Friday, 14 October 2016


When you think about the most beautiful places in Scotland, I think you could be forgiven if your mind didn't immediately settle on Fife. However, there's one place in particular that I think is truly special, and that is the former royal burgh of Culross.

Stepping into Culross is quite like stepping into a time machine; this is like walking straight into a 17th century Burgh. It's a quiet, peaceful little coastal village with buildings that you could spend hours walking amongst. If I won the lottery, Culross would definitely be up there in the top locations I'd like to own a house in.

One of the main attractions in Culross is the 'Palace', built between 1597 and 1611 by the merchant and engineer George Bruce, Laird of Carnock. Bruce was a wealthy coal merchant, and so he built the palace as basically a 16th century mansion. It was never a royal residence, although James VI and I did visit.

The palace is now maintained by the National Trust for Scotland, and you can visit to explore the rooms complete with painted ceilings and antique furniture. The garden at Culross Palace is also lovely; it's worth waiting till the summer months so that you get the full affect from the herbs, vegetables and other plants that would've been standard in the 17th century.

On our most recent visit we decided to go somewhere I'd not been before - Culross Abbey. The abbey is on the hillside above Culross. It was populated with Cistercian monks, and was established in 1217. Part of the abbey is still in use today as the local parish church, but the rest is in ruins now cared for by Historic Scotland. The abbey was built on the site of an earlier Pictish church that Saint Serf founded in the 6th century.

Can we just take a minute to have a little discussion about these early medieval Saints? Because their lives are bizarre. So apparently St Serf's just chillin' in Culross, while in East Lothian a princess called Teneu becomes pregnant after being raped by a Welsh prince. Her dad goes ballistic and has her chucked off Traprain Law. She somehow survives being thrown off a bloody great hill and then drifts across the Forth in a coracle (look it up) before finally arriving in - you guessed it - Culross, where St Serf gives her shelter. She gives birth to Mungo, who also goes on to become a saint who can magically heal dead birds and things. All very odd. 

Anyway the ruined abbey is definitely worth a wander around. You do have to use your imagination a bit though, as it's quite difficult to picture what it would've looked like originally when you're standing in what would essentially have been the foundations. I made the mistake of climbing up a ladder to have a look around the remains of the Refectory; coming back down was quite an experience! Those steps were bloomin' steep.

The abbey also has some pretty cool legends associated with it; apparently there's a secret passage beneath it where a man on a golden chair is waiting to give treasure to whoever finds him (wish he'd made himself a bit more obvious, I could use all the help I can get...). Another story says that a piper and his dog went to try and search the passageway. The piper could be heard three quarters of a mile away, and eventually the dog resurfaced while the piper was never seen again. Now, listen. I love a ghost story as much as the next gal but I'm telling you that this exact same story is often told about a passageway from Edinburgh Castle underneath the Royal Mile. Why are all these people so keen to carry a bloody great set of bagpipes instead of oh, I don't know, a light of some variety?!

Back down in the village, we wandered along the medieval streets, until we hit the pier. Culross Pier is pretty awesome; although the original is basically in a state of ruin, visitors are encouraged to help restore it by taking a stone or two from the beach out along the wooden jetty to help rebuild the original. It was fairly blustery when we went but it was worth it all the same.

The fact that Culross is basically a living, breathing museum is so unique. It's like a step back in time in one of the most beautiful and picturesque places I've been to, and next summer I'd love to go back and wander through the Culross Palace gardens!

Have you ever been to Culross? Is there a hidden gem near where you live that you love visiting?

You can find the rest of my Blogtober posts here :)

1 comment

  1. Your photos are beautiful, I really want to see this place in the flesh as it were now

    Mel ★


© Adventure & Anxiety | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Designed by pipdig