Falkland palace - entrance gateway flanked by two towers
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Falkland Palace looks strange. It has towers with little conical slate hats. It just doesn't look Scottish. The architecture, it seems, is Renaissance. Now, if like me you don't know what 'Renaissance' means, then let us just consult with our dictionairy... 'RENAISSANCE - the revival of arts and letters, the transition from the Middle Ages to the modern world.' So, is everyone quite happy with that? King Jameses are responsible (the plural of James is surely Jameses?). King James IV and King James V transformed the original castle on the site to more or less what you see today, and they did so in the Renaissance style. Sort of. But the thing is, they used French architects and craftsmen, which is why it looks more like a French chateau than a sturdy Scottish lump of stone. It's a fascinating place to wander around. You wander freely from room to room, and in each you will find a guide poised to deliver a small speech. They're all good guides, full of interesting information, and if they sense you're not into small speeches they'll leave you alone. I find old buildings like this much more enjoyable if you sneak from room to room making a low groaning noise along the lines of, 'Eeeeeuuuaarrghheeuch!' If nothing else, such audible frolics certainly give the guides something to think about as you approach their room.
In addition to period rooms full of old dark wood, magnificent tapestries and ancient sumptuously-carved four-poster beds, there are gardens. As well as flowers and trees and grass, all arranged in a most fitting manner, there is an old tennis court dating to 1539. All in all, Falkland Palace is a lovely old building and you should not miss it. [Opens 1st March to 31st October.]
If you look at an Ordnance Survey map (OS Sheet 59 St Andrews and Kirkcaldy, 1:50000 scale or one-and-a-quarter inches to a mile) you'll see a few potential walks around Falkland. The one that pops right out of the map is the path up and down East Lomond Hill. Views from the top are sure to be stunning, but just remember it's a hill, and there will be steep bits, and maybe some mud now and then.
Another little walk might be on the minor road (yellow on the map) that heads west from Falkland, on the north side of East Lomond Hill. It wanders off the map (and onto adjacent map number 58), up Maspie Den, by Easter Glasslie and Pitkevy, curving around the hill and coming eventually to Leslie, beside Glenrothes. It's almost six miles, and once in Leslie you can sup some decent ale in the Burns Tavern at 184 High Street. Have fun.
East Lomond Hill

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Flowers in the garden of Falkland Palace
The interior ruins of Falkland Palace