Welcome to Kilwinning Heritage

We are a local history group in Kilwinning, Ayrshire in Scotland.

This website is intended to give members and visitors information about KH and its activities, and also about Kilwinning’s rich history, which stretches back to prehistory. Please check back regularly, as we will add news and information from time to time.

Kilwinning Abbey
South Transept Kilwinning Abbey
Kilwinning Abbey

Heritage Centre

The Heritage Centre is located in the clock tower which dates from 1816 and lies in the grounds of the 12th century Tironensian Benedictine Abbey. The Tower is owned and maintained by North Ayrshire Council, and staffed by volunteer members of Kilwinning Heritage. We welcome around 1500 visitors from all over the world each year and our volunteers lead guided tours of the Tower.

NEW !!! For an interactive 3-D tour of the Abbey Tower click HERE

Find out more about the Heritage Centre

More About Us

Kilwinning Heritage Members

Our aim is “to stimulate public interest in, and to encourage the conservation of the heritage, history and character of the area of the town and its surroundings, to encourage the preservation, development and improvement of features of historic interest and general public amenity”.

Our main activity is staffing the Abbey Tower Heritage Centre located in the heart of the town alongside the Old Parish Church.  We also have other activities such as summer visits to places of historic interest near and far and guest lecturers and speakers in the winter months.

As well as greeting visitors to our Heritage Centre, we are always keen to hear from local people interested in history and who may be willing to become a volunteer guide. For more information, contact us.

Read more about the Abbey’s History


KH is actively involved in a programme of small-scale archaeology projects in the local area. If you are interested in becoming involved, contact us. Full details of our projects and findings can be found on the Archaeology page

Visit the Heritage Centre
Free Entry

Mid-May to mid-September
Friday, Saturday & Sunday 1-3.
Other openings to be arranged. 

Please check our Facebook page for details.
Climb the 143 steps for stunning views from the roof.
Under 16’s must be accompanied by an adult.

Latest News

Visitors please note

Alteration to opening times. From Sunday 15 May 2022, the Tower will be open on Saturdays and Sundays ONLY from 1-3pm. Further dates / times to be announced.

Let's Talk History

FREE events. Three of Scotland's top authors of historical fact and fiction come to Kilwinning for one day. Why not come and meet all three?

Highland-based author Philip Paris will use his novels The Italian Chapel and Effie’s War to highlight some of the challenges encountered by writers when trying to separate ‘fact’ from ‘fiction’, as well as the moral dilemma that can arise when uncovering previously secret, highly sensitive information from the past. ‘Writers have a duty of care to people and places,’ says Philip. ‘When you unearth a story that is ‘gold dust’ to the writer yet potentially harmful to someone else, you are faced with very difficult decisions. Always at the back of your mind is that if the story is told … it can never again be a secret.’

Book here 

Margaret Skea was brought up in Ulster during the ‘Troubles’ and she will talk about how that conflict impacted on her perceptions of 16th century Scotland. The Munro Trilogy, set against the backdrop of the turmoil of the closing years of that century, Margaret’s trilogy of books follows the fortunes of a fictional family trapped at the centre of a notorious historic feud. Known as the Ayrshire Vendetta, it began in the 15th century and wasn’t finally resolved until the latter part of the 17th, the Cunninghames and Montgomeries dubbed the ‘Montagues and Capulets’ of Ayrshire. Margaret’s talk will focus both on the difficulties of her research and on her personal background.

Book here

Ayrshire historian and author Dane Love will take a look back at Ayrshire's folklore and customs in Legendary Ayrshire. Dane will talk about the places traditionally associated with early saints, as well as rocks and stones that were perhaps places of pilgrimage and ancient wells and strange caves which can be found all over the county. There are traditional tales of ghosts and hauntings, fairies and witches, as well as the ancient festival of Beltane. Some of the old traditions associated with birth, marriages and death, often unique to this county, are recalled, as well as other customs that took place at different times of the year.

Book here  Authors

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Donate to Kilwinning Heritage

We are always happy to receive donations. These can be made via PayPal as a one-off or recurring payment, for a value of your choosing.