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The Ancient Capital Of Scotland
Dunfermline in General
Member Name: wigglylittleworm
Dunfermline in General
Date: 07/10/09, updated on 09/10/09 (399 review reads)
Advantages: History, museums, theatres, parks
Disadvantages: Binge drinkers spoiling town centre after dark
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.
Summary: A nice place for a day visit
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