Dean Castle Country Park is an excellent free day out for all the family. The Country Park boasts a 14th century castle, beautiful woodland walks, adventure playground, urban farm, visitor centre, tearoom and shop.
Dean Castle & Country Park in Kilmarnock is one of Ayrshire’s most popular and well-loved destinations.
Dean Castle is one of Ayrshire’s best preserved castles and free attractions and was the stronghold of the Boyds, Lords of Kilmarnock, for over 400 years. Their connections with Robert the Bruce made them one of the most powerful families in Scotland. Steeped in history, with world class collections and regularly changing exhibitions, Dean Castle and its estate was gifted to the people of Kilmarnock in the 1970’s by Lord Howard de Walden and has been enjoyed by millions of visitors since. Explore the beautiful country park using scenic paths and trails - each season brings with it ever changing plants and wildlife that you might spy along the way. Explore the History Trail and discover formal gardens, the Pinetum which dates back to 1918, the newly planted arboretum, deer park, Kitchen Garden and Motte and Bailey, thought to be the site of the original Kilmarnock Castle.
With over 80 hectares of countryside within a very urban area, the park is also a great place to get away from the stresses of everyday life and see some fantastic wildlife. Don’t forget to stop off at the urban farm and meet some of the residents - from rabbits and guinea pigs to llamas and donkeys.
Dean Castle & Country Park also offers a fun and varied events programme throughout the year.
In July 2015 Dean Castle & Country Park was awarded £3.34m from Heritage Lottery Fund towards a £4.7m development programme. This ambitious multi-million pound development programme, which is subject to various permissions, will redevelop the whole area to create a 5 star visitor attraction which will encourage visitors to participate in and enjoy our local and natural cultural heritage.
The project consists of 5 elements
Works will begin in September 2016 and are scheduled for completion in the summer of 2017. Please note there will be restricted access to various facilities and parts of the Country Park during this time. Details of these restrictions will be available on the website.
Dean Castle is undergoing renovations to ensure that the roof and stonework last for at least another 700 years. As much as possible is being done to ensure the buildings remain open and collections are on display, but there will unfortunately be some disruption and necessary closures during this time which will affect castle tours. Many items, including the musical instruments, are currently in store or undergoing conservation work. Please check eastayrshireleisure.com for the latest on what’s on display and tour times as well as information on the development plans and events.