Dean Castle Country Park

History & Heritage
Arts & Culture, Buildings, Nature & Animals, Outdoor Activities, Parking, Parks & Gardens, Museums & Exhibitions
Dean Castle Country Park is a fantastic free day out for all the family.
About Dean Castle Country Park
The country park, covering over 200 acres, is nestled in the heart of Kilmarnock and offers something for the whole family to enjoy.
Drop into the Visitor Centre to relax in the Treehouse Café while enjoying views over the country park. The Cafe is open daily from 09.30am - 3.30pm, Mon - Sat and 10.30am - 4.30pm on Sundays.
Visit the Rural Life Centre where you can learn more about sustainable living and enjoy some beautiful woodland walks, learning more about the history of the estate and spotting local wildlife along the way.Children can run wild in the adventure playground and explore the Urban Farm to meet our farm animals. Inspired by the 14th century castle and it's surroundings,the Adventure Play Space has been designed to encourage freedom, choice and excitement within a natural setting and is deliberately different from the urban playparks throughout Kilmarnock. An annual calendar of events take place too!

Dean Castle is currently undergoing renovation and restoration and will re-open in Spring 2023.

It was the historical stronghold of the Boyd Family, who were lords of Kilmarnock for more than four centuries. In the 18th century, William Boyd, 4th Earl of Kilmarnock, was a Scottish peer who joined the 1745 Jacobite Rising; he was captured at Culloden and subsequently executed for treason on Tower Hill. Legend holds that the 4th Earl's head was transported back to Dean Castle after his beheading in London in 1746 and was stored in a large chest which is still present in the Laigh Tower. As such, many ghost hunters have scrupulously combed and studied the castle and have concluded there is a paranormal presence. The Keep, dates from around 1350 and the Palace from the 15th century. The Palace was spectacularly rebuilt from ruins by the 8th Lord Howard de Walden in the 1930s. The Castle possesses strong historical connections with many people and events famous in Scottish history. Robert the Bruce who bequeathed the Boyds these lands; James III of Scotland whose sister married a Boyd; the Covenanters, some of whom were imprisoned here; Bonnie Prince Charlie, whose Jacobite rebellion was joined by the aforementioned William Boyd; and Robert Burns who was encouraged to publish his poetry by the Earl of Glencairn who owned the Castle at the time.

The Castle will house a collection of historic musical instruments cared for by East Ayrshire Leisure Trust on behalf of East Ayrshire Council featuring lutes, guitars, harpsichords, recorders, pianos and harps and boasts one of the earliest violins in existence - an English Renaissance violin made by the Bassano family which dates from between 1550 and 1580.The significance and quality of some of the musical instruments has been compared to those found in the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. However, to see the latest Recognised Collection of National Significance you only need to go as far as Dean Castle in Kilmarnock!
Key Features
Pets Welcome
accessible_forward local_parking
Accessible Parking
More like Dean Castle Country Park
Baby Changing Facilities
Outdoor Play Area
Lunch Available
Picnic Area
Transport and Parking
Coach Parking
Electric Car charging
On Public Transport Route
Taxi rank nearby
Payment Methods
Debit Card
Pets Welcome
Town Location
Accessible parking or drop-off point
Accessible toilets
Partial wheelchair access
Ramp to main entrance