Culzean Castle - The American Connection
The top floor apartment of Culzean Castle was presented to General Eisenhower in 1945 in recognition of his role during World War II – a thank you from Scotland. Today that apartment is rented to paying guests by the National Trust for Scotland, who received the castle from the 5th Marquess of Ailsa and the Kennedy family in 1945.
Culzean, a magnificent eighteenth-century castle in Maybole South Ayrshire, is just twelve miles from Ayr and Prestwick. It stands majestically like a medieval castle on a cliff above the Firth of Clyde. Culzean was originally a rambling fortified L-shaped tower house dating from 1590. When it was inherited by David Kennedy, 10th Earl of Cassillis, he appointed Robert Adam to convert the old fashioned fortress into a grand and romantic castle in prevailing style.
Adam worked on it from 1777 and 1792 and created a masterpiece. It includes a large drum tower with a beautiful red circular saloon inside, overlooking the sea and the Isle of Arran. He added battlemented towers and turrets to complete the aura created by its cliff-top location. Its grand oval staircase and exquisitely furnished rooms are in a pristine condition even today. Visitors can enjoy its fine collection of paintings and furniture and its Armory displaying flintlock pistols and swords.
The castle stands on five hundred acres of formal gardens, beautiful wooded countryside and pleasant walking paths. The terraced gardens have charming follies and a walk on the estate reveals gems like the Camellia House, pagoda, Adam’s ruined arch and the ‘Roman’ viaduct. One can wander through the Deer Park or the Cliff Walk or admire the Fountain Court, the Walled Garden and the Victorian Vinery. Surrounded by the sea, Culzean Castle has inviting sandy beaches open to picnickers.
The Swan Pond is the perfect spot for a family picnic and there is an adventure playground. The Home Farm offers plants and produce, and has a pleasant restaurant. The castle is available for weddings and formal functions and Eisenhower’s apartment makes a perfect romantic honeymoon suite.