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Guided tours give a glimpse into a historic Ayrshire treasure - Rowallan Old Castle

23 June 2009

Bookings are now being taken for the three remaining dates in this summer’s series of guided tours of Rowallan Old Castle, one of Ayrshire’s historic hidden gems.

For more than 400 years, this fine Renaissance property set in beautiful countryside was home to one of the area’s most important and influential families - the Muirs.  They were renowned for their cultural interests and as writers, historians and composers, and indeed, Scotland’s earliest surviving lute music   was written at Rowallan Old Castle.

Visitors to the castle can see evidence of its long history and of the Muir family’s changing tastes through the evolution of the castle from the 13th to the 18th centuries, illustrating many of the changes in architecture through the ages.

The dates and times of the next guided tours, for which pre-booking is essential, are:

  • Saturday 18th July - 10:30am and 1.00pm   

  • Saturday 22nd August - 10:30am and 1.00pm   

  • Sunday 6th September -  10:30am, 1.00pm, and 3.30pm

As there are no parking facilities for visitors at Rowallan Old Castle and development is currently in progress on the Estate, those who have booked to join a guided tour will firstly meet at Dean Castle Visitor Centre.  Following coffee and biscuits and an introductory briefing, they will then be taken by bus to the gatehouse of the Rowallan Estate, from where they will walk up the driveway to the castle itself.  The walk should take around 10 minutes and although the ground is level, stout shoes are recommended.  Although the site is accessible for children, the nature of the tour around this historic site makes it more suitable for those over 10 years of age.  

In total, tours will last approximately 1 ½ hours from leaving the Dean Castle car park to returning there by bus.

The cost of the guided tour (including refreshments and bus) is £3.70 for adults, £3.00 for concessions (visitors over 60 and the unemployed) and £1.85 for children (under 5’s free).

Space for each tour is limited to 20 people.  To book, or for any enquiries, call Tracy Smyth on 0131 550 7603 or tracy.smyth@scotland.gsi.gov.uk.

Peter Yeoman, Historic Scotland Head of Cultural Resources, said: “Rowallan Old Castle is an excellent example of a well-preserved Renaissance courtyard house so it is an important part of the heritage of both Ayrshire and of Scotland. We are delighted to be able to offer special tours of this fascinating historic property and to give visitors an insight into its past and that of the remarkable people who lived there through the centuries.”

Notes for editors

  • Rowallan Old Castle is an imposing property set in beautiful rolling parkland. Its construction style and architectural features show its development through time, from the 13th to the 18th centuries.

  • Excavations on the site have revealed evidence of prehistoric settlement and burial.  Historic Scotland has installed a display on the archaeological finds made during excavations, with objects on loan from East Ayrshire Council.

  • Please note that access to the Rowallan Estate is by prior arrangement only and guided tours must be pre-booked.  

  • Over 345 outstanding heritage properties and sites throughout Scotland are in the care of Historic Scotland.  Ranging from prehistoric dwellings to medieval castles, and from cathedrals to industrial buildings, these include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country. Among the most popular are Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart Castles, Skara Brae, and the Border Abbeys.  For further details visit: www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/places

  • Historic Scotland’s mission is to safeguard Scotland’s historic environment and to promote its understanding and enjoyment.

  • Historic Scotland is delighted to be supporting Scotland’s Homecoming 2009 with a series of initiatives including family trails, spectacular events and the creation of a Homecoming Pass for heritage attractions in association with other heritage organisations.

For further information


Rebecca Hamilton
Marketing and Media Manager
Marketing and Media
0131 668 8685 / 07788 923871
rebecca.hamilton@scotland.gsi.gov.uk