Castles, Ruins & Historical Places


Culzean Castle and Country Park – approx 23 miles from Ballantrae

  • Situated in the midst of a 600-acre estate is one of Scotland’s greatest castles. Widely considered to be one of Robert Adam’s final masterpieces it has been restored to its former glory and makes a fantastic day out.
  • See for more details. Open daily from April-October and open weekends in other months.

Dumfries House – approx 45 miles from Ballantrae

  • A magnificent stately home with sumptuous interiors and wonderful furnishings, including a huge collection of Chippendale furniture, situated within 2000-acres. Recently purchased for the nation by HRH Prince of Wales. 
  • See for more details.

Blairquhan Castle – approx 32 miles from Ballantrae

  • A Regency castle situated in a charming estate beside the River Girvan.
  • See for more details.

Dundonald Castle –approx 44 miles from Ballantrae

  • Situated on a hill with spectacular views of Ayrshire.
  • See for more details. Open daily from April-November.


Dunure Castle – approx 30 miles from Ballantrae

  • Just south of Ayr, the ruins of this castle stand on a rocky lip on the Carrick coast. Mary, Queen of Scots, was said to have stayed here for a few days in 1563.

Dunskey Castle – approx 25 miles from Ballantrae

  • The ruins of a supposedly haunted 16th century tower house just south of Portpatrick. There is a good cliff-top walk to the castle from the south end of Portpatrick.

Ardstinchar Castle – in the village

  • The ruins of the castle that was built in 1421 above Ballantrae. In 1770 the stones from the ruined castle were used to build the old bridge over the River Stinchar.

Glenluce Abbey – approx 25 miles from Ballantrae

  • Founded in 1192 in this secluded valley you can see why the Cisterian monks settled here. A peaceful location with well-preserved fragments of this former Abbey.
  • See glenluceabbey for more details. Open April-October.

Crossraguel Abbey – approx 27 miles from Ballantrae

  • Founded by the Earl of Carrick in the 13th century the remains include the church, cloister, chapter house and domestic buildings.
  • See crossraguel for more details. Open April-October.


Ailsa Craig

  • This is the granite island that you can see from Ballantrae, where blue hone granite is quarried to make curling stones. It is an uninhabited island which was formed from the volcanic plug of an extinct volcano. 
  • It is a bird sanctuary famous for its gannets and an increasing number of puffins. There is an interesting array of flora on the island with a couple of rare plants being sited.
  • Boat trips both to and round the island are possible as well as fishing trips. See for more details.

Sawney Bean’s Cave – just north of Ballantrae

  • The tale of Sawney Bean the cannibal evolved from this cave where he set up home after running away from Edinburgh.
  • See for the full legend.

Robbie Burns Birthplace Museum – approx 32 miles from Ballantrae

  • See the cottage where Robbie Burns was born and the most important collection of his life and works.
  • See burnsmuseum for more details. Open daily apart from Christmas & New Year bank holidays.

Robbie Burns House Museum – approx 44 miles from Ballantrae

  • For an authentic Burns experience, go to Mauchline and visit the house where Robbie & Jean began married life. Robbie lived and worked here between 1784 and 1788 and many original manuscripts and objects from his life are on display.
  • See burnshousemuseum for more details. Open Tuesday – Saturday.

The Whithorn Story Visitor Centre – approx 45 miles from Ballantrae

  • Discover about Whithorn’s early Christian past.
  • See for more details. Open April-October.

Castle of St John, Stranraer – approx 17 miles from Ballantrae

  • A medieval tower house built around 1500. 
  • Open June – September