Life keeps taking me to Falkland. I first visited in May on my Scottish road trip from Berwickshire to the Hebrides, and loved it so much that I’ve traveled back again. From the stunning views of Falkland Palace to the pretty center where scenes from Outlander were filmed, the village’s beauty has convinced me that a day out in Falkland is a must on any trip to Scotland.
Day Out in Falkland, Scotland
Up in Fife, Falkland is just an hour’s drive from Edinburgh and feels wonderfully medieval. The village high street is dominated by church spires and palace towers, and every street has houses with flower baskets and colorful doors.
There are walking paths, storybook streams, and giant wheelbarrows full of blossoms. In short, Falkland is picture pretty.
This is partly because it was made Scotland’s first conservation village in 1970, helping it retain a charm that many other villages and towns have lost.
And the palace has a lot to do with it. My first trip to Falkland centered on the gardens, and this time I’m back for a look at the interiors.
Built in the 16th century, Falkland Palace is a prime example of French Renaissance architecture and was a favorite haunt of the Stuart kings and queens. Mary Queen of Scots was known to visit for hunting, hawking, and Real Tennis (the palace has the earliest surviving Real Tennis court in the world).
The gardens are stunning and the state rooms equally impressive. From a wood-paneled library with a secret room (swoon!) to a gorgeous chapel and beds with enormous carved posts, it has all the elements of a royal residence.
But there’s more to the village than just the palace, and a day out in Falkland wouldn’t be complete without a wander through the streets. The high street culminates in a beautiful combination of the Victorian Gothic Bruce Fountain, a cluster of colorful shops, and a turret (for good measure).
Around the corner, cobbled side streets reveal stone cottages and gardens hide miniature models of the village center. It’s all a photographer’s dream, and I can’t put my camera down.
But I do so long enough to walk down West Port, which leads to the lovely Centre for Stewardship and its outdoor cafe. Just beyond it lies the House of Falkland, an impressive historic residence that’s now a school.
Falkland beyond the Village
Beyond the house and village, Falkland is rife with walking paths. Some meander along streams, others climb up into the Lomond Hills. I explore as many as I can while I’m in town, soaking up Fife’s natural beauty as I go.
At the end of my visit, there’s only one place left to see: Pillars of Hercules. This quirky organic farm shop and cafe has come highly recommended, but it’s closed by the time I arrive. It’s no matter, though. I’ll save it for my next trip, which I’m sure won’t be long in coming.
How about you? How would you spend a day out in Falkland, Scotland?