Castles in Fife, Scotland.
Balbirnie House Hotel, Markinch
The ancient Kingdom of Fife lies just north of Edinburgh beyond the Firth of Forth and is easily reached by road and rail. It is a land steeped in tradition with an outstanding heritage. For long before Edinburgh, the Kingdom was the centre of secular and religious power in Scotland. Dunfermline was the stronghold of Celtic Kings and in the grounds of its Abbey – the splendid “Westminster of the North” – lie buried twenty-two kings, queens, princes and princesses. Robert the Bruce himself lies directly beneath the carved oak pulpit. Here you may visit the shrine of St Margaret or the birthplace of the richest man in the world, Andrew Carnegie. Dunfermline is also a town of peaceful parks and gardens. Pittencrieff Park alone is set in 76 acres of woodland, lawns and formal gardens and is a sanctuary to many species of birds.
Further north St Andrews, now better known as the home of golf, was, before the Reformation, the ecclesiastical capital of Scotland. It took builders more than 150 years to complete the construction of the cathedral, the largest ever to be built in Scotland and now, more than 7 centuries later visitors still marvel at its splendour. Close by is the castle which was built as the bishop’s palace. Steep cliffs protected it to the north while rock-cut ditches once defended the landward approaches.
Along the coast the delightful fishing villages of the East Neuk and 17th century Culross are separated by stretches of fine golden sand. Inland the countryside is a haven for birdwatchers, ramblers and those who just wish to escape to a land of peace for a while.
There are historic houses all over the Kingdom, including the Royal Palace at Falkland, which was once the principal hunting lodge of the Stewart Dynasty. Today it is in the care of the National Trust for Scotland and is open to the public from April to October.
Castles in Fife
St Andrews Castle
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Where to stay and things to do in Fife
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