Places to Visit in Scotland
- Aberdour Castle and St Fillan's Church, Fife
History of Aberdour Castle
Construction of the original Aberdour Castle on the coast of Fife was started around 1200 by the de Mortimer family. It passed to the Douglas> family in 1342 and has remained with them ever since. The head of the branch of the Douglases resident here became Earl of Morton in 1456 and the 4th Earl was Regent for the young King James VI>. The 6th Earl imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots> in Loch Leven Castle> in 1567/68. The 7th Earl supported King Charles I> and as a result the Morton family declined somewhat thereafter.
Although originally built as a defensive tower house, it was enlarged over the centuries and became a comfortable manor house with extensive formal walled and terraced gardens. The property is now administered by Historic Scotland. There is also a large dovecote in the grounds.
Historic Scotland run a small tearoom in the castle and you can take your purchases onto picnic tables on a terrace beside the castle when the weather is fine.
In addition to a terrace garden beside the castle, there is also a walled garden beside the castle. The large area of grass in the centre is carefully tended and there is a "keep off the grass" sign. But it's a pity that the herbaceous border running round the four walls of the garden are not so well maintained. While there are many fine flowering plants there, they were having a struggle to fight against the encroaching weeds during my last visit to Aberdour (in June 2003).
St Fillan's Church
The first owners of Aberdour dedicated a chapel to St Fillan near to the castle in the early 12th century. Part of St Fillan's church, dating from at least 1123 (and possibly earlier), still survive. The delightful church nestles close by the castle. Although it became derelict at one stage it has been restored and is now again used as the local parish church. There are some pretty shrubs and flowers growing in the grounds.
Elsewhere in Aberdour
Aberdour itself is a pretty coastal village and leading away from the main street is the "Fife Coastal Path." At this point, the path runs between the local golf course and the gardens of some private houses. Further along, there are views across the Firth of Forth to Edinburgh on the horizon (see illustration below). If you are lucky, you may see some ships passing by, including the Zeebrugge "Superfast" ferry which sails from Rosyth, a few miles along the Fife coast.
How to Find Aberdour and Aberdour Castle
Aberdour is on the south coast of Fife, a few miles east of the Forth road and rail bridges. The approach to the castle, off the main A921 coast road, is beside Aberdour railway station which won the title of "best kept station in Scotland" for eleven successive years.
For a detailed location map, see StreetMap UK. (Note that you can access a larger scale map of the area via that Web page).
You can find out more about the area generally at a Kingdom of Fife> page on this site.
Return to the Main Index of Places to Visit>
Where else would you like to go in Scotland?
News & Views>
All Features Index>
Search This Site>
Scottish Pictorial Calendar>
Places to Visit>