The Picturesque riverside village of Culross situated near the western edge of the Kingdom of Fife offers a fantastic insight into how a Scottish village would have been in the 16th century. The village gained international notoriety when the streets, buildings and gardens were used in the filming of hit US TV series Outlander.
Exploring the historic cobble sett streets of Culross, it is easy to envisage what life would have been like for the fishing community who lived here. Narrow streets are lined with small tiled cottages and the roadway is constructed using stone salvaged from the nearby seabed. With little modern development in the village it is a picture-postcard location that is often overlooked despite its proximity to Edinburgh.
Probably the most notable building in Culross is the Palace, an intriguing 16th century lodging. Whilst not a royal palace, King James VI did visit in 1617. It was the home of local Merchant Sir George Bruce and the building is something of a shrine to Bruce’s international trade with building materials being sourced from around Europe including Dutch roof tiles and Baltic Pine. Culross Palace was used extensively for scenes in Outlander, standing in as Geillis Duncan’s parlour, for the Jacobite meeting where Jamie swears his oath to Bonnie Prince Charlie and a bedroom scene when Jamie and Claire’s visit a village. The garden at Culross Palace was also used as Claire’s herb garden.
At the top of the village is Culross Abbey founded in 1217 replacing an ancient Pictish settlement probably dating back to the 6th century. It was semi-destroyed when the monks who lived there moved out around 1500 and although a resurgence was planned in the mid-16th century, the Reformation and banning of Catholic mass meant that this never happened.
Between the Palace and the Abbey is the Mercat Cross, a public meeting place found in many Scottish towns and Villages. The entire area was re-painted and used in Outlander for a number of scenes such as when a boy is nailed to the Pillory and also the witch trial of Gillies Duncan in fictional Cranesmuir.
Culross is now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland.