Known as Scotland’s most picturesque village, Culross is a wonderful place to step back in time and appreciate this fine example of a preserved Stuart burgh.
Once a bustling 17th-century port, it’s often featured in film and TV and will be familiar to fans of the Outlander series.
Culross is a working village, still inhabited, with a pub and cafés. Its steep winding cobbled streets, lined with distinctive, red-roofed houses, run from the market cross to the hilltop abbey.
Visit Culross to see the Palace and Gardens, the Town House - formerly used as a courthouse and prison where so-called witches awaited execution, the Study - a former merchants' house, and the remains of Culross Abbey.
Look out for inscriptions on some of the older houses and look above the doorways to spot marriage lintels – usually initials and a heart to celebrate marriage.
On the cobbled alley of the Back Causeway, you can see a raised walkway that separated the noblemen from the commoners.
The abbey dates from the 13th century and was once home to a community of monks and lay brothers. Its remains lie on a steep slope beside the present-day church which is worth a look inside. Framed by beech trees, there’s a lovely sense of peace here plus great views of the
Culross Palace, with its distinctive golden-coloured limewash, sits at the centre of the village. Although it’s called a palace, it’s more of a grand house with small rooms, connecting passageways and beautifully restored interiors. You’ll start with a short film giving you some key
information and can then explore at your own pace.
The period garden is absolutely stunning, complete with rare Scots Dumpy chickens and you can buy organic herbs, fruit and vegetables.
The other garden of note is the wonderful Culross Old Schoolyard Community Garden created by the community and featured on BBCs ‘Charlies Garden Army’.
For Outlander enthusiasts, The Mercat Cross area featured as the fictional village of Cranesmuir, home to Geillis. Behind Culross Palace was the location for Claire’s herb garden in Castle Leoch. The ruined church (which was the Black Kirk in season one), is just a short stroll from the village centre. The town also served as the backdrop to the Jacobite encampment in season two plus makeshift hospital scenes. It also doubled as the location of Balriggan Cottage where Laoghaire and her daughter Joan lived in season four.
Under the protection of National Trust Scotland, Culross is open to all. Entrance to the Town House, Study and Palace and Gardens is via paid admission only.