Top Tourist Attractions in Fife
The Fife peninsula extends from the broad Forth estuary in the south to the Firth of Tay in the north. Where once the Picts held sway and where trade with the Friesians, Flemings and Normans flourished in the Middle Ages, now tourism and young, ambitious service and electronics companies centered on Glenrothes in the so-called "Silicon Glen" provide employment for the local people. The region is administered from the town of Cupar.
North Queensferry - Deep Sea World
The aquarium, opened in 1993, allows visitors to view its coral reefs from within a 122yd/112m glass tunnel. The tanks feature the largest collection of Sand tiger sharks in Europe. Daily shark feedings. There are also pirate and special exhibitions.
Address: Battery Quarry, North Queensferry KY11 1JR, Scotland
Opening hours: 10am-5pm; Sun: 10am-6pm; Sat: 10am-6pm
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in GBP: Family £40.00, Adult £12.50, Concession or reduced rate £10.50, Child 14 & under £8.25, Child 2 & under FREE
Useful tips: Group discounts for 15 or more available. Last entry is one hour before closing time.
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Guides: Interpretive sessions sometimes available.
Facilities: Gift shop, Restaurant or food service
Typical Visit: 30 minutes
The narrow streets of this old port (pop. 1,100) were once used as hunting grounds for the feared "Pressgang", ship owners' agents who went in search of "volunteers" to man the ships that exported coal and chalk worldwide. Robert Stevenson immortalized the town's "Ship Inn" in Limekilns in his "Adventure of David Balfour". The hero sought a boat in the inn to carry him safely across the Forth.
The little market town of Inverkeithing (pop. 2,600; 5mi/8km to the southeast of Limekilns) was founded in the 12th century and ranks as one of the oldest "burghs" in Scotland.
The Church of St Peter is the town's dominant feature, while the old monastery now serves as the town museum.
Boat trips leave North Queensferry for the well-preserved Augustinian monastery on the island of Inchcolm. Alexander I founded it in 1123 for monks from Scone but it is now in the hands of Historic Scotland. An example of Early Gothic ribbed vaulting can be seen in the octagonal chapterhouse, while 13th century frescoes in the chancel depict a funeral. The island is popular with nature lovers, not just for the bird sanctuary but also for the colony of seals.
The harbor at Aberdour (pop.1,200); 4mi/6km east of the Forth bridges), where the beaches are justifiably described as "silver sands", is overlooked by Aberdour Castle. Started in the 14th century by the Douglas family and then extended in the 16th/17th centuries, the castle boasts some fine paintings on its walls and staircases.
Some fine 17th century houses line Sailor's Walk near the harbor in the linoleum and mining town of Kirkcaldy (pop. 52,500). One of the town's most celebrated sons is the architect Robert Adam (1728-92). Together with his brother, they created the Classical "Adam style". Another native of Kirkcaldy was the economist Adam Smith. He wrote his celebrated "Wealth of Nations" while working as a senior customs officer in 1776.
Kirkcaldy Art Gallery and Museum
The Art Gallery and Museum on the Esplanade contains work by Scottish painters and some interesting exhibits documenting the history of linoleum production.
Sailor's Walk in Kirkcaldy is a 17th centruy group of merchants' houses that were restored in 1950.
The A955 leaves Kirkcaldy and follows the east coast of the Fife peninsula to the pleasant resort of Wemyss. It continues east through Coaltown, Buckhaven and Leven before reaching the idyllic East Neuk Villages on Largo Bay.
Pittenweem - Kellie Castle and Garden
The oldest part of Kellie Castle (3mi/5km north of Pittenweem) probably dates from ca. 1350. The castle, as it is today, belonged to the Earls of Mar and Kellie and was built during the 16th century and early 17th century. James and Robert Lorimer carried out a major restoration of the T-shaped castle ca. 1878, but the site is now administered by the National Trust for Scotland. The 17th century paneling in the Lounge, the landscape pictures on the paneling in the Dining Room and Jakob de Witt's ceiling paintings in the Vine Room showing the Greek gods and the rich plasterwork on the ceiling deserve special attention. The Late Victorian garden is noted for its display of roses.The garden also has box hedges, colorful borders, organic and herbaceous plants and fruit trees.
Up until the 1940s the pretty port at Anstruther (pop. 3,300) was the center of the Scottish herring industry.
Scottish Fisheries Museum
The story of Anstruther's rise and fall is told in the Scottish Fisheries Museum by the harbor.
Address: Harbour Head, St Ayles, Anstruther KY10 3AB, Scotland
Opening hours: Apr 1 to Sep 30: 10am-5:30pm; Sun: 11am-5pm
Oct 1 to Mar 31: 10am-4:30pm; Sun: 12pm-4:30pm
Oct 1 to Mar 31: 10am-4:30pm; Sun: 12pm-4:30pm
Entrance fee in GBP: Adult £6.00, Concession or reduced rate £5.00, Child 16 & under FREE
Facilities: Restaurant or food service
North Carr Lightship & Fishing Boat
In the Anstruther harbor a fishing boat used at the turn of the century and the North Carr lightship (1933-75) are both open to the public.As the headquarters for the Maritime Volunteer Service, every effort is made to open on Sunday afternoons - subject to availability of staff.
