Kelburn Castle & Estate, North Ayrshire

Kelburn Castle

I often like to take the opportunity to get out of Edinburgh and head to somewhere a bit random. The latest of these trips took us to Kelburn Castle & Estate over on the west coast at Largs.

Otherwise known as the ‘Graffiti Castle’ due to it being painted by group of Brazilian Street Artists as parts of a project a few years ago, Kelburn is one of the oldest castles in Scotland and has been occupied by the same family for longer than any other.

The Castle itself is closed to the public except on special days (it is someone’s house after all!), but the grounds have plenty to do for children and big kids alike and will keep you occupied for plenty of time on your visit.

We started by walking up past the adventure playground and heading into the Secret Forest which winds up the hill behind the main buildings and contains lots of surprises, including a Gingerbread House, Totem Poles, the Maze of the Green Man and plenty of wild animals!

Adventure PlaygroundAdventure Playground

The Secret ForestEntrance to the Maze of the Green Man

Inside the MazeThe Green ManGingerbread House

Totem PolesWatch out for the Crocodiles!

On the way back down, we passed some goats and a few rather confused-looking alpacas.  You can buy food packets to feed the goats and chickens and they’re happy to tuck into whatever you offer them!

Feeding the AnimalsAlpaca

If this is all a bit too energetic then there are several walks which take you around the estate grounds and the beautiful gardens, or slightly further afield to the Glen and Waterfall Pools; much more tranquil than the madness of the Secret Forest.

Kelburn GardensKelburn GardensWaterfall Pools

Waterfall Pools

Kelburn Castle, Main EntranceKelburn Gardens

There is also a chance to find out a bit of New Zealand history in the small museum which details the 7th Earl of Glasgow’s time as Governor of the country.


After all that activity, food is probably a good idea and if you’ve brought your own; there are plenty of picnic areas. We opted for the coffee shop and enjoyed tea and some pretty tasty tray bakes.

If you’re looking for somewhere a bit different this Summer, then I can thoroughly recommend a visit to Kelburn Castle.