Culross Palace

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Culross Palace,
Culross,
Dunfermline,
KY12 8JH

+44 (0) 1383 880 359
nts.org.uk

EXPLORE THE CHARMING MEDIEVAL TOWN OF CULROSS

When I first moved to Edinburgh, I spent a lot of time heading north-west, towards the islands, the Highlands, and the impressive scenery that had drawn me to Scotland in the first place.

Little did I know that much closer to home, just over the Firth of Forth from Edinburgh, is the Kingdom of Fife, the home of Scottish Kings for over 500 years. Although it took me longer to explore this underrated destination, once I had discovered the quaint villages of this Lowland county it became apparent what an amazing hidden gem the area is.

As a tourist destination, Fife is well-known for being the home of St Andrews. This includes Scotland’s first university, well-known international golf courses, and a town loaded with historical buildings. Yet, it’s the picturesque villages along the coast of Fife that really captivate me. One such place is Culross (pronounced Coo-Ross), which sits on the banks of the Firth, close to the bridges of Edinburgh. On your one day road trip, head east from Stirling and over the newly opened Queensferry Crossing towards Edinburgh. This route will give you the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the iconic UNESCO World Heritage Forth Bridge, an impressive railway crossing built in 1882.

As a tourist destination, Fife is well-known for being the home of St Andrews. This includes Scotland’s first university, well-known international golf courses, and a town loaded with historical buildings. Yet, it’s the picturesque villages along the coast of Fife that really captivate me. One such place is Culross (pronounced Coo-Ross), which sits on the banks of the Firth, close to the bridges of Edinburgh. On your one day road trip, head east from Stirling and over the newly opened Queensferry Crossing towards Edinburgh. This route will give you the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the iconic UNESCO World Heritage Forth Bridge, an impressive railway crossing built in 1882.

Culross itself is composed of enchanting cobbled streets lined with stone walls and colourful lodgings, built to house those who worked in the busy port until the 18th century. A visit there will have you feeling like you’re in another world. There’s so little traffic it’s easy to imagine its past life as a bustling port town.

One of the must-see places of interest as you wander through the town is Culross Palace, built between 1597 and 1611. Its distinctive yellow colour and red tiled roof make it hard to miss! Rather than being a palace, it was actually the home of Sir George Bruce, a wealthy merchant and Laird (a Scottish Lord). Culross Palace is now open to the public, with its wood-panelled walls and painted ceilings. You can amble down the covered walkway outside, capturing beautiful floral displays and unusual vegetable gardens as you stroll past.

Other notable points of interest within Culross include the Town House, which you’ll likely spy as you enter the village thanks to its characteristic clock tower. The house was once the residence of the local government and also used as a prison, dating from 1626, although the clock tower was added at a later date.

A meander up Back Causeway behind the Town House will lead you to the Study, another restored house built in 1610. The middle of the causeway was built above the rest of the street, allowing noblemen to walk along it separated from the common residents.

A steeper climb behind the village will take you to the ruins of Culross Abbey, which was the home of monks in the 13th century. Thanks to the compact nature of Culross, all of this can be seen easily on a brief stopover in the town. It’ll give you a taste of Fife, inspiring you to return to and explore more of the coast at a later date!

Given the medieval look of the village, it recently became a star in the TV adaption of Outlander, the popular book series by Diana Gabaldon, which I read and enjoyed long before I moved to Scotland. Culross was the backdrop for several key scenes, including Geillis Duncan’s house. You might not recognise it, though, since the whole town was painted grey for the occasion

Image courtesy of National Trust for Scotland

After all the exploring, settle down for some refreshment in my favourite quintessential tearoom Culross has to offer. The Lallybroch serves over 25 varieties of tea, piping hot fresh soups, sandwiches, scones, and cakes. It also sells arts and crafts inspired by Outlander, sorting you out with the perfect souvenir of this charming village.

Once you’ve finished exploring the medieval town of Culross, jump in your car and you’ll be back in Edinburgh within the hour!

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