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21 Jun 2024

Exploring Culzean Castle

Written by Charlie Cumming
A fountain is seen on a lawn in the foreground of a large blonde sandstone castle
Culzean Castle
Our Digital Marketing Apprentice, Charlie Cumming, writes about her recent visit to Culzean Castle.

I’d never heard of Culzean Castle until I started working with the Trust, but the moment I saw its breathtaking imagery, I knew I had to see it in person. Arriving at the car park, I couldn’t believe our luck with the weather – the sun was shining, the sky was clear, and it was the perfect day to explore this remarkable place. Our visit was a fantastic opportunity for us apprentices to step out of the office and gain insight into the operations of managing a property.

The apprenticeship programme at the Trust is a recent initiative that offers positions within various departments, allowing young people like me to gain valuable skills. While I’m fortunate to work within the digital marketing team, my fellow apprentices have roles within the People team, Procurement team and at Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. I’m thoroughly enjoying my role and have already learned so much, enhanced my confidence and gained experience of working within a professional environment. In my time with the Trust, I’ve been fortunate to visit several properties, including Mackintosh at the Willow and Branklyn Garden. I feel privileged to play a small part in the Trust’s role of preserving these incredible places across Scotland.

I met the other three apprentices, and we started the day by going to the deer park. I was amazed by the number of deer and was even more surprised to see a few llamas. Feeding the animals was so much fun, especially the sassy llamas, who were far less timid than the deer! They provided great entertainment and some fantastic photo opportunities. While at the deer park, we listened to the ranger talk about his role and the work he does at Culzean. It was fascinating to learn how he takes care of the woodland surrounding Culzean – an ongoing project. After that, we walked to the walled garden and met the head gardener. He showed us around the two gardens separated by a wall, explaining how one was a ’pleasure garden’ for entertainment and the other was for growing produce. It was captivating to imagine what the gardens were like in the past.

Finally, it was time to visit the castle – something I’d been looking forward to all day! Despite the grandeur of the building, Culzean’s estate is so vast that you only catch a glimpse of the castle as you draw closer to it. Our tour around the castle was absolutely fascinating. The first room we entered had over 1,000 weapons hanging on the walls. There was even a propeller from a plane that took down a German airship in London during World War I. If you ever have the chance to visit the castle, don’t miss out! The ceilings are true works of art and simply magnificent. And the castle also boasts some stunning paintings, like the portrait of Margaret Erskine of Dun. If you focus on her foot and move to the other side of the room, you’ll see a captivating illusion where it seems like her foot is following you and pointing in your direction no matter where you stand. These are the kinds of interesting facts that our tour guide shared with us, and they really stuck with the visitors. These quirky and unique details about the castle and its collections make it truly memorable.

A grand room with big panel windows with main focus of photo being on the large oak table that is set with a range of fine dishes and cutlery.
The dining room within the castle

My trip to Culzean was fascinating, and I am already eager to return. What sets Culzean apart is its immense size and its wide range of activities for everyone to enjoy.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the various roles that people have on-site and the impact these roles have on the visitor experience and the preservation of the Trust’s historical and natural places. Everyone I have met who works with the Trust seems to be passionate about the cause, and I think that’s why it is such a great place to work.

Explore Culzean Castle

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