As we start to gradually gain some normality back into our lives and visit new places, it is difficult to know what to expect. To make it easier for our visitors, we’ve compiled this handy guide that will take you through the entire process from booking to what to expect when you visit us at Dundonald Castle and Visitor Centre.
Please note, that if you are only interested in viewing the grounds and walking around castle hill without going inside the castle, you DO NOT need to book admission tickets. The grounds of Dundonald Castle are always accessible to the public.
Dundonald Castle is located at the top of a steep hill. Although there is a weatherproof and non-slip pathway, this may not be suitable for those with limited mobility. If you are unsure, please get in touch with us.
New Visitor Centre measures during Covid-19 Outbreak
New Castle measures during Covid-19 Outbreak
The Booking Process
Due to restrictions in place on the number of people we can allow inside the castle as a time, we are asking our visitors to pre-book their visit. This can be easily done through our website by following this link: Admission Tickets
You will find options for all of our admissions tickets including FODC members and Historic Scotland members. Please note that you will have to show proof of your membership on arrival.
The booking process will ask you to pick a date and time for your visit. You are expected to arrive outside the castle doors for the start of your time slot.
We are restricting the amounts of visitors allowed into the castle to minimise your contact with other family groups. If you are unable to attend your selected time slot, please get in touch with us as soon as possible so we can let our team and other visitors know.
For now you can only book a slot at Dundonald Castle if your group is from 1 Household only.
- For our visitors to the castle, please arrive for your visit 15 minutes before your selected time. There is a steep hill you will have to walk up to get into the castle proper.
- Please note that there is a small car park located on the site, however, this does fill up quite quickly and you may have to park somewhere safely in the village and walk to the site from there.
- Your tickets will be checked in the castle and not by our Visitor Centre staff so feel free to head straight up castle hill when you arrive.
- Your time slot is your allocated time inside the castle – please arrive with plenty of time. You are free to explore the rest of the site outwith your booked time slot.
- A member of our team will meet you at the main door to the castle and check your tickets. These can be shown on your phone or you can print out the confirmation email if you would prefer. You will also be asked to show your membership cards at this point, if applicable.
We estimate that your visit inside Dundonald Castle will last approximately 1 hour.
- If you arrive more than 10 minutes after your time slot, we may not be able to guarantee you entry. This is due to the social distancing measures we have in place. If you are running late, you can call us and let us know by phoning 01563 851489. We will do our best to fit you in.
- After your visit inside Dundonald Castle, you are free to explore the grounds and pop into the Visitor Centre for some refreshments at your leisure.
- To help keep our visitors and team members safe, please follow social distancing and government guidance throughout your visit. Our friendly team will be on hand to help and answer any questions you may have.
- If you’re showing any of the symptoms of coronavirus, or if you’ve been in contact with anyone that has the virus in the last 14 days, please do not visit us. You can call or email us for a full refund should you, or a member of your group, be presenting any symptoms before your visit.
Historic Environment Scotland – Minimum Operating Standards
- Our team at the Friends of Dundonald Castle SCIO have been working together with Historic Environment Scotland to make the reopening of Dundonald Castle as safe for everyone as we can. These standards can be found by following this link: https://www.historicenvironment.scot/archives-and-research/publications/publication/?publicationId=15ae5b0d-9b05-4223-ae67-abec00ba415a
- What are your opening hours?
We are reviewing our opening hours regularly to meet the demand by our visitors. Just now we are opening Thursday-Tuesday 11am-4pm. We are currently closed on Wednesdays. For the latest updates, check out our social media.
- How do I get in touch if I have a query about my visit or the booking process?
You can call us on 07939446855 between the hours of 10am-6pm. or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org where a member of our team will respond as quickly as they can. You can also contact us through our socia media pages. Please note that our team are working on a reduced basis.
- What facilities are open at Dundonald Castle?
During opening hours, all of our facilities including the Visitor Centre Cafe, Exhibition and Toilets will be open to the public. There may be a few restrictions in place, such as queuing, to ensure a safe environment for our visitors and team members. You can always contact us prior to your visit if you have any specific requirements and we will do our best to help. Please note that our Exhibition area is currently being used as an overspill for our cafe and entry may not be possible. Please ask a member of staff for more information on the day of your visit.
- Do you accept Historic Scotland Memberships?
Yes we do. Although the site is run on a daily basis by the Friends of Dundonald Castle SCIO, the castle is held in guardianship by Historic Environment Scotland. We work in partnership to bring the best experience to all of our visitors. If you are a Historic Scotland member, you will have to bring along proof of your membership to gain free entry to the castle. We also ask that you use our online booking facility to pre-book your admission tickets.
- What new measures have you put in place due to Covid-19?
There are many different measures we have put in place to help keep our team and visitors safe including: social distancing, enhanced cleaning regimes and asking our team and visitors to wear masks where possible. We are regularly reviewing and implementing the guidance from Scottish Government and local authorities to ensure we are consistently meeting best practice.
- Can we bring a picnic?
Of course! Please bring along your own picnic should you wish and you can take full advantage of the views from the top of castle hill. Please note that we do not have picnic tables available and so you will have to bring your own blanket/chairs. We also ask that you are considerate of other visitors by keeping your distance and that you dispose of all of your rubbish responsibly. Our cafe offers some refreshments too should you wish to add a special sweet treat or hot drink to your picnic!
- Do you have parking facilities?
There is a small car park located on the site. This car park is free to park in, but tends to fill up quickly so please be mindful of this when you are arriving for your visit. There are also places to park on the main street in Dundonald but please park here responsibly and safely.
- I don’t have access to the internet, how can I pre-book?
Our team will be happy to help if you give us a call on 01563 851489.
- Do I have to print my tickets?
No, you can show us your booking confirmation email on your phone.
- Does my carer need to book a ticket?
During the booking process please select the ‘Carer’ option so that our team are aware. The person visiting with the carer will still have to purchase a ticket.
- What happens if people turn up without pre-booking?
Unfortunately we will not be able to guarantee entry to the castle. You will still be able to explore the grounds of Dundonald Castle and the Visitor Centre without visiting inside the castle.
- How long can we stay?
Your booked time slot is for your visit inside the castle only. You are free to explore, have picnics and take advantage of the rest of the site for as long as you like outside of your booked time. There is lots to see and do in Dundonald!
- I forgot my mask, will I still be allowed inside?
Our team are aware that not everyone will be able to wear a mask due to health reasons. We do, however, ask that you wear a mask if you can. If you have forgotten your mask, please let a member of our team know and we will be happy to provide you with one for your visit.
- Will there be a tour guide for our visit?
During your booked time slot, a member of our team will be on hand to guide you safely through the castle. You can also purchase a Guide Book during the booking process or from the Visitor Centre. There are also information boards throughout the castle and exhibition area.
For more information about accessibility at Dundonald Castle and the Visitor Centre, check out our listing on the Visit Scotland website by clicking this link.
If you have further questions about accessibility on the site, please get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help.