History

Culzean Castle originally belonged to the Kennedys, an ancient Scottish family descended from Robert the Bruce. There was a stone tower house here in the 16th century, and various Kennedys over the centuries made their mark on the castle with improvements and alterations.

But it wasn’t until the 1770s that it started to become the grand country seat it is today. David Kennedy, 10th Earl of Cassillis and a peer in the House of Lords, commissioned famed Scottish architect Robert Adam to design and build a castle that reflected the family’s status and wealth.

It was a no-expense-spared project, but neither Kennedy nor Adam survived to see the castle completed as they both died within months of each other in 1792, shortly before the castle was completed.

A new phase of works started in 1877 under the 3rd Marquess. Edinburgh architects Wardrop & Reid were employed to make further improvements to the castle in keeping with Adam’s style, including the additional three-storey west wing and a newly designed entrance.

In 1945, when the castle was passed to the National Trust for Scotland, the top floor was converted into a flat for use by General Eisenhower, as a gesture for America’s support during the Second World War.

General Eisenhower visited on four occasions including while president of the United States of America. These same rooms are now a country house hotel and you too can stay where the president himself stayed. There are also a number of holiday cottages available in the country park.