The Arrival 

Our Christmas Wonderland event ‘Starry Nights’ is taking place from 8th December to 23rd December at Dean Castle, Kilmarnock. As you arrive, you will be greeted at the main gates off Dean Road, with a large welcoming garland-laced arch, before you meander on foot through the Christmassy lit front lawn towards ticketing.

Once through ticketing, you will continue along the fairy lit path where you will eventually see Dean Castle glittering in beautiful festive style, along with the hustle and bustle of our Christmas funfair on the lawns.  Will you be able to see Santa climbing up the front of the castle? 

The Funfair

Our funfair has something for everyone, from a large wheel and classic family carousel, to spinning cups for the younger audience, candy cane bungee jump, and twister rides for the older, more adventurous audience.

Note: The funfair rides are provided by a third party. The cost of these rides is in addition to your entry ticket. 

Cocktails & Carols   

Follow the pathway towards the Castle where you can find the entrance into the main castle courtyard. Here you will find Cocktails and Carols (and hot chocolate for the young audience). There are also sweet chestnuts roasting on the fire (cue the music), awaiting consumption. 

The Options   

Once inside Dean Castle grounds, you can choose to relax in the courtyard, enjoy the music as you feed at our Festive Food arena, nibble on Toasted Marshmallows from the log fire, or go round the magical Starry Nights illumination trail or head straight to Santa’s Grotto where Santa and his elves are busy getting ready for Christmas.

Note: Access to Santa’s Grotto is an optional extra, and requires an additional ticket, which can be bought at the same time as your Starry Night’s tickets on the ticket platform, or at the event (subject to availability on the night – we advise booking in advance).

The Immersive Starry Nights Trail   

Once through our Festive Food arena, and passed the Toasted Marshmallow fire pits and Santa’s Sleigh, cross the fairy lit bridge, enter into the trail and prepare for Christmas joy to be unleashed. You can go round the trail as fast or as slow as you want, and as many times as you like. 

The Starry Nights experience will take you on a journey through Christmas themed soundscapes and illuminations, starting with an immersive walk through Scotland’s longest glittering star tunnel, with thousands of glittering lights. 

Singing Trees & Snow (Oh) Dear   

Once through our giant Starry Nights signature tunnel, you will meet the magical singing trees, walk through the mesmerising den of the Fenwick Fairies, and pass through a lit up deer landscape with interactive snow effects.

The Grinch   

Then enter the home of our mischievous Grinch at Whoville. Watch out! He can be naughty (and rude!). Find the activation button on the boardwalk and see what happens! Who dares to enter the Grinch’s lair? 

Santa Land   

As you come back towards the main arena, you will meander under the icy North Pole installation, which is bound to chill and thrill, where candy canes appear at the press of a button… before enjoying a spectacular lighting set piece to the Sugar Plum Fairy music. Meander up the hill via Lyric Lane towards Santa Land, where you can take a selfie at our North Star installation and where Santa’s Grotto resides.

Snowball Blizzard   

Are snowmen real? Do they really come to life when we are not looking? What happens if you throw a snowball at a snowman? With our helper elves are on standby with baskets of snowballs and a snow machine to boot, get ready for some action at Snowball Blizzard! 

Tinsel The Elf   

Say hello to Tinsel the Elf, who is roaming the site, ready to entertain with magic tricks and jokes. Then pass through Candy Cane Lane before having a boogie in the Elf Disco tent. Then either head back to the courtyard for Cocktails & Carols, the Festive Food arena for a tasty snack, or go back round the trail and do it all again!

The Festive Food & Drink Offerings   

The fun doesn’t stop here. After your walk around the trail, why not enjoy a whisky or a prosecco, beer, or hot mulled wine or cider, whilst the kids enjoy a hot chocolate as our singers perform a variety of Christmas carols and other heart warming tunes?

As well as a range of drink offerings, we have range of food offerings, covering German sausage, venison and beef burgers, pigs in blankets, flame fired pizzas and sweet treats including toasted marshmallows, churros, donuts, pancakes, crepes and waffles.

With something for all festive fans, Starry Nights at Dean Castle is the ideal way to bring Christmas cheer to all.

Visitor Information & Some Key Questions

How long will the experience take?

It depends how long you wish to dwell and enjoy the site and the scenes. Normally, we would expect you to be with us for between 1 to 2 hours. The average being approximately 1.5 hours. If Santa’s Grotto tickets are also purchased in addition to the experience tickets, then add 30 minutes more. It depends how much time you spend on the funfair, in our food and drink village, sitting in the courtyard and how many times you meander around the Starry Nights lighting trail.

Can we walk the trail again?

Yes you are welcome to walk round as many times as you like to soak up the Christmas spirit!

When do I need to arrive?

The time on your ticket is your allocated time to arrive for entry. We are asking all our guests to arrive as close to that time as possible please as we have multiple entry times on sale.

What happens when I arrive?

Once entering Dean Castle through the main public entrance and car park you will be warmly welcomed by our Elves who will admit you into the event via scanning your ticket QR code. Have them at the ready and handy so we can scan you in quickly!

Is everything included within the ticket price?

Your ticket gives you entry to the event, where you can enjoy the festive lighting, soundscapes and projection installations, along with the exciting festive atmosphere, the Christmas carols in the courtyard and of course the lighting trail and associated experiences. You can also visit santa’s sleigh, throw snowballs at Snow Ball Blizzard and enjoy the Elf disco as part of your entry ticket.

The funfair, Santa’s grotto and any food, beverage or sweet treats will cost extra in addition to your entry ticket. How much you choose to spend on these extras in addition to your entry ticket is at your discretion. You are welcome to bring a a packed lunch or dinner with you if you would prefer that to our on site catering options. 

Is there a bar at the event?

Yes. We have a cocktail bar and prosecco bar, along with a range of beers and wines at Starry Nights. Whilst the event is licensed to sell alcohol, you are not permitted under the license to bring your own alcohol into the event.