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A settlement is believed to have existed at Falkland prior to the 12th century, with the building of Falkland Castle Earls of Fife in 1160 resulted in the village of Falkland. It was granted royal burgh status in 1458.
King James IV built (1501 to 1513) his Royal Palace here, a hunting Lodge from which he enjoyed hunting in the nearby forests and hills. But because of the Royal Palace at Falkland never functioned in the same way as other royal burghs did.
Today Falkland is a very beautiful village, with quaint streets and alleyways, especially during the summer months when the flowers in the gardens and the hanging baskets are absolutely gorgeous. This also includes the wonderful Falkland Palace Gardens which are highly recommended to include in your visit along with your visit to Falkland Palace.
Architecturally, Falkland is of enormous interest, with many of the houses over 300 years old, it retains much of its medieval burgh layout being spared much of the 19th Century 'modernisation'.
A short historic trail through Falkland to some of the places and buildings of interest.
The Hunting Lodge (1607). Though the doorway was remodelled in the 19th Century, the first floor windows have the original mouldings and there is an inscriptive panel expressing the householder's loyal sentiments.
Horsemarket, the site of weekly markets, horse-trading and annual fairs. Look out for the marriage lintels here. You will also find an excellent example of a traditional Fife forestair, found on the outside of a 17th C building, giving access to the upstairs of a building.
Sharp's Close is a typical ancient wynd, narrow and cobbled, with single storey weavers' cottages stepped up the slope. All Falkland's streets were once cobbled like this.
Falkland's Old Burial Ground is located off the High Street just beyond these cottages.
The Reading Room of 1850. Here Thomas Drysdale, a local stonemason would read newspapers, pamphlets and books to other inhabitants of the Burgh who would gather round to hear the latest news and stories.
The Royal (or real) Tennis Court, built by James V in 1539, is the oldest surviving court of its type in the world. It was used by the Stuart monarchs, their courtiers and servants for recreation.
Falkland Palace and Gardens, built in the early 1500s, was the country residence of the Stuart monarchs. Here they hunted deer & wild boar, went hawking & played royal tennis on a court built in 1539, which is still in use.
Falkland Palace Gardens are well worth visiting and enjoying in their own right, being beautifully maintained with large lawns, flowerbeds and many lovely features. (See above for details).