Abbot House Heritage Centre

Abbot House exterior
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Abbot House is unique. It has borne witness to the intrigues of Church and State, survived fire and tempest, war and pillage and even outlasted much of the great Benedictine Abbey itself. Within its walls Abbots and Kings have consulted on affairs of State, while great poets like Henryson and Dunbar have declaimed their latest works. Hardly any aspect of Dunfermline's and Scotland's colourful history has failed to leave its mark.

In its time it has been an Abbot's home, a laird's mansion, an iron foundry and an art school. It has been steeped in history as wave after wave of events washed over it. Little wonder then that it refused to burn in the great fire of 1624. Forging armour for Bruce's freedom fighters, casting iron for power looms, or training pilots to fight the Luftwaffe, Abbot House has seen it all.

Now you can too. Abbot House opened to the public in 1995 as a heritage centre after a period of restoration and development by Elspeth King and Michael Donnelly (formerly of the People's Palace, Glasgow), with the help of Fife Council architect Peter Ranson. It is an experience not to be missed. Abbot House has been likened to Dr Who's tardis. It exterior is misleading as to the extent of its contents.

Like a medieval pilgrim you can visit the long-lost head shrine of Saint Margaret, the wife of King Malcolm III (Malcolm Canmore), skillfully recreated and now displayed within a rich interior conveying an impression of the lost colour and vitality of Dunfermline Abbey.

See Lady Anne Halkett, the extraordinary Jacobite adventuress, herbalist and midwife who lived in Abbot House, writing her daily diaries, composing her autobiography, and caring for the poor of the town. Visit the historic Maygate on the fateful day in 1624 when two thirds of the ancient capital burned to the ground, or drop in on William Skirving, the heroic Fife farmer who led the Friends of the People, and died a convict at Botany Bay for his beliefs. Scotland's earliest recorded painter was Richard of Dunfermline who in 1306 painted murals in Edinburgh. Abbot House has a number of murals, historic and brand new, courtesy of the artists and craftspeople who have worked to bring its history to life.

Venue Type:

Historic house or home, Sacred space, Heritage site, Garden, parklands or rural site

Opening hours

Daily 9.30 - 5

Admission charges

Free entry!

Collection details

Archaeology, Archives, Decorative and Applied Art, Medicine, Personalities, Religion, Science and Technology, Social History

Abbot House Heritage Centre
Abbot House
KY12 7NE




01383 733 266


01383 624 908

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.