It was built as a millionaire’s playground, a sprawling castle and country park packed with unusual and wonderful treasures. Today Culzean Castle stands as the ultimate children’s paradise.

Culzean Castle dominates the coastline in South Ayrshire, a picture book castle standing astride the clifftops. For years it was one of the first and last landmarks on the mainland that ships would see as they journeyed along the Clyde.

There has been a castle on the site since the 16th century, but that original tower has been absorbed within the current building and dwarfed by the ambitions and extravagances of the Kennedy family.

From the late 18th century the building was developed by several generations of the family, each adding to the grounds and property, bringing their own quirks and touches to a centuries’ old project. Now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland, that history and the myriad of objects and features have been brought to life.

Today there are over 40 buildings and secret follies in the country park. There are beaches, woods, parklands, ponds, cliffs and caves. And what might just be the best children’s playparks on the west coast of Scotland - Adventure Cove and Wild Woodland playparks are located near to the swan pond. With soaring towers, treehouses, slides, climbing walls, a mazehouse and zip slides, it’s an adventure for kids of all ages.

You can see why it has become such a popular destination, particularly for families, who simply can’t fit everything into a single visit.

“Culzean can’t be enjoyed in a single day,” said operations manager at Culzean Castle and Country Park, Gareth Clingan. “People come here when we open in the morning and stay all day, until we close in the evening. Even then they don’t scratch the surface.

“There are so many beaches, the walled garden, the Happy Valley woodlands behind the walled gardens - some of which you would never guess were in South Ayrshire.”

The school holidays are the perfect time to visit as Culzean’s 60 Days of Summer programme is tailormade for families. Aside from a daily programme of events and activities, the National Trust for Scotland also offers 100 discounted family tickets every day until August 27. All you have to do is pick your day and book them in advance through

It is also worth checking the Culzean Castle events calendar and timing your visit to include one of their special events. Some carry an additional charge and must also be booked in advance through the National Trust for Scotland website.

But, whisper it, some of them will allow the adults time to explore Culzean on their own, grab a coffee or something to eat at the Home Farm Kitchen or the Castle’s Fo’c’sle tearoom, or even a cone at the Swan Pond Ice Cream Parlour.

Culzean Treasure Trail

Date: From 29th June to 15th September

Time: from 10.30am each day

Some pesky pirates have docked at Culzean’s shore and dropped some treasure around the park on their visit! Throughout the summer pick up your trail map from The Aviary or Home Farm Gift Shop and make your way around the park using your treasure map. Once you’ve found all the coins return your trail to the starting point to receive your pirate’s sticker. All who complete the trail will be entered into a prize draw for the chance to WIN a pirate themed hamperrrrrrr! £2 per trail plus normal admission price.

Water World

Date: Thursday August 9

Time: 10.30am – 3.30pm

For children aged between 7-12, the brilliant Culzean Park Rangers will show you what lives in the ponds and burns, trying out some water experiments and help you launch your own leaf boat. Just make sure you wear weather-appropriate clothing, wellies and bring a rucksack and packed lunch.

Culzean Dog Jamboree

Dates: August 10 and 11

Time: 10am – 4pm

The best day out in Scotland for dogs – and their humans! There are Dog Water Sports, a Fun Dog Show, Dog Agility Course, Doggy Dash, Dog Market and much, much more. You can even do a 5K Jog with your Dog. It’s free to National Trust for Scotland members while standard admission fees apply to non-members.

Nature Nippers - Teddy Bears’ Picnic

Date: Thursday August 29

Time: Morning session 10.15–11.15am or afternoon session 1–2pm

Children aged 5 years can bring their best furry friend and their grown-up to make their own wee bear den, go on a bear hunt and finish with a picnic, story and some songs.

Join the Junior Rangers

Dates: Throughout the summer holidays

Time: times vary, contact the property for details

Help your kids discover the amazing wildlife and nature in the grounds of Culzean Castle by signing them up to the Culzean Junior Rangers Club which runs throughout the summer holidays. Each meeting is an exciting chance to explore the beach, ponds, woods and history through fun games, trails, quizzes and crafts. Groups are led by expert Rangers who can inspire children with a host of fascinating facts and historic stories about the area.

Less than an hour’s drive from Glasgow, Culzean Castle offers the perfect place to make summer memories for the whole family. Remember to check prices and opening times and book your tickets in advance online.

By visiting Culzean Castle you are helping the National Trust for Scotland to protect Scotland’s national and natural treasures. So why not organise your visit at one of Scotland’s most beautiful and activity packed spots now – it’s sure to be a trip to remember.

To plan your day or find out more about local events visit: Garry – please could you use this link in the online version so we can track the traffic.


The National Trust for Scotland is the charity that celebrates and protects Scotland’s heritage. It relies on the support of its members and donors to carry out its important work of caring for the natural and built heritage of Scotland for everyone to enjoy.

Every day, the hundreds of thousands of members, donors, volunteers and staff at the charity help to protect Scotland’s natural and national treasures for us all to enjoy. From coastlines to castles, art to architecture, wildlife to wildernesses, we do what we do… for the love of Scotland. Join us at

We protect:

• 8 National Nature Reserves,

• 38 gardens and designed landscapes,

• 46 majestic Munros,

• 400 islands and islets,

• 26 castles and great houses,

• 300,000 precious artefacts,

• 76,000 hectares of countryside.

In the next five years, we’re aiming to:

• Spend £57 million improving the visitor experience and condition of heritage in our care

• Increase annual visitor numbers to more than 5 million

• Grow membership to more than 490,000

• Increase donations to more than £10 million, and

• Create active learning experiences for more than 100,000 people of all ages and backgrounds every year.

From coastlines to castles, art to architecture, wildlife to wilderness, we encourage people to connect with the things that make Scotland unique while protecting them for future generations.