Hunterston Castle with Bluebells
Hunterston Castle old staircase
The tower is the oldest section dating from the 13th century. We do not know the exact year of original construction but it likely replaced an earlier wooden structure.
There is no protective moat around the building as it was surrounded by an adjacent area of marshland that was drained in the 1820s by the 25th laird to create arable farmland.
Residents would have climbed a ladder from the barrel-vaulted basement and been able to restrict access by closing a trapdoor still visible in the ceiling.
The living room of the tower provided an area for undertaking estate business, eating and staying warm in winter with heat from the large fireplace rising up the narrow stair to the rooms above.
The steps up through what was the main entrance to the tower would have been blocked with a heavy door to provide security for the residents inside. One of the hinges for this is still in place. There is an example of a simple medieval toilet facility or Garde Robe, in this room beside the basement trapdoor.
Other household activities such as cooking, laundry and brewing took place in other buildings outside of the pele tower.
The shared family bedroom gives the visitor an idea of the living conditions of the period. The basic garde robe in the alcove would have been similar to that in the living room downstairs.
The attic provides an adaptable space with access through a small door to the parapet where men at arms would defend the building. Visitors may walk around this outside area safely and imagine living in this building so many years ago.
The Baronial Hall on the south side of the tower dates from the 15th century and is a good example of a home extension. The external circular staircase was built at the same time.
The Hall has a restored fireplace with the Hunter coat of arms above the mantelpiece. The family’s replica Hunterston Brooch and a copy of our oldest document “The Charter’ are on display here.
Hunterston Castle Great Hall
Above the Hall is an attic area that has been converted into our Clan meeting room. On the wall prominently displayed is a plaque where recipients of the award Order of the Royal Huntsman are inscribed. This recognises those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Clan Hunter through time and commitment since the society was set up in 1983.
Visits to Hunterston Castle must be made by appointment. Unlock the secrets of the Castles and its grounds by booking a tour with our knowledgeable professional guide. To book online go to Book a visit. Check out our What’s nearby, Accessibility and Visitor Information pages to get the most out of your trip.
Hunterston Castle Fire Place
Hunterston Castle Bedroom
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You will find us off the A78 just north of West Kilbride. Look for our driveway marked by stone pillars and "Hunterston Estate"
Hunterston KA23 9QG
Telephone: 07980 209060
*This number is not continuously manned, so please do leave us a message.
OPENING TIMES AND ACCESS
Acccess to Hunterston Castle is strictly by appointment. Note that as a historic monument, wheel chair access is limited. More visitor information is available on our visitors page . Please email us to arrange a visit.