Kilwinning Abbey Tower, Kilwinning

#3 of 6 in Things to do in Kilwinning
Kilwinning Abbey is a ruined abbey located in the centre of the town of Kilwinning, North Ayrshire.HistoryThe establishment of the AbbeyThe ancient name of the town is 'Segdoune' or 'Saigtown', probably derived from 'Sanctoun', meaning the 'town of the saint'. Saint Winning's festival was on 21 January and the year of his arrival from Ireland was 715 AD. The site for the first church and later the abbey was revealed to Saint Winning by an Angel in a vision.Kilwinning was a Tironensian Benedictine monastic community, named after Tyron in the diocese of Chartres. The abbey was dedicated to Saint Winning and the Virgin Mary, and founded sometime between 1162 and 1188 with monks coming from Kelso. The patron is not known for certain, but it may have been Richard de Morville, Lord of Cunninghame and Great Constable of Scotland, perhaps with the backing and assistance of King William of Scotland. A story developed that another Sir Richard de Morville who was involved in the murder of Thomas a Becket was the founder of the abbey, however despite the likelihood of the families being the same, the dates of the events make this connection impossible. A connection that does exist is the founding of Arbroath Abbey in 1178, also a Tironensian abbey, in memory of Thomas a Becket by William the Lion (1165–1214).
Work out when and for how long to visit Kilwinning Abbey Tower and other Kilwinning attractions using our handy Kilwinning driving holiday planner .
Create an itinerary including Kilwinning Abbey Tower
Kilwinning Abbey Tower Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
41 reviews
  • The tower is open seasonal at weekends. Ground floor display area is small but gives a flavour of Kilwinning history and displays of interest. The floors as you climb include another display area and ...  more »
  • The history of this abbey is fascinating .There a two areas the old abbey which dates back to the 1300's and the site holds many interests. The new abbey holds special memories as my daughter was marr...  more »
  • We went specifically to visit the ruins of the Cathedral, and we were a little disappointed. Apparently little care (rubbish all over the place), few sources of information, any guide available. Amazing when it comes to Scotland, where the historical heritage are so well taken care of. Despite this the site has an interesting story to be visited and searches.
    View original
  • Great piece of local history with access inside the tower on summer months
  • I know this abbey has become a ruin, but I have always had this romantic notion of England being covered in ruins. This was fulfilling to wander the ruins and read about the history of the place.
  • The ruins of a 16th century Abbey. The tower with clock is still intact containing a small museum, with free entry, on the history of the Abbey and town of Kilwinning. The tower can be climbed to the roof where a breathtaking panoramic view of much of the county can be viewed.
  • It was also used by the Knights Templar
Places to stay near Kilwinning Abbey Tower

Plan your trip to Kilwinning

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.