The Modern Town of Glenrothes

For nearly 10 years I worked in the town Glenrothes, a town that is in sharp contrast to some of the more historic towns of Fife. There are few old buildings and on the whole it is considered a 'New Town'. It is located in the centre of the Kingdom and was designed in 1948 when the coalmines were being expanded and over 3500 miners relocated from Lanarkshire.

Although the coal mining history did not survive long, the town's Development Corporation had made plans in the early stages to ensure there was mixed industry which it had already thanks to the various mills.

The closure of the Rothes Colliery in 1962 was a real blow to the town, but further industrial development came when electronic and light industrial firms were attracted into the area. This resulted in the growth and development of local services such as shopping centre, offices, community and council buildings, libraries, sporting facilities, parks and of course homes.

Before going any further, I suggest you also check out the Things to do in Fife pages. It will help you with what to do not inly in Glenrothes, but also I'm sure you'll find plenty of things for the whole family throughout the Kingdom.

Hippo Sculpture in the Park Glenrothes

Hippo Sculpture in the Park Glenrothes

Today Glenrothes has grown into a pleasant modern town, fully embracing the 21st century. It is famous for some of its modern sculptures, which are displayed within the town shopping Centre and elsewhere. Within the Kingdom Centre you'll find the Rothes Halls which has a great programme of events and shows.

Sculpture Seat within the Kingdom Shopping Centre

Sculpture Seat within the Kingdom Shopping Centre


Glenrothes is home to the administrative centre of the local Fife Council and has a population of nearly 40,000. Unlike many other new towns that emerged in post war Britain that were overflows of cities, Glenrothes is situated in the centre of rural Fife with no big city nearby. So it is seen as a community in its own right and not just a large suburb of a major city.

It is home to the award-winning Shopping Centre, The Kingdom Centre.

Kingdom Shopping Centre

Glenrothes Kingdom Centre



It is a town with wide, open, green spaces, with what seems like dozens of roundabouts (this can be very confusing for the non-British driver). It has a large and lovely riverside park, numerous Golf Courses and other sporting facilities. There is also good rail and road links so it is easy to get to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen or Inverness.

Sculpture of Irises

Iris sculpture


It is also home to "Fife International Airport" but I'm afraid this delightful little runway is used for small, mostly private aircrafts rather than commercial flights. But you WILL find a lovely Restaurant there, well worth a visit.

Just a short distance from Glenrothes is Markinch, whose train station serves Glenrothes and surrounding villages. This was originally a Pictish settlement and there is still evidence at Balbirnie Park of the Stone Circle.

The majestic St Drostan's Church dating back to the 11th century is the focal point. At one point it was a stop-over place for royalty en route to Falkland Palace.



Markinch Church

Markinch Church

The small railway station which opened in 1847 is still busy today, and indeed if I want to go across to Edinburgh I will take the train from Markinch, relax and enjoy the scenic coastal trip and not have the hassle of trying to park in the city.

For hundreds of years the famous Balfour Family were the landowners and main employers in the area. They owned coalmines, paper mills, and wool mills, spinning works. The town was also home to the Haig's distillery and the closure of that in the 1970's greatly affected the town. However, the huge paper mill, Tullis Russell which began in 1806 is still a major employer in the area today.

One of my favourite things about Markinch however is the famous

Highland Games which takes place in June at John Dixon Park in Markinch. Many small towns across Scotland hold annual Highland Games, but this one is renowned for being one of the oldest, going back to the 1800's.

If you are visiting Fife when these Highland Games are on, and want to really taste a little of our fun and culture, then please go along. It is usually only a few pound (£s) for the tickets and is a really a great 'day out'.

Band Playing at Highland Games

Band Playing



The usual Highland Games events take place with competitors of all ages taking part. You'll see Highland Dancing, piping, running, cycling as well as the traditional 'tossing the caber' contest and weight throwing.

The games attract star names too, with the Geoff Capes, Olympic medalist competing a number of years back and just a few years ago, Dougray Scott, the Glenrothes-born actor who starred with Tom Cruise in "Mission Impossible 2" was Games Chieftain.

Like all good Highland Games, you'll also find stands selling souvenirs and refreshments around the area.

I mentioned on my page about Falkland the backdrop to that town was the 20 square mile hills of East and West Lomond. From Glenrothes you see the other side of these fabulous hills.


To learn more about other places and things to see and do, see also the following:-

Maps and Weather - Find your way around and be prepared for the weather!
Anstruther - Explore this lovely fishing village and treat yourself to some delicious Fish and Chips.
Auchtermuchty - This lovely place (my home) is also home to a great Festival every year in August.
Bridges - See the lovely and even awesome bridges that might be your way into the Enchanting Kingdom for things to see and do in Scotland!
Falkland - Let the enchanting Falkland Palace transport you back a few centuries. Go for a walk up the Lomond Hills and stop for a 'yummy' bit to eat in Falkland.
Kirkcaldy - The 'Lang Toun', one of the largest towns in Fife.
St. Andrews - The 'Home' of golf, and the oldest University in Scotland, wonderful beaches, and the the history of St Andrew and the saltire.
Pittenweem - Visit this scenic fishing village and home to Pittenweem Arts Festival.
Highland Games Categories - Visit the Highland Games at Markinch.
Tossing the Caber - or as people from out of Scotland refer to it as 'poles tossed by Scots'.


Return from Glenrothes to Things to See and Do in Scotland




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