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Please note: Dean Castle is currently closed off to the public for renovations until Summer 2021.
In series 2 of Outlander, we see Claire and Jamie visit Jamie’s Grandfather, Lord Lovat, or the Old Fox at Beaufort Castle in the Highlands.
But, what you may not know is that it was actually Dean Castle in Ayrshire!
Just a few miles out of Glasgow, you can find yourself in the Dean Castle Outlander film location.
Here, you can explore the Fox’s Lair castle courtyard where Jamie and Claire stay and also see where Laoghaire confronts Claire.
Here’s a complete guide to the Dean Castle Outlander film set.
Dean Castle History
Dean Castle was the ancestral home of the Boyd Family who were lords of Kilmarnock for over 400 years.
The lands surrounding the castle were gifted by Robert The Bruce in thanks for Sir RobertBoyd’s assistance at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1316. The Castle was then built in 1350 by Sir Thomas Boyd.
The name Dean Castle comes from ‘The Dean’ or the woodland valley in the area but it was previously known as Kilmarnock Castle until turn of the 18th century.
Throughout history, Dean Castle has had a part to play in history with many famous guests including James III of Scotland who married a Boyd Sister. The Covenanters were imprisoned here and Bonnie Prince Charlie who joined forces with the 4th Earl of Kilmarnock.
Robert Burns was also a guest and his close friend, Earl of Glencairn, owned the castle at the time.
The Gatehouse we see today was built in 1935–36. The restoration includes a keep that is four floors and palace.
Today Dean Castle is owned by East Ayrshire Council. It will not reopen to the public until 2021.
Dean Castle & Country Park in Kilmarnock
Of course, it’s sad that the castle is under renovation at the moment. It’s not even like you can SEE the castle at all when you’re here. It’s covered in scaffolding and you can just see a smidge of it over the tops of the covers.
But, there’s far more to explore in Dean Castle Country Park than the Castle. I was surprised to see routes at the park depending on what you wanted to do.
There was the history trail if you wanted to see the Castle, the Motte and Bailey, fort and surroundings. But, there was also a Countryside Trail and a Farm Trail too.
Even, when I parked up in the car park I saw deer and the walk to the Castle was so scenic. You could walk alongside a nice burn and waterfalls. It’s certainly worth leaving some time to explore.
What was the Dean Castle Outlander location?
The Dean Castle Outlander location was featured in Series 2, Episode 8 ‘The Fox’s Lair’.
This is when Claire and Jamie visit his Grandfather, Lord Simon Fraser of Lovat or ‘the Old Fox’ at Beaufort Castle.
This is also where they meet Colum MacKenzie, who has brought Laoghaire in tow. The other Laird’s also meet for council about the Jacobite rebellions and where they stand.
The gates to the castle can be seen when Claire and Jamie ride in and inside, you’ll be able to see the covered courtyard where Jamie thanks Laoghaire.
The wooden keep where Laoghaire apologies to Claire is also here, but it’s uncertain whether this will be open to the public in 2021!
Is it possible to explore Dean Castle before 2021?
Although it is closed, the park was advertising hard hat tours of the castle during renovations on certain days of the month absolutely FREE.
CBC Stone will be hosting tours every 4th Friday of the month from Friday 22nd March 2019. These tours run from 12pm -1pm.
You will need to wear good shoes and hard hats will be supplied. There are only 10 people allowed on the tour.
You will need to call 01563 554300 to ask for a Castle Tour. Next time I visit Scotland, I will try and call for a tour!
Things to do in Dean Castle & Country Park
Yes, Dean Castle is closed but there are still some amazing things to do around the area. It’s 200 acres so there’s something for everyone;
- Take the History Trail – Here, you can visit the Dower House, Motte and Bailey, Fort and stroll past the 14th-century castle.
- Choose the Countryside Trail – to see the riverside, waterfalls and walking trails through the best of the park
- Stroll the Farm Trail – For the Urban Farm Paddocks to see Hebridean Sheep and Lambs, Eriksay Ponies and Gloucestershire Old Spot Pigs!
They also have many events taking place throughout the seasons like illuminations and Summer activities for children. See here for details.
How to get to Dean Castle in Scotland
Dean Castle Country Park is located in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire.
It’s easiest to access the castle by car but there are trains to get you near to a bus stop that takes you outside the park (services 4, X16, X76).
I always use Travel Line Scotland to plan my journey’s. It connects all public transport in the country which really helps!
Dean Castle Opening times, prices & parking
Dean Castle Country Park is open 24 hours a day and is completely FREE to visit. There was loads of parking while I was here and, although there was a sign saying it closed at 8pm, this wasn’t the case.
Entrance to Dean Castle is also FREE when it’s open and the hard hat tours are FREE too. It would make a great addition to a lazy Sunday!
Outlander locations around Dean Castle to visit
Once you’re finished at Dean Castle Country Park, there are plenty more Outlander locations in the area that you can add onto your day out!
You can read my ULTIMATE list of Outlander locations in Scotland here, or read my Outlander in Edinburgh & Outlander in Glasgow guides
Troon is a beach resort only 4 miles away from Glasgow Prestwick Airport. It is famous in Scotland for its romantic coastline, Royal golf courses, family holidays and marina.
We see Troon Beach at the very end of Outlander when Claire, Jamie and Murtagh say farewell to Scotland to board the Christabel.
This is private property but you can book tours in advance. Hunterston House featured in 4 seasons of Outlander as Mrs Baird’s B&B and the Reverend Wakefield’s house.
It was so surreal to wander into the sitting room where the Reverend Wakefield and Frank discuss the Jacobites or enter the Kitchen where Mrs Graham gives a tea reading.
Hunterston House is also the location of Hunterston Castle that is still the seat of Clan Hunter today! It’s well worth a visit and can be found in West Kilbride.
The small coastal village of Dunure in Ayrshire has seen a huge increase of visitors to the town due to Outlander. The town even has a sign on boasting the fact!
Here you can visit the Castle ruins of the Silkies Island where Jamie finds the hidden treasure and the beach where Claire and Jamie see Young Ian kidnapped.
If you head a little further down to Ayr harbour, this is where Jamie and Claire seek passage to Jamaica. In series 4, this is also where Brianna gets a ship to Carolina and Roger followers her later.