Architecture in Fife

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  • Looking across the harbour at Crail in the East Neuk
  • Looking across the wrought iron gate to Culross Palace
    Culross Palace
  • Looking across Pittencrieff Park towards Dunfermline Abbey
    Dunfermline Abbey
  • Looking across to the entrance of Falkland Palace
    Falkland Palace
  • View over the Firth of Forth to the rail and road bridges
    Forth Rail Bridge

With royal palaces, the world’s first major steel bridge, an ancient cathedral and abbey and many charming towns and villages, discover some remarkable architecture on a journey through Fife.

Connecting Edinburgh & The Lothians with Fife, the Forth Rail Bridge opened in 1890, is 1.5 miles (2.5 km) long and was the world’s first major steel bridge. Sitting side by side with the Forth Road Bridge, visitors can enjoy stunning panoramic views from North Queensferry or by walking across the adjacent road bridge. 

Perhaps one of the most distinctive pieces of architecture in Fife is the Royal Burgh of Culross, home to the ochre-coloured Culross Palace. Wander around the historic cobbled streets of this quaint village and admire the red tiled roofs which were once acquired by trading local materials like wool, coal and salt. 

Nearby Dunfermline is the country’s former capital and visitors can explore one of the most visually stunning examples of Romanesque architecture in Scotland, Dunfermline Abbey. Beginning as a priory founded by Queen Margaret, it was re-established as an abbey by her son in 1128 and encompasses the ruins of a magnificent palace and the body of King Robert the Bruce, notably minus his heart, along with seven other kings.

Just over 20 miles north east of Dunfermline lies the medieval village and hidden gem of Falkland, home to the magnificent Royal Palace of Falkland. A fantastic example of French-influenced Renaissance architecture, Mary Queen of Scots spent a lot of time here and it was the country residence and hunting lodge of eight Stuart monarchs.

Back towards the coast, the East Neuk is most famous for its incredibly picturesque fishing villages where old cottages and merchant’s houses huddle around stone-built harbours.

Just north is the historic town of St Andrews. Wander around the medieval centre with its narrow alleys and cobbled streets and admire the 33 m high St Rule’s Tower and the remains of what was once Scotland’s largest and most magnificent church, St Andrew’s Cathedral.