Culzean Castle and Country Park
The first written reference to a Tower House at Culzean dates to the 1400's, although it is possible there was a building here even earlier. Then, it was known as 'Coif Castle', or the 'House of Cove', taking it's name from the caves below. This name was altered to 'Cullean Castle' in the 1600's and the present spelling adopted sometime in the 18th century.
Culzean castle was the constructed as an L Plan Castle by order of David Kennedy, 10th Earl of Cassilis. He instructed the architect Robert Adam to rebuild a previous, but more basic, stately house into a fine castle to be the seat of his earldom. The castle was built in stages between 1777 and 1792. It incorporates a large drum tower with a circular saloon inside (which overlooks the sea), a grand oval staircase and a suite of well-appointed apartments.
In 1945, the Kennedy family gave the castle and its grounds to the National Trust for Scotland (thus avoiding inheritance tax). In doing so, they stipulated that the apartment at the top of the castle be given to General Dwight Eisenhower in recognition of his role as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during the Second World War. The General first visited Culzean Castle in 1946 and stayed there four times, including once while President of the United States. An Eisenhower exhibition occupies one of the rooms, with mementoes of his lifetime.
Culzean Castle perches on the cliff edge above the Firth of Clyde with ever-changing views of Arran and the Ailsa Craig - sometimes they're hiding in the mist, at others, they seem so close that you feel you could reach out and touch them! Culzean is set in a Country Park of over 500 acres. This offers something for everyone with its wooded walks, the Swan Pond, a new (1999) Adventure Playground, Walled Gardens, shoreline, Pagoda (Monkey House), Visitor Centre, shops and restaurants.