle.

Ruins of Dunure Castle, Scotland

Ruins of Dunure Castle, Scotland

In 1429 a meeting took place at Dunure between James Campbell, representing King James I of Scotland and John Mor MacDonald, representing the Lord of the Isles. Violence broke out and MacDonald was killed. James I’s efforts to contain the outrage of the Lords of the Isles by executing Campbell did not prevent a subsequent uprising by them. For three days from 4 August 1563, Mary, Queen of Scots, stayed at Dunure Castle on her Royal tour down the west coast to Glenluce Abbey then on to Whithorn Priory. She was the guest of Gilbert Kennedy, the 4th Earl of Cassilis.


The castle has been excavated and consolidated, making safe the public access to the area. The castle dominates the Kennedy Park, which has a number of facilities for visitors. There are also said to be secret Ley tunnels which connect Dunure Castle to Greenan Castle further north.

Stirling, ‘Brave Heart of Scotland’

Stirling is a city in central Scotlandclustered around a large fortress and medieval old-town. Stirling is the administrative centre for the Stirling council area, and is traditionally the county town of Stirlingshire.
The city is located several kilometres to the west of the mouth of the
River Forth. Historically it was strategically important as the “Gateway to the Highlands”, with its position near the Highland Boundary Fault between the Scottish Lowlands and Highlands, indeed, it has been described as the brooch which clasps the Highlands and the Lowlands together.

Stirling Castle with Scotsmen

Stirling Castle with Scotsmen

Its historical position as the nearest crossing of the Forth to the river mouth meant that many of its visitors were in fact invaders. The beast of Stirling is the wolf, which it shares with Rome. According to legend, when Stirling was under attack from Viking invaders, a wolf howled, alerting the townspeople in time to save the town. It is also claimed that the last wolf in Scotland was killed in Stirling.

Once the capital of Scotland, Stirling contains the Great Hall (restored 1999) and the Renaissance Palace (restoration completed 2011) within the Castle that rivalled any building in Europe at the time. Stirling also has its medieval parish church, The Church of the Holy Rude, where King James VI was crowned King of Scots on 29 July 1567. The Holy Rude still functions as a living church with a service every Sunday.

Stirling is a centre for local government, higher education, retail, and industry. In 2012, the population of the City was 45,750. The wider Stirling council area has a population of 89,850. The majority of the population is located in its southeast corner, in the City of Stirling and in the surrounding area.

Streets of City of Stirling with W. Wallace statue at The Athenaeum, King Street

   Streets of City of Stirling with W. Wallace statue at The Athenaeum, King Street

One of the principal royal strongholds of the Kingdom of Scotland, Stirling was created a Royal burgh by King David in 1130, which it remained until 1975, when the burgh as an administrative unit was abolished.
In 2002, as part of
Queen Elizabeth II‘sGolden Jubilee, Stirling was granted city status.

Top attraction in Stirling is The National Wallace Monument (generally known as the Wallace Monument), a tower standing on the summit of Abbey Craig, a hilltop near Stiling. It commemorates Sir William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish hero.

In 1996 Tom Church carved a statue of Wallace called “Freedom” and inspired by the film Braveheart. It has the face of Mel Gibson, the actor that played William Wallace in the film. Church leased the statue to Stirling Council, who in 1997 installed it in the car park of the visitor centre at the foot of the craig. The statue was deeply unpopular with local people and was regularly vandalised before being placed in a cage to prevent further damage.

Dundee, ‘One City, Many Discoveries’

Dundee is officially the City of Dundee, is the fourth-largest city in Scotland by population. At the 2011 census, it had a population density of 3,298 people per square kilometre, the second highest of any Scottish city. It lies within the eastern central Lowlands on the north bank of the Firth of Tay, which feeds into the North Sea.
The town developed into a burgh
in medieval times, and expanded rapidly in the 19th century largely due to the jute industry. This, along with its other major industries gave Dundee its epithet as city of “jute, jam and journalism”.

Today, Dundee is promoted as ‘One City, Many Discoveries’ in honour of Dundee’s history of scientific activities and of the RRS Discovery, Robert Falcon Scott‘s Antarctic exploration vessel, which was built in Dundee and is now berthed in the city harbour. Biomedical and technological industries have arrived since the 1980s, and the city now accounts for 10% of the United Kingdom’s digital-entertainment industry.
In December 2014; Dundee was named the first city in the United Kingdom to hold the UNESCO City of Design status by the United Nations.

Dundee has two universities- the University of Dundee and the Abertay University. In 2014 Dundee was recognised by the United Nations as the UK’s first UNESCO City of Design for its diverse contributions to fields including medical research, comics and video games.

Visitors wishing to orient themselves should consider taking a walk (or drive) up the Law, Dundee which offers a 360-degree uninterrupted view of Dundee, the Firth of Tay and the Tay Bridge, famously replacing the bridge demolished after the disaster of 1879, and the Tay Road Bridge.

Dundee’s principal concert auditorium, the Caird Hall (named after its benefactor, the jute baron James Key Caird) in the City Square regularly hosts the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Various smaller venues host local and international musicians during Dundee’s annual Jazz, Guitar and Blues Festivals. The Dundee Contemporary Arts, which opened in 1999 in the city’s cultural quarter, is home to both an art gallery and art house cinema. Dundee is also known for The Dandy and The Beano– a long-running children’s comics.

Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland

Come to see this beautiful city with specific atmosphere, unique, historical architecture and wonderful smiling Scottish people. 

Edinburgh Castle and Princess Street Gardens

Edinburgh Castle and Princess Street Gardens.  To see the original image click on it. 

To see many more images of Edinburgh check my stock travel photography website here 

Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, situated in Lothian on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth. It is the second most populous city in Scotland and the seventh most populous in the United Kingdom. Edinburgh lies at the heart of a larger urban zone with a population of 778,000.

The city is also the annual venue of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and home to many national institutions such as theNational Museum of Scotland, the National Library of Scotland and theScottish National Gallery. Edinburgh’s relatively buoyant economy, traditionally centred on banking and insurance but now encompassing a wide range of businesses, makes it the biggest financial centre in the UK after London. Many Scottish companies have established their head offices in the city.

Edinburgh is rich in associations with the past and has many historic buildings, including Edinburgh Castle and an extensive Georgian New Town built in the 18th century. Edinburgh’s Old Town and New Town are jointly listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city has long been known abroad as a centre of education, particularly in the fields of medicine, Scots law, the sciences and engineering.
The
University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583 and now one of four in the city, was placed 17th in the QS World University Rankings in 2014.
The city is also famous for the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe, the latter being the largest annual international arts festival in the world.
In 2004 Edinburgh became the world’s first UNESCO
City of Literature, an accolade awarded in recognition of its literary heritage and lively literary activities in the present.
The city’s historical and cultural attractions, together with an annual calendar of events aimed primarily at the tourist market, have made it the second most popular tourist destination in the United Kingdom after London, attracting over one million overseas visitors each year.