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18 Jul 2019

Discover what Billy Boyd loves about Culzean Castle

Billy Boyd visits Culzean Castle
Scottish-born star of Lord of the Rings, Billy Boyd, is the latest celebrity to offer their support to the National Trust for Scotland. Billy paid his first visit to Culzean Castle in Ayrshire this spring. Here he shares the top 5 things he loves most about the 600-year-old castle and estate.

1 - The history

A photograph taken at an angle of a portrait of a woman, hanging at Culzean Castle. Part of a chandelier hangs in the foreground.

I was fascinated to learn about the amazing history of Culzean Castle. The Kennedys were true legends of their time and it was amazing to see how they lived. From hearing about how they entertained international guests, and how the vast staff looked after the family’s daily needs, it was engrossing. I was especially intrigued by the hidden caves and the rumoured tales of smuggling – I’d love a sneak peek inside them one day! 

2 - The coastline

Culzean beach, showing the sea in the foreground and looking up to the castle on top of the cliff.

The views from the castle’s Round Room across the Firth of Clyde to Arran are absolutely breath-taking – there’s just no other word for it. I could imagine how impressive those views must’ve been for guests visiting the castle and what an amazing thing for the Kennedys to show off. Outside, the views are equally amazing. I spent some time on the beach when we visited, it was so calm and peaceful – I could’ve just stared out to sea for hours, watching the world go by. 

3 - The woodland walks

Rhododendrons in bloom in the garden at Culzean. The castle stands in the background.

Culzean Castle has miles and miles of woodland walks – everywhere you turn there is something new to explore. Some of the trees are centuries old, and in fact many were brought back to Culzean in the exotic plant-hunting era, so there is such a massive variety to admire. The coastal setting also means that the whole park is relatively sheltered, so even on a dreich day, you are protected from the worst of the weather. 

4 - The beauty of the castle

Culzean Castle seen from the Fountain Court, framed by silhouettes of trees.

This was my first trip to Culzean Castle so I was really gobsmacked when I saw the clifftop castle in all its glory. It’s simply beautiful. I was lucky enough to be given a guided tour by head guide Gordon, who entertained me for hours with many tales of how the Kennedys lived. The castle as we see it now was largely built in the late 1700s and designed by the famous architect Robert Adam. The sweeping oval staircase, turrets, grand armoury and circular rooms all show the Kennedys spared no expense when it came to creating this fairytale castle. Do you know they even created a fallen arch on the castle bridge to make people think the building had more history and heritage than it did! 

5 - The cakes

Scones arranged in three rows on a baking tray, dusted with flour.

Oh my goodness – the cakes were outstanding. After a woodland walk, a trip to the beach and a tour of the castle, a refreshment in the F’oc’sle tearoom was just what we needed. From scones and some of the most delicious tray bakes I’ve ever tasted, we indulged in true Kennedy style.

A glorious estate packed with things to see and do, Culzean Castle is the perfect day out for the whole family. From a tour around the 18th-century castle to a picnic by the Swan Pond or hours of fun in the Adventure Cove playpark, it’s a day well spent.

Visit Culzean Castle and discover what you love about Scotland, while supporting the National Trust for Scotland as it protects and cares for the country’s most treasured places and spaces. 

Visit Culzean Castle

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