Falkland Palace, Garden & Old Burgh
The Royal Palace of Falkland was the country residence of Stuart kings and queens when they hunted deer and wild boar in the Fife forest. Mary, Queen of Scots spent some of the happiest days of her tragic life here, ‘playing the country girl in the woods and parks’. The Palace was built between 1501 and 1541 by James IV and James V, replacing earlier castle and palace buildings dating from the 12th century, traces of which can still be seen in the grounds. The roofed South Range contains the Chapel Royal, and the East Range the King’s Bedchamber and the Queen’s Room, both restored by the Trust. The Keeper’s Apartments in the Gatehouse are now also on display. The palace contains fine portraits of the Stuart monarchs and two sets of 17th-century tapestry hangings.
The garden, designed and built by Percy Cane between 1947 and 1952, contains three herbaceous borders enclosing a wide lawn with many varieties of shrubs and trees. Here also is the original Royal Tennis Court – the oldest in Britain still in use – built in 1539. There is also a small herb garden border featuring quotations from John Gerard’s book Herball (1597). Exhibitions at Royal Tennis Court and at Town Hall.
In 1952, Major Michael Crichton Stuart, MC, MA, Hereditary Constable, Captain and Keeper of Falkland Palace, appointed the Trust as Deputy Keeper and provided an endowment fund for future upkeep. The palace still belongs to Her Majesty the Queen but is maintained and managed by the Trust. In 1970 the first Conservation Area in Scotland was established in Falkland, 4.5 ha (11 a) embracing the Palace with its gardens and orchard, and the adjoining oldest part of the royal burgh. This area is particularly rich in ‘little houses’, of which some 20 owe their restoration to the late Keeper or the Trust. Falkland Town Hall was bought by the Trust in 1986.
Historic house or home, Garden, parklands or rural site
1 Mar to 31 Oct, Mon-Sat 10-6, Sun 1-5.
Shop also open 1 Nov to 24 Dec, daily 10-4; 3 Jan to 28/29 Feb, hours vary: please contact property for details.