Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design in 2016 shines the spotlight on our greatest assets, icons, and hidden gems and there’s so much to celebrate in the Kingdom of Fife.
Why not visit to see for yourself? Cross the iconic Forth Bridge, an amazing feat of Victorian engineering and now Scotland’s sixth UNESCO World Heritage Site, visit beautiful examples of architecture including Falkland Palace, as well as enjoy stunning design such as the wonderful Wemyss Pottery in Ceres where hand painted pottery is made.
There’s also an array of events and festivals to experience and attractions to visit.
FASCINATING ARCHITECTURE TO EXPLORE
Explore the beautiful refurbished Palace which dates from 1597 and imagine what it would have been like to live within the splendid interiors. The Royal Burgh of Culross is a unique survival, a town that time has passed by. The old buildings and cobbled streets create a fascinating time warp for visitors. Close your eyes and you can almost hear the calls of medieval street vendors selling their wares and the clang of hammers on metal as the Hammermen of Culross fashioned the famous girdles.
This stunning partly-restored Renaissance Palace is the perfect place to while away the afternoon. It was a famous hunting retreat of Mary Queen of Scots who played real tennis there. Built in 1539, the world’s oldest tennis court is still in use. Part of the Palace is in ruins but the original and reconstructed rooms are packed with 17th-century Flemish tapestries, elaborate painted ceilings and antique furnishings.
North Queensferry Light Tower
The world’s smallest working light tower sits alongside the Forth Bridge, one of the engineering wonders of the world. Built in 1817 by Robert Stevenson, visitors can climb the 24 stairs up to the lamp as was last done over 100 years ago! Discover how the light-keeper kept the lamp burning and how the unique signalling system worked. This tiny gem amongst the world’s lighthouses and light towers is one of Scotland’s unknown treasures.
Visit to see the beautiful conversion of an historic and semi-derelict farm steading into a stunning distillery and visitor centre to follow the ‘Dream to Dram’ story. One of the most striking architectural features is the doocot which now proudly houses the first cask of Kingsbarns Whisky.
Over 700 years old, this is a real medieval castle owned by the Morris of Balgonie family who live in the Tower. Also an Outlander film location, the castle is a popular quirky wedding venue and well worth a visit.
View them handcrafting the beautiful hand-painted Wemyss Ware® which has a long and distinguished history. It’s been collected by many famous people, including Gore Vidal and Elton John. The Queen also commissioned two large Cabbage Rose vases for Balmoral Castle.
Open Studios Fife
There are a number of Open Studios events throughout the year where you can visit artists and designer-makers in their work spaces in the north of Fife over a number of weekends.
Pittenweem Arts Festival
Attracting around 25,000 people, Pittenweem is a small fishing village with a big reputation. Celebrate the visual arts at this fantastic event which takes place over nine days and hosts over 100 exhibitions in galleries, homes, studios and public venues.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Lindores Abbey had the first written evidence of whisky distillation back in 1494, where monks made whisky for King James IV in the 15th century. There are plans for the site to be restored as part of £5m makeover.
- Fife is the doocot capital of Scotland! There were no fewer than 360 doocots in Fife during the 18th century, with over 100 listed examples remaining today. Visit Kingsbarns Distillery and Aberdour Castle to see stunning examples.
- The inspiration for Jack Vettriano’s painting ‘Singing Butler’ was Leven beach. It’s the most reproduced painting and is Britain’s bestselling image.
- Dunfermline is Scotland’s ancient capital and stunning Dunfermline Abbey is the resting place of King Robert the Bruce as well as other Kings and Queens.
There are loads of fantastic events taking place this year. For the full What’s On, visit www.welcometoFife.com
- Festival of Architecture Shelters, Kirkcaldy Galleries
5 March – 5 June
- Revealing The Wemyss School of Needlework, St Andrews Museum
12 March – 15 May
- Open Studios North Fife
- Crail Food Festival
- Cupar Arts Festival
- Pittenweem Arts Festival