Orchardton Tower, Kirkcudbright

4.8
#11 of 13 in Things to do in Kirkcudbright
Orchardton Tower, is a ruined tower house in Kirkcudbrightshire, Dumfries and Galloway, south west Scotland. It is located 4 miles (6.1km) south of Dalbeattie, and 1 mile (1.7km) south of Palnackie, in Buittle parish. It is remarkable as the only cylindrical tower house in Scotland. Orchardton Tower is in the care of Historic Scotland, and is a Category A listed building,and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.HistoryThe Cairns family, who built Orchardton, were associated with the area from the early 15th century. Alexander Cairns was Provost of Lincluden, now an area of Dumfries, until his death in 1422. His brother, John Cairns, was Custumar, or customs officer, in Linlithgow. John Cairns was also a military engineer, and was responsible for designing the impressive King David's Tower at Edinburgh Castle, which was destroyed in 1573. His heir, another John Cairns who was his nephew's son, was granted the lands of 'Irisbuitle', or Orchardton, in 1456. The grant of former Douglas lands was possibly in return for Cairns' support for James II, in his successful struggle to overthrow the power of the 'Black' Earls of Douglas. John Cairns built Orchardton Tower soon after. The fact that round towers are common in Ireland has led to speculation of Irish influence at Orchardton. However, no specific link has been found.
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Orchardton Tower Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
21 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • April 17, 2017
    Love Orchardton Tower. We've been visiting it for years. It's unusual and off the beaten track. Our boys loved it when they were younger as it's on such a small scale. It's great for families. We stil...  more »
  • October 12, 2016
    A unique little tower with no entry price, no shops, nothing fancy. In reality it's just an old tower, some ruins, pair of covered rooms and some information boards. But it's great. Great place for a ...  more »
  • September 1, 2016
    It was very interesting and we could climb right to the top. The stairs are not for the faint-hearted! Parking is only sufficient for about 3 cars.  more »
Google
  • Great little find with stunning views from the top. Doesn't take a huge amount of time to wonder around, but worth a visit.
  • A well preserved piece of history with great views from the top Very narrow spiral stairs to the top of the tower....take care
  • This is a beautiful building i came across while researching places to go/things to see with my family while on holiday. So we went to see Orchardton Tower on our way to Sandyhills beach from Castle Douglas. It was just a slight detour but worth it in my opinion. The tower is located down a narrow country lane and once there you will find space for 3 or 4 cars to park at most. I presume it's not a very common/popular tourist attraction due to the small parking area and the fact that there are no facilities at the site either (ie. no toilets) While we were there 2 other visitors came at different times so the car park was never full. The tower was apparently built in the mid 1400's (200 years after people had stopped building round towers) The tower itself is in good condition considering its age and once inside there is a very narrow winding staircase that takes you to the top of the tower for a beautiful sight of the surrounding countryside. You do not have to pay to enter the site but there is a donation box close to the entrance
  • As a family, we've always loved coming to Orchardton Tower and over the years have often popped in en route to Kirkcudbright or on the way back to Sandyhills. It's off the beaten track so is always quiet and has a charm all of its own being the only round tower house in Scotland.
  • I "discovered" Orchardton Tower as a child in the 1960's. It was then and still is I'm sure a most unexpected glimpse into a past that remains tantalizingly mysterious today. John

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