Falkland – The Home of Scottish Kings

Falkland is a historic royal burgh, with a royal palace at its heart. It is rich in history and architecture and the setting for television dramas Outlander and Silent Witness.

How to get there:

By Car

From Crail take the A917/A915 to Leven. Continue through the roundabout past the large Diageo Bottling Plant on your right. At the next roundabout take the A911 to Glenrothes. You will come to a large roundabout where you want to take the right turning on to the A92 for Dundee. Drive to the next roundabout past the biomass plant. Drive up the dual carriageway to the next and final roundabout. The turning for Falkland is on the left, the A912.

Google Maps will take you a different route over narrow B roads which I would not recommend.

Where to Park the Car

There is a car park close to the centre of the village at Back Wynd and signposted from the main road. Parking is free all day and there are public toilets managed by Fife Council.

A full map of the village can be downloaded by clicking this link

Falkland – Where to go and What to See

From the car park take a left and follow the narrow street towards the centre of the village and the royal palace. If you are an Outlander fan you will recognise the square from series one as Falkland doubled for Inverness.

Covenanter Hotel
The Covenanter Hotel featured in the first series of Outlander

Falkland became a royal burgh in 1458. Many of the houses date from the 17th century. Look out for the pan tiled roofs, crow stepped gables, outside stairs and marriage lintels all of which are a feature of Falklands’ architectural style.

Marriage Lintel
Marriage Lintel often seen above the main door to a house

Falkland Palace and Garden

The palace was originally intended to serve as a hunting lodge for the Stewart Kings. After 1537 James V began work to turn Falkland into a renaissance palace and died there in 1542. Mary Queen of Scots played real tennis there. Charles 1 and Charles 11 visited in 1633 and 1651 respectively.

In 1654 whilst troops loyal to Oliver Cromwell were billeted there a disastrous fire destroyed part of the palace. As a result the palace fell into decline however was bought and restored by John Crichton Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute. Work starting in 1887. He was responsible for restoring the building to what you see today. His grandson Major Michael Crichton Stuart made the National Trust for Scotland Deputy Keeper in 1952 and they are responsible for the management of the property and grounds.

Falkland Palace Garden

The palace garden was designed just after the Second World War by Percy Cane, who landscaped the garden of Emperor Haile Selassie in Addis Ababa Ethiopia.

The garden is full of colourful flower borders, as well as a lilypond and a walled garden with fruit trees.

At the bottom of the garden is the Royal Tennis Court, where the game of Real Tennis, (different from lawn or hard court tennis) is still played today. It is one of the few courts in the world where this version of tennis can be played. There is a similar court at Hampton Court in London.

Falkland Palace Garden
Falkland Palace Garden
Walled Garden
The Walled Garden
Lily Pond in the palace garden
The Lily Pond in the Palace Garden
The Royal Tennis Court
The Royal Tennis Court

Falkland Village Square

The building with the clock tower is the Town Hall. Built around 1800 the building is now managed by the National Trust and houses a variety of exhibits relating to the history of Falkland.

On the other side of the square is Falkland Parish Church built between 1848 and 1850 and funded by Onesiphorus Tyndall Bruce. Onesiphorus lived with his wife Margaret in Falkland House and was the owner of Falkland Estate. His statue stands beside the church. Onesiphorus was an English barrister who came to Falkland when he married Margaret Bruce. Margaret inherited the estate from her father Professor John Bruce. Onesiphorus died in 1855, only 11 years after the large house on the estate was completed. Margaret died in 1869. The Bruce Fountain in the centre of the square is a memorial to them.

Bruce Memorial Falkland Village Square
The Bruce Memorial Fountain
Falkland Parish Church
Falkland Parish Church and the Bruce Fountain
Statue of Onesiphorus Tyndall Bruce
Statue of Onesiphorus Tyndall Bruce in the church garden
Campbells Coffee Shop Falkland Village Square
Campbells Coffee Shop

In the square there are a few gift shops and cafes. We walked along the road toward Falkland Estate past the old burial ground with its 17th and 18th century headstones. At the entrance to Falkland estate there is an excellent cafe in The Centre for Stewardship located in old stable block with ample indoor and outdoor seating. There is car park and a number of woodland walks and cycle tracks. We opted for an attractive woodland path past the cricket ground along the Maspie Burn back towards the village.

Centre for Stewardship Falkland Estate
Centre for Stewardship & Cafe Falkland Estate
Woodland Walk back to Falkland
Woodland Walk

Places to Eat:

Campbells Cafe – The Cross High Street Falkland. For details click this link

The Bruce Inn – High Street Falkland. Has a restaurant and bar for details click this link

The Covenanter – The Square Falkland. Has a restaurant, bar and coffee shop. Featured in Outlander. For details click this link

Return trip back to Crail

On leaving Falkland why not take an alternative route back to Crail. At the roundabout take a left turn and follow the A914 to Cupar. Follow the road past Cupar Railway Station. At the next roundabout take the A91 to St Andrews. On arrival in St Andrews continue along North Street into South Street and left into Abbey Walk where you join the A917 to Crail.

The drive to Falkland will take you approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour from Crail.

If you are looking for somewhere to go for a day out as part of your holiday Falkland is an interesting place to visit.

Stay at Sandcastle Cottage Crail

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Blog updated January 2024

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