- Created: March 10, 2017
- Distance Instructions
- Distance 5 km
- Duration 1 h 20 min
- AVG speed 4.0 km/h
- Min altitude 0 m
- Peak 0 m
- Climb 0 m
- Descent 0 m
Dunfermline is a fascinating town to explore on foot.
This walking route takes the walker on a tour around the town’s most notable historic locations.
This walk is suitable for most walkers but there are parts that will present an issue to those with limited walking abilities but these sections can be easily bypassed. We have graded the route as being Grade 2/3. This route will take between 2-4 hours to walk but you can easily spend the whole day exploring the town.
The walking begins in the car park of Pittencreiff Park “ The Glen” (www.fifedirect.org.uk/pittencrieff) but the route can be started from anywhere in the town. There are plenty of car parks available in the area and the town can be reached by bus and rail easily.
The 76 acre park was gifted to the people of Dunfermline in 1902 by the famous industrialist, philanthropist and son of the town, Andrew Carnegie and it is one of the towns favourite attractions in the summer months thanks to its play park, peacocks and lively squirrels.
The route takes the walker past the children’s play park towards the Glen Pavilion. The Pavilion is a Art Deco style building which is used for all sorts of occasions and events. Situated in the east side of the building is the Peacock Rooms Cafe which is a nice place to stop for a cuppa of a ice cream. There are toilets within the cafe and also in a nearby toilet block which is located next to a small walled garden (OS Grid Ref. NT 0865 8724).
The next stop on the route is the Pittencrieff House Museum. The building was originally built on 1610 and was once a home but in recent years was made into a small museum. Children will enjoy the ‘Magic of the Glen’ exhibit on the ground floor.
Moving on from the museum the next stop to explore is the gardens and glasshouse. The glasshouse has long been a favourite of kids and grown-ups alike and holds a variety of exotic and tropical plants. The gardens offer a pleasant place to stop and enjoy the colourful and diverse mix of plantings.
Leaving the gardens the route takes the walker down the hill towards the southern entrance to the park. The route then heads out of the park and towards the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum (www.carnegiebirthplace.com). The museum is, as it’s name suggests, the birthplace of Andrew Carnegie and offers an interesting insight to the story of one of Dunfermline’s most famous sons. Admission to the museum is free of charge.
From the museum the route then heads along Priory Lane and onwards to Dunfermline Public Park. The park sits on a slope from the town down towards the railway station. There is a small play park for kids to enjoy and there is plenty of open space to enjoy. One of the most notable features of the park is the Louise Carnegie Bandstand (OS Grid Ref. NT 0976 8730) which is a beautiful example of Victorian public design.
As you follow the route up the hill the second notable feature of the park comes into view. The Donald Fountain (OS Grid Ref. 0974 8754) was gifted to the park Provost Donald of Dunfermline in 1887. Sadly the fountain is not longer operational but it is another example of typical monument design from the Victorian era.
The route then heads across the footbridge and passes the Carnegie Hall (www.onfife.com/venues/carnegie-hall), a popular public venue for shows and events. The hall opened in 1937 and remains the main theatre in the town. There is an opportunity for walkers to stop off here for a cuppa and rest break in Tiffany’s the venue’s in-house cafe and bar.
The next leg of the walk follows East Port towards the High Street. The next feature to note is the interesting Mercat Cross (OS Grid Ref. NT 0910 8747) which sits in the middle of the pedestrianised busy main street. This is a Victorian interpretation of what would have been situated in the centre of the town to mark it’s market place. The cross also marks a turn in the route which then heads down Guildhall Street past the site of the new Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries building which houses the town’s new museum (opens mid-May 2017 - www.onfife.com/venues/dunfermline-carnegie-library-galleries).
The route then turns in to the grounds of the well-known and skyline grabbing Dunfermline Abbey (www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/dunfermline-abbey-and-palace/).
Some of Scotland’s greatest medieval monarchs were laid to rest at Dunfermline Abbey such as Robert the Bruce whose name is built into the tower of the structure itself. The Abbey and it’s grounds are fascinating to explore as are the ruins of the Royal Palace. There is also access to the nearby equally historic Abbot House which is due to reopen in the near future. The palace grounds are maintained Historic Scotland and there is a fee to enter this area but it is free if you are a member. The Abbey and it’s grounds are free to access and explore.
Leaving Dunfermline Abbey the route heads through the town’s historic quarter and towards Bruce Street where you turn off towards one of the town’s main car park via some steep steps. Hidden in the corner of the car park is St Margaret’s Cave (www.onfife.com/venues/st-margarets-cave). Legend has it that Queen Margaret stopped in the cave to pray over 900 years ago and is an unusual to visit and has a unique atmosphere . This location is not suitable for those with limited walking ability as to access the cave you have to walk down 87 steep steps.
Leaving the cave the walk heads back to Pittencrieff Park through the very grand Louise Carnegie Memorial Gates and into the park. The route follows one of the main pathways down in to heart of the park.
The first stop on this second visit is a small wooden folly (OS Grid Ref. NT 0869 9731) that overlooks the burn that flows through the park and lower part of the “Glen”. This area is full of squirrels looking for treats so bringing a bag of seeds or peanuts will guarantee you a closer look - great for kids. The folly is not suitable for those with limited walking ability due to the muddy and uneven stone steps.
Leaving the folly the route heads back on the main pathway and heads towards over the bridge that spans the glen below and towards the ruins of Malcolm’s Tower (OS Grid Ref. NT 0877 8731) which is though by many to be where Dunfermline first began. The ruins require a lot of imagination for kids to understand what once stood here as tall that remains are the rocky foundations of a wall but it is well worth stopping by when exploring the park. The ruins are not suitable for those with limited walking ability due to the muddy paths and uneven stone steps.
The route heads back over the bridge and towards the Glen Pavilion where turning right the trail takes the walker to the imposing statue of Andrew Carnegie which overlooks the park. From the statue you can then walk back towards the car park and your starting point.
This is a pleasant walk though Dunfermline's history and takes in most of the interesting locations found throughout the town. Spring and Summer are the best seasons to take on this route as the parks are simply stunning and offers many great views over the surrounding area.
Route shared by the Walk Fife team
View route on OS Maps -
1. Start - Pittencrieff Park
The walking begins in the car park of Pittencreiff Park “ The Glen” but the route can be started from anywhere in the town. There are plenty of car parks available in the area and the town can be reached by bus and rail easily.
2. End - Pittencrieff Park
Spring and Summer are the best seasons to take on this route as the parks are simply stunning and offers many great views over the surrounding area.