Dean Castle Development Plans

East Ayrshire Council, supported by East Ayrshire Leisure, were recently awarded £1.5M from Heritage Lottery Fund towards the restoration and modernisation of Dean Castle.

On the 28 January 2018, Dean Castle will close permanently until 2020 to allow major repair and refurbishment works to be carried out. During February and March the Castle's collections of early musical instruments, arms and armour and tapestries will be brought to the Dick Institute for safe-keeping and display. A series of events, workshops and recitals have been planned to allow visitors to view the collections. The display will change and develop over time as the collections are made ready to return to Dean Castle when it reopens in 2020. Due to the scale of the move, exhibits are expected to be on display at the Dick Institute from April 2018.

The Visitor Centre and café will be open as normal 10am-4pm Wed-Sun.

The project, due to run between 2018 and 2021, has a total cost of £5.2M, with funding of £500K also secured from Historic Environment Scotland, and the remainder coming from East Ayrshire Council.

The funding will allow essential stonework restoration to the external fabric of the castle buildings to be carried out, alongside the internal modernisation and redisplay of our world class museum collections and exhibition areas.

The funding will also support a range of apprenticeship and learning programmes around the stonework restoration and collection conservation aspects of the project. Alongside the £3.4M awarded from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2015 to develop the Dean Castle Country Park, the aim is to create a fully integrated, five star visitor attraction that encourages many more people to visit the Castle to enjoy and learn from its fascinating heritage, bringing economic benefit to the area.

The redevelopment of the castle interior will open up areas which are not currently accessible to the public and the Courtyard will become a hub for activities and orientation. 

Two new exhibition areas will be created on the ground floor, where a changing programme of objects from across our museum collections will be shown and the internationally famous Musical Instrument collection will be re-homed in new cases, housed in the Banqueting Hall.

For the duration of the main works the most important collections will be removed to the Dick Institute, Kilmarnock, to be displayed and conserved ready for their return to the Castle and their redisplay.

For the most up-to-date details about this exciting project and ways to get involved click on the Development Project outline opposite.

Would you like to volunteer for the project? Take the survey below.