Dunfermline is a town in the Kingdom of Fife which was first recorded in 508AD and has an impressive history as it was once the capital of Scotland and was home to Queen Margaret and Malcolm Canmore. The town has good transport links with two train stations, a new bus station and easy access to the M90 motorway meaning that Edinburgh is less than half an hour away and it's location in the Central belt means that it is easily accessible from the rest of Scotland.
The Heritage quarter of Dunfermline is where you will find Scotland's other Royal Mile with Dunfermline Abbey, Andrew Carnegies Birthplace and Abbot House all within easy walking distance of each other.
Abbot House, known locally as "The Pink Hoose" is a fascinating way to spend a couple of hours. The house which was once the administrative headquarters of the Benedictine Abbey survived the great fire of Dunfermline in 1624 and has now been restored to give a picture of the history of the house and town over the centuries. The house in now run by volunteers who will give you a guided tour of the building and you will learn about who occupied the house over the years and the history of Dunfermline including it's industrial past and witch trials. Abbot House also has a brilliant tea room on the ground floor which is well known for its range of delicious light meals, drinks and cakes.
Dunfermline Abbey dates back to 1072 and was built by King David I in memory of Queen Margaret. The Abbey is still in use today as a place of worship and visitors can come to see the place where Robert The Bruce and seven other kings are laid to rest. The Abbey also has magnificent stained glass windows each telling a story about Dunfermline's past. The graveyard contains a number of graves of interest in peaceful surroundings. Every Sunday morning at around 11am you can hear the Abbey bells sing out before the weekly service and the music can be heard in the streets of the town.
Andrew Carnegie is Dunfermline's most famous son and visitors can visit the cottage where he was born which has now been extended and refurbished into a museum. The museum tells Andrew Carnegie's story and you learn how he went from his humble beginnings in Dunfermline in the 19th century to being one of the richest men in the world and the father of modern philanthropy.
Pittencrieff Park, known locally as The Glen, used to be the playground of kings and one of the entrances is right beside the Abbey. When Andrew Carnegie was a boy he used to gaze longingly through the gates of the park which was off limits to the ordinary people of Dunfermline and after he had made his millions he bought the park and gifted it to the people of the town in 1903. The glen is a real treasure enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. You can walk up to the ruins of Malcolm Canmore's tower, see the ruins of the palace, visit the cave where Robert The Bruce famously met a spider, visit the museum or greenhouses, let your kids play at the park or simply relax and enjoy a wander through the trees with the sounds of nature surrounding you. You might be lucky and see the peacocks which roam free in the park, if not you can feed the squirrels and birds.
There are various special events during the year in Dunfermline. Every year the town hosts The Bruce festival, there are continental markets in the run up to Christmas and every year people come from miles around to watch the fireworks display on November the 5th.
If you fancy going shopping during your time in Dunfermline then the newly refurbished Kingsgate centre at the top of the High Street has branches of major stores like New Look, The Body Shop and Debenhams. The shopping centre unfortunately resembles many others in Britain. If you wander a bit off the beaten track into the side streets then you will find independent shops with some character and a wide range of goods on sale.
There's plenty going on in the evening to keep culture vultures amused as the town has two theatres. The Carnegie Hall which is owned and run by Fife council has a programme of plays, musical events and a yearly pantomime. The newly re opened Alhambra theatre has attracted some huge names over the past year including Jimmy Carr, Tim Minchin, One Night Of Queen and Vampires rock and also holds old fashioned cinema nights so you can experience the atmosphere that existed when the Alhambra first opened its doors in the 1920s.
There are many restaurants in the town ranging from fast food joints to Indian, Mexican, Chinese and Italian restaurants. The town has a number of pubs and nightclclubs although like many British towns there is a problem with binge drinking and those who prefer a quieter life might want to avoid the town centre after midnight when the pubs and clubs start to empty.
Dunfermline has grown over the past few years and the east side of the town now has a leisure park with a range of restaurants, a 10 screen Odeon cinema, a bowling alley and even a Florida style crazy golf course.
Dunfermline probably does not have enough to keep the visitor occupied for more than a couple of days but for those with a keen interest in history it can either be a base to explore the rest of Scotland or makes a good day trip for those staying in Edinburgh.
Dunfermline is an old historic town in the Fife region of Scotland and was once the capital of Scotland. Its population is in the region of 150,000 which makes it one the highest populated towns in Fife. In terms of tourist attractions, Dunfermline does have a few to offer! Dunfermline Abbey is easily accessibly from the high street and is complemented by Abbot House Heritage Centre, where you can learn a lot about the history of Dunfermline with a guided tour. You can also visit the birthplace of Andrew Carnegie, which has its own museum, and Saint Margaret's Cave which is where the Queen of Scotland used to pray. In terms of shopping, Dunfermline isn't exactly thrilling. There is a high street with a mixture of large chains such as Early Learning Centre and smaller chains / independent shops. There is also a shopping centre which was recently extended and now includes a large Debenhams store. Dunfermline also has two small retail parks featuring retailers such as B&Q, Comet and Focus. As a resident of Dunfermline, I do find the town lacking in interesting shops and entertainment, however I do feel that it has historic appeal to tourists.
Dunfermline is a large town in west Fife. It was once Scotland''s capital and therefore has quite a rich history. The history of the town can be seen in detail by visiting Dunfermline Abbey and Palace, Abbot House and St Margarets Cave. Dunfermline is also the birth place of Andrew Carnegie and the original Carnegie Hall is here. You can also find out more about this amazing man by visiting the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum. You can also enjoy Pittencrieff Park (gifted to the town by Carnegie) which is a beautiful big park with play facilities and a small museum - lovely for a wander on a sunny day! Dunfermline is also a busy town with many small and large businesses. The shopping centre has just been refurbished with a large new Debenhams store alongside most other chain shops you would expect to find. There are also a couple of retail parks offering shops such as Comet, Pets At Home, Asda, etc. The town has many schools and also benefits from having a large college. An easy commute to Edinburgh (approx 30 mins) and Perthj (1 hour approx) and also handy for the many other towns and villages of Fife.
