Set in the picturesque village of Falkland, this palace was the favourite retreat of the Stuart dynasty and a former residence of Mary Queen of Scots.
The Royal Palace of Falkland was used as a country residence by Stuart kings and queens who used to hunt deer and wild boar in the nearby Fife forests. Mary Queen of Scots spent some of the happiest days of her tragic life here, hunting and hawking around the woods and park, which is still beautifully maintained today.
The palace was built between 1501 and 1541 by James IV and James V, replacing earlier castle and palace buildings from the 12th century, traces of which can still be seen in the grounds. The original and reconstructed rooms are packed with fine portraits of the Stuart monarchs, 17th-century Flemish tapestries, elaborate painted ceilings and antique furnishings.
The roofed South Range contains the Chapel Royal, and the East Range the Kings Bedchamber and the Queens Room, both restored by the National Trust for Scotland. The Keepers Apartments in the Gatehouse are also now on display.
The garden, designed and built by Percy Cane between 1947 and 1952, contains three herbaceous borders enclosing a wide lawn with many varieties of shrubs and trees and there is an orchard. Falkland Palace is also home to the oldest real tennis court in Britain, originally built for King James V in 1539.