Visitor's guide to Kirkcaldy (pronounced "kir-coddy") which literally means "place of the hard fort". This town in Fife has been overrun by development but the town's Museum and Art Gallery has some of the finest works of Scottish painters.
Kirkcaldy is one of Scotland's most ancient burghs that has a history dating back to the 11th century. It was the first town to use the power loom, which revolutionised the weaving industry. The biggest attraction of Kirkcaldy is the street fair held on Easter, which is Europe's longest street fair, with over 200 fairground rides and attractions.
Kirkcaldy forms an ideal base to explore the Fife coast and the East Neuk villages or to indulge in a range of outdoor pursuits including golf. Its sea front that extends all along the north of the Firth of Forth, makes it one of the longest in Europe. Kirkcaldy also has the distinction of being one of the “greenest” towns in Scotland that has many green spaces and parks .
Local Sights & Activities for Kirkcaldy
Museum and Art Gallery
The Museum and Art Gallery is in the War Memorial Gardens next to the railway station. There is a good archaeological collection and you can learn about the area's social, industrial and natural history. The small art gallery has an excellent collection of Scottish colourists, including work by William McTaggart, Peploe, Lowry, Sickert and Raeburn. There are also displays of the local Wemyss Ware pottery. All year daily Mon-Sat 1030-1700, Sun 1400-1700. Free. Tel. 412860.
Adam Smith Centre
Across from the War Memorial Gardens is the Adam Smith Centre, named after one of the town's most famous sons, the pioneer economist and author of The Wealth of Nations in 1776. The centre stages live theatre and concerts and also has a cinema and restaurant/bar, Tel. 412929. In the High Street among the many shops, you'll find the birthplace of Adam Smith. At the old burgh school there's a plaque recording that both he and Robert Adam, the famous architect, were pupils there in the 1730s, and that Thomas Carlyle, the historian and essayist, taught there nearly 100 years later.
Ravenscraig Castle towers dramatically above the park of the same name, at the east end of the town, on a rocky promontory guarding the wide bay. The ruin dates from 1460, when James II intended it as a dower house for his wife. The castle was the first in Britain to be designed specifically for defence by and against cannon fire and you can see the wide gun loops in the massive thick walls. Near the castle, the steps that lead from the high-rise flats in Nether Road down to the beach should number 39 and are said to have inspired John Buchan to write his famous novel.
Dysart, the eastern suburb of Kirkcaldy, is a little burgh dating back to the 16th century and is full of character, with its delightful little wynds and courtyards and old houses with crow-stepped gables and pan-tiled roofs. Dysart was once a busy trading port with the Netherlands. Now all that remains is the little harbour, perfectly set below the ancient battlements of St Serf's church.
The Pan Ha' & McDougall Stuart Museum
The Pan Ha', an area of 17th-century houses, was restored by the NTS, as was the McDougall Stuart Museum. This house, dated 1575, was the birthplace of John McDougall Stuart, the first man to cross Australia from north to south, in 1866. The award-winning museum charts the story of Stuart and his fascinating and often dangerous expedition. Jun-Aug daily 1400-1700. Free .Tel. 412860.
Kirkcaldy Hotels & Accommodation
Lawyers Self catering accommodation : Self catering accommodation all year round, short stays or long term. Commuting facilities available from Monday to Friday. Sleeps 2; Ideal for Business/Commuting or holidays