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Scottish Castles

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Castles in Fife

The Kingdom of Fife is known worldwide as the official ‘Home of Golf’, with the town of St Andrews serving as its epicentre. However, while Fife is home to several world-class golf courses, some of the finest castles in Scotland are also set among the region’s windswept cliffs, sandy beaches and sleepy fishing villages.

The town of St Andrews offers some of the most interesting culture and history in all of Scotland, and its castle is the perfect place to begin a tour of castles in the region. St. Andrew's Castle proudly casts its gaze out over the North Sea and though now a ruin, is a popular tourist destination owned by Historic Scotland.

Heading from St Andrews south to Kellie Castle, the ruins of Pittarthie Castle, built in 1580 for James Monyenny can be seen near Dunino. Kellie Castle itself is just 3miles from Pittarthie, located just outside Arncroach. The castle was built in 1150 and in 1970 Kellie Castle, along with 6.5 hectares of gardens and a walled garden, became property of the National Trust for Scotland. On the coast 4 miles south from Kellie is Newark Castle, a ruin located outside of St Monans built in the 13th century, a time during which Scottish king Alexander III spent time in the area.

Scotstarvit Tower sits 15 miles inland from Newark Castle, 2 miles south of the town of Cupar. This castle is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a category A listed building that in 1948 was given to the National Trust for Scotland and is now in the hands of Historic Scotland. A short five-mile drive further north leads to Lordscairnie Castle near Moonzie, constructed in 1495 by Alexander Lindsay the 7th Earl of Crawford and back down southwest another five miles leads to Fernie Castle, an enlarged 16th century castle which today operates as a castle hotel.

MacDuff's Castle, Fife copyright Kevin Rae
MacDuff's Castle © Kevin Rae

Also serving as a private conference centre and hotel is Myres Castle, eight miles further southwest of Fernie Castle. Just 3 miles due south of Fernie Castle, Falkland Palace is a former royal palace and a magnificent 14th century structure acquired by the Scottish Crown from MacDuff of Fife. There are some fascinating and some very dark tales of the history of this National Trust for Scotland property.

Perched atop the south bank of the River Leven, seven miles south of Falkland Castle, is one of Scotland’s most romantic castles, Balgonie Castle. The privately-owned Balgonie dates back to the 14th but more recent history saw this castle in the hands of James Balfour, grandfather of Arthur Balfour, British Prime Minister from 1902-1905.

MacDuff's Castle ruin, five miles southwest of Balgonie, is a Category B listed building and Scheduled Ancient Monument which is associated with the most powerful Fife family in the middle ages, the MacDuff, Earls of Fife. Today MacDuff’s Castle remains the property of the Wemyss Estate, as does Wemyss Castle itself, just 2 miles away. Nestled cosily amongst cliffs, Wemyss Castle was built in 1421 and is perhaps best known as the location where Mary Queen of Scots met her future husband Lord Darnley in 1565.

Yet another grand castle of the Kingdom of Fife, Ravenscraig Castle, is located just four miles southwest along the coast from Wemyss. This ruined castle and category A listed building near Kirkcaldy was built in 1460 under the order of King James II as a home for his wife, Mary of Gueldres and is today managed by Historic Scotland.

Three miles from Ravenscraig, the ruined Seafield Tower is located on the coast of the North Sea, built of sandstone in the 16th century. Turning inland and heading five miles northwest leads to Halyard's Palace near the village of Auchertool, which is said to have served as a hunting seat of Malcolm Canmore.

Culross Palace, Fife copyright Lyall Duffus
Culross Palace © Lyall Duffus

Back on the coast, Rossend Castle is a 16th century castle (though a structure has existed on this site from 1119). Rossend is a privately-owned category B- listed building to be admired along the way to Aberdour Castle, three miles from Rossend on the coast outside of Burntisland in the village of Easter Aberdour. With parts of the castle dating back to 1200, Aberdour Castle is one of the two oldest datable castles in Scotland (along with Castle Sween in Argyll), the creation of Douglas Earls of Morton and today in the care of Historic Scotland.

Restored 16th century tower house Fordell Castle is 3 miles from Aberdour and 2 miles east of Dunfermline. Just outside Dunfermline is the country house known as Pitreavie Castle, built in the early 17th century and acquired by the Air Ministry in 1938. Pitreavie Castle is now privately owned housing and a category A listed building. Heading two miles south in the town of Rosyth leads to Rosyth Castle, a ruined 15th century tower house which originally stood on a small island in the Firth of Forth, accessible at low tide only.

In the town of Culross is the beautiful Culross Palace, constructed in the late 16th through to the early 17th century by Sir George Bruce. Today Culross Palace has been restored by National Trust for Scotland, in whose care the property sits. Under a mile from Culross Palace is Dunimarle Castle, a ruin which had a coal mine in operation from 1575, run by Sir George Bruce.

Finally, five miles from Culross Palace, Tulliallan Castle is a large Gothic/Italian- style house located on 90 acres of parkland. Tulliallan was built in 1812 for Admiral Lord Keith, one time senior officer of Lord Nelson, and serves today as the home of Scottish Police College.

Fife castles

Bullet Point Aberdour Castle
Bullet Point Balgonie Castle
Bullet Point Culross Palace
Bullet Point Dunimarle Castle
Bullet Point Falkland Castle
Bullet Point Falkland Palace
Bullet Point Fernie Castle
Bullet Point Fordell Castle
Bullet Point Halyard's Palace
Bullet Point Kellie Castle
Bullet Point Lordscairnie Castle
Bullet Point MacDuff's Castle
Bullet Point Myres Castle
Bullet Point Newark Castle
Bullet Point Pitreavie Castle
Bullet Point Pittarthie Castle
Bullet Point Ravenscraig Castle
Bullet Point Rossend Castle
Bullet Point Rosyth Castle
Bullet Point Scotstarvit Tower
Bullet Point Seafield Tower
Bullet Point St. Andrew's Castle
Bullet Point Tulliallan Castle
Bullet Point Wemyss Castle

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