With its cobbled streets, narrow wynds, and old tollbooth on the shores of the Firth of Forth, Culross (pronounced Koo-ross) is said to be best-preserved 17th-century town in Scotland. Seventeen miles northwest of Edinburgh, Culross once thrived on the trade of coal and salt, but when the coal dried up, so did the prosperity of the town, and so the original merchant’s houses were never demolished or tweaked into Victorian builds.
From the 1930s onwards, the National Trust for Scotland has purchased 20 of the town’s buildings in order to preserve them, and on a visit to the seaside town you can visit Culross Palace, the Study, and the Townhouse through the trust. A walk around the town will take you past whitewashed buildings and stone cottages leading to the abbey, founded by the Cistercians in 1217.
The Palace, Study, and Townhouse buildings are open from April 1 through October 31. Entry costs £10.50 for adults, and one ticket gains access to all areas.