On my return journey from Dumfries and Galloway in August, I planned to make Cluzean Country Park, in Ayrshire, my first stop. I have visited Culzean Castle in the past, so decided to spend my time exploring the grounds, before heading to my next port of call, Dumfries House.
I normally avoid popular attractions on good weather days at weekends during the school holidays, but as I was passing and it’s a bit of a long drive from Stirling to Culzean for a day trip. I planned to arrive just after opening time of 10am, in the hope of avoiding the crowds.
As National Trust for Scotland member, I didn’t have to pay the adult entry charge of £11.50 for the country park. If you also wish to visit Culzean Castle, the price is £16.50.
I drove straight to the Walled Garden. I was relieved that the car park and the garden were fairly quiet. I took my flask with me to have a hot drink in the Walled Garden. I found a bench in the shade. The shade was provided by cascade from a flowering bush planted behind the bench.
The large Vinery greenhouse in the Walled Garden was undergoing renovation, which meant that there were ugly no-entry barriers along the front of the structure.
I spent quite a bit of time walking around the garden admiring the flowers, plants and trees.
There was an interesting circular hedge.
The wooden garden house was wallpapered in a botanical theme.
The rockery had a stone arch.
I was amazed that there were no toilet facilities at the Walled Garden. It looked a bit far to walk to the nearest facilities at the Swan Pond, so I drove.
Well it was mobbed there, even the overflow car park was pretty full. There was a wonderful adventure playground for kids and some event laid on by the local commercial radio station.
There was a long queue at the ladies toilet. Since I was in the vicinity, I decided to have a walk around the Swan Pond.
That walk vindicated my usual policy of avoiding popular places at peak periods. The path was quite narrow and crowded.
The cafe at the Swan Pond had a lovely garden.
Next, I walked up to the Pagoda.
There are a few activities for kids inside.
I liked the boat sticker on the window of the Pagoda.
I headed back to the Walled Garden to eat my picnic lunch in the relative peace and quiet. I sat in the same shady seat in the orchard to do some work on my Chromebook.
Then I walked down a path heading south for a coffee from my flask by a small pond.
On the drive to the exit, I stopped at the car park fairly close to the Castle, as according to the map, there were toilets next to the car park. I couldn’t find them, there was only a shut up shop, so I had to walk up to the Castle.
Fountain Court garden, beneath the Castle, was looking beautiful.
There were lots of people sitting on the wall close to the Castle, admiring the sea view. making it hard to take a photo.
There was an art gallery. I had a quick look inside.
There were great views of the sea from the outdoor seating at the Old Stable Coffee House
In the stables, there was a boat carriage.
Again, there was a long queue at the ladies toilet in the castle. No wonder, with one of the two cubicles out of order. I can’t believe that the toilet facilities are so poor at Culzean. At a busy attraction, with a fairly steep admission fee, surely adequate toilet facilities should a priority.
I enjoyed myself at Culzean Country Park so much, (despite the crowds and the woeful toilet facilities), that I ended up spending most of the day there, without even having time to walk down to the beach or visit Home Farm.