The Kingdom of Fife, Fife, Scotland
Abbot House Heritage Centre
Scottish Fisheries Museum
The Kingdom of Fife
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. As the main residence of Scotland’s leading churchmen, the castle was the setting for many important events throughout the Middle Ages. But it was during the turmoil leading to the Reformation of 1560 that some of the most murderous acts were perpetrated within or before its walls. More than 400 years have elapsed since the Reformation and today the ruined castle can now be enjoyed in peace by visitors.
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.
The Kingdom of Fife has a fine tradition of arts and crafts. Examples of craft work from golf clubs to jewellery, from ceramics to knitwear can be found throughout Fife. For art lovers, the Crawford Art Centre in St Andrews provides exciting exhibitions of visual arts from sculpture and painting to photography, design and architecture. In Kirkcaldy the Art Gallery houses an outstanding collection of work by the Scottish Colourists including S J Peploe and William McTaggart, and in Dunfermline the Small Gallery hosts changing exhibitions of local artists throughout the year.
The Kingdom of Fife is a magical land of contrasts, studded with historic towns and pretty coastal villages.
The Kingdom of Fife – once discovered, never forgotten.
For more Information please contact:
Kingdom of Fife Tourist Board
70 Market Street
Fife KY16 9NU.
Tel: +44(0)1334 472021
Fax: +44(0)1334 478422
Where to stay and things to do in Fife
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