In Kilmarnock, a 15-minute walk from bus and train stations, this castle, restored in the 20th century, has a virtually windowless keep (dating from 1350) and an adjacent palace (1468), with a superb collection of medieval arms, armour, tapestries and musical instruments. The wooded 81-hectare grounds are a good place for a stroll or a picnic; there's also a visitor centre with cafe. Major improvement projects are in place, so parts may be closed when you visit.
There are regular activities for kids. From Ayr buses run frequently to Kilmarnock.