From a tourist's point of view, Dunfermline is one of Scotland's most historic locations with points of historical importance including the Dunfermline Abbey where Robert The Bruce is laid to rest, Abbot House just off the grounds of the Abbey and Andrew Carnegie's birth place museum is just down the street. The town offers plenty of things to visit and see as a tourist.
If shopping is what your after, then this is where Dunfermline will let you down. They have the regular Asda and Tesco, and a few smaller supermarkets dotted around. There is also two small retail parks, one comprising of B&Q, Halfords, and a few other DIY type stores, and the other being mainly electronics type stores. The King's Gate Mall in the centre of town is nothing more than a let down with very few shops, although a new extension so the shopping centre is due for completion in 2009 which is hopefully going to be a great improvement.
I've been living in Dunfermline for six months now, and I have to admit it's growing on me. It's also just plain growing - and fast. More and more people are moving outside Edinburgh in search of cheaper living, and there are always plenty of diggers to be seen around the town as the green belt grows steadily narrower. Dunfermline prides itself on being one of the oldest towns in the country - in fact, in days of yore, Dunfermline was actually the capital of Scotland. Must have been before they had cities... The town centre is small, and all the attractions are within walking distance of each other, but the surrounding areas are fairly spread out, with four overcrowded secondary schools taking in pupils from the large catchment area. Like any town, there are affluent and poor areas, although not to the extremes that you might find in Glasgow. So, let's go for a walk... As you come into Dunfermline off the M90 there is Duloch park, a small leisure park including an Odeon cinema, Pizza Hut, MacDonalds, and a Bannatynes gymn for afters! The Odeon is modern, with around 10 screens, but there is still a fairly limited choice of films - quite often we miss out completely on film releases, as some films are shown on two or three screens at a time to accomodate the large audiences. Monday night special, all tickets £3. Driving into town, you'll pass the "stadium" (or Subbuteo field) where the Dunfermline footie team (The Pars) strut their stuff. Parking in this area is shocking whenever there is a match on, so steer clear if you see the colours out on the street. The bus station is situated next to the Kingdom centre, a shopping arcade with the usual high street stores - and nothing extra. Etams, Electronics Boutique and Marks and Spencers is about as exotic as you get in Dunfermline. But it's not to be sniffed at - there's no trudging around for hours to get between shops. All t
he shops are very close together, with one main street (High Street) and side streets going off it for pubs, bakeries and newsagents. The High Street is a haven for charity shop junkies, with about 6 in the space of one block, all vying for people's spare time and unwanted bric a brac. The Sue Ryder shop just off the High Street and opposite the park is particularly enticing, with no order of any kind - everything just lies about in piles. I have come across some real bargains in that shop, hiding away like treasure beneath the junk. Stepping back out into the sunshine (well, there is sometimes) you will find yourself at the gates of Pittencrieff Park, or "The Glen", as it is fondly referred to by the people of the town. Pittencrieff park consists of several acres of unspoilt grass and trees, streams and waterfalls. The Glen is home to many squirrels, rabbits, peacocks and other wildlife. The park was given to the people of Dunfermline by Andrew Carnegie, a hero in the eyes of the townspeople. When Carnegie was a child, he and his friends were banned from the Laird's estate, although they longed to play in the wide spaces, among the trees and streams. Well, Carnegie grew up and made himself a millionaire, and bought the park for the townspeople, so that no greedy laird should ever keep it from them. A small museum near the entrance tells Carnegie's story in more detail, as well as a mining museum in the top floor, and a changing exhibition on the first floor. The park is a real beauty spot, and well worth a visit. The other main tourist attraction in Dunfermline is Abbot House, and the ajoining Abbey. Both are free to enter, with a gallery and museum in Abbot House. Opt for a guided tour, where you will be given detailed stories about the pictures and artifacts you will find inside. The library is housed in a large old building, and may also be of interest, especially to Historians. So you've spent a day sightseeing, and now you're thirsty. For a friendly banter, and a good pint, try Somewhere Else, a small pub on Guildhall Street. Later in the evening, head down to PJ Molloys round the corner from Somewhere Else, where there is live music playing downstairs, and a disco upstairs. Be prepared for a squash, but everyone is really friendly and up for a laugh. Dunfermline also has several concerts, plays, performances and films going on throughout the year, both prefessional and amateur. These usually take place at the Carnegie Hall, which is all lit up, and quite attractive after dark. For a swim or other sport, the Carnegie Centre is a five minute walk from the bus station. The only thing Dunfermline really lacks is some good places to eat out. There are several Chinese and a couple of Indian restaurants, but not really a great deal of choice. A word about personal safety - I have not yet had a problem with safety since I have come to live in Dunfermline. However, every week in the local papers I read about attacks, violence and other scary stories. Sometimes the names are familiar. The street names often are. I don't want to put you off, but if you do come to Dunfermline, be sensible about safety - don't wander the streets alone after dark, try to avoid shortcuts and dark alleyways, and hang on to your wallet! The driving and parking can also leave a lot to be desired - few drivers adhere to speed limits, and there have been at least 3 fatal road accidents in the last 6 months. If you're coming for a visit, don't plan to spend weeks here, there really isn't *that* much to do. But it is a good central place to base yourself if you're travelling around Fife and Edinburgh.