Kelburn Castle - History and Facts | History Hit

Kelburn Castle

Image Credit: Alamy

About Kelburn Castle

Located in Fairlie, North Ayrshire, Scotland, Kelburn Castle is a category A listed building that serves both as the seat of the Earl of Glasgow and his family, and as a tourist attraction. It is one of the oldest castles in Scotland, with original parts of the building dating back to the 13th century.

Today, it is most well-known for its bright and colourful exterior, which was the work of Brazilian graffiti artists in 2007.

History of Kelburn Castle

The Boyle family have owned Kelburn’s land since the 12th century. The castle was probably built in the 13th century and was certainly in existence by the time the Battle of Largs was fought in 1263.

In the late 16th century, a tower house was built, which replaced an earlier tower. In the 17th century, gardens and orchards were added. In 1703, David Boyle was created Earl of Glasgow, and began the new north-west wing of the house, which was completed in around 1722. In 1880, a north-east wing was added.

In 1977, the Earl of Glasgow decided to open the estate to the public, and in 1980, the estate buildings were converted to provide a tearoom, visitor information site and shop.

In 2007, Lord Glasgow was told that he would need to replace the castle’s concrete facing to avoid further damage to the stonework. At his children’s suggestion, he invited four graffiti artists (Nunca, Nina and the Os Gêmeos twins) to decorate the walls. This shot the castle to fame both nationally and internationally.

Kelburn Castle today

Today, the castle is a popular visitor attraction. The interior is open for tours at various points throughout the year. The grounds, Saloon and Adventure Course are free to enter. Charging costs £5 per car. Entry to the secret forest, which includes a maze, a witch’s cottage and a giant’s castle, is £3 per person.

The grounds are open daily 10am-6pm from Easter to October, with shorter hours through the winter.

Getting to Kelburn Castle

By Rail, Largs Station is just 2 miles away. By Bus, the A78 main bus route Greenock to Ayr is closest – the bus stop is adjacent to Kelburn’s main entrance. It is a 40 minute drive from Glasgow.