In a fit of anger the devil is said to have thrown a piece of the Isle of May at the church in Crail but fortunately he missed. What other explanation could there be for the huge stone in the graveyard? Crail (pop. 1,300) may well be at the center of many legends, but there is always a pleasant atmosphere in the village, especially when the fishing boats land their catches of prawns and lobsters and the fishermen prepare them on the quayside. The whitewashed houses with stepped gables and red pantile roofs are favorite subjects for painters and photographers.
Loch Leven (10mi/16km north of Aberdour on the M90) is best known for the pink-fleshed trout that swim in its waters. Lochleven Castle and its 14th century tower house stands on one of the islands in the lake. It owes its place in history to Mary Stuart who after a year's incarceration escaped from the island with the help of the young Lord George Douglas and her page William. This night-time escapade is recorded in Scott's "The Abbot" (1820).
Address: Longmore House, Salisbury Place, Jedburgh TD8 6JQ, Scotland
Opening hours: Apr 1 to Sep 30: 9:30am-5:30pm
Oct 1 to Oct 31: 9:30am-4:30pm
Oct 1 to Oct 31: 9:30am-4:30pm
Entrance fee in GBP: Adult £5.00, Concession or reduced rate £4.00, Child £3.00
Useful tips: Hours and admission apply to Lochleven Castle.
Facilities: Gift shop
Typical Visit: 30 minutes
St Serf's Church
The ruins of the monastery church of St Serf are situated one island of Loch Leven.
Kinross is located on the western side of Loch Leven between Edinburgh and Perth.
Kinross House and Garden
On a stay in France the court architect Sir William Bruce visited Vaux-le-Vicomte, a castle near Paris built by Le Vau. Its parkland was designed by Le Notre and was regarded as a masterpiece of landscape design. Undoubtedly what Bruce saw in France inspired him when he came to design his own house and garden at Kinross. In the two-story Palladian structure, which Daniel Defoe described as the "finest and most perfectly balanced piece of architecture in Scotland", perfect symmetry combines with the restrained design of Ionic columns, Corinthian pilasters, angular gables and small chimney stacks.
Balgonie Castle (2mi/3.5km east of Glenrothes) dates from the 14th century when the huge keep with its 10ft/3m thick walls and chapel were built. Little remains of the extensions that were completed ca. 1702. The castle fell into disrepair from the middle of the 19th century but in 1985 Raymond Morris the 30th laird of Balgonie started work on its restoration. Now the medieval tower is used for banquets and weddings are frequently solemnized in the chapel.
Originally a hunting lodge, Falkland Palace is now property of the Queen. The Palace features beautiful tapestries and furniture in the interior. The palace grounds also boast beautiful gardens.
Abernethy (pop. 900; 8mi/13km to the northwest of Falkland) was once the capital of the Pictish kingdom and in the ninth century a stronghold of the Scottish church. The only relic of a glorious past is the 78ft/24m high tapering Round Tower, one of two such round towers on the mainland (the other is in Brechin). The base of the tower dates from the ninth century, while the upper section dates from the 11th or 12th century. A Pictish stone with religious motifs sits at the foot of the tower.
The narrow alleys in the attractive town of Cupar (pop. 7,700) demonstrate the architectural style of the 18th century. The parish church was first consecrated at the beginning of the 15th century and was altered in the 18th century.
Hill of Tarvit Mansion House and Garden
The mansion at Tarvit (2.5mi/4km to the south of Cupar) has been faithfully restored by the National Trust for Scotland. Sir Robert Lorimer designed the property for the wealthy railroad executive and art collector Frederick Sharp. The original building, the work of Sir William Bruce (1696), did not meet the needs of the new owner who required more room for his collection of fine furniture, tapestries, Chinese porcelain, Dutch masters and paintings by Raeburn and Ramsay. The Edwardian south side of the country house overlooks Lorimer's terraced gardens. Flemish tapestries (17th century) and Scottish and English oak furniture (17th/18th century) adorn the wood- paneled hall. French furniture in the Lounge displays hints of Roccoco, while the Georgian Dining Room has a distinctly Palladian atmosphere. Scotstarvit Tower on the estate dates from 1579.
Opening hours: Apr 1 to Oct 31: 1pm-5pm; Closed: Tue, Wed
Entrance fee in GBP: Family £22.00, Adult £9.00, Concession or reduced rate £6.50
Scotstarvit Tower is situated less than a mile from the Hill of Tarvit Mansionhouse. This tower is known to date from 1579.
Auchtermuchty is located on the A91 southwest of Dundee.
Auchtermuchty's annual two-week festival takes place in mid-August. The festival includes events for the whole family, including street performances, pageants, and lots of samples of Scottish food and drink.
Destroyed during the Reformation Balmerino Abbey itself was founded by Cistercian monks in 1229. It is said that Queen Ermingade the second wife of William "the Lion" laid the foundation stone.
Leuchars (pop. 2,500) lies 10mi/16km to the east of Balmerian Abbey beside St Andrew's Bay. The Norman Church of St Athernase was started at the beginning of the 13th century by Sair de Quinci and the chancel and apse have not been altered since. The main nave and tower date from the 17th century.
The fortress of Earlshall with turreted walls up to 5ft/1.5m thick was erected in the 16th century and the barons of Earlshall have lived there ever since. The fine, painted ceiling and the paneling in the Long Gallery are of particular note.