Calls to improve Dunfermline Abbey for tourists


A PROMINENT historian has warned that tourists are missing out on one of Scotland’s most significant sights because it lacks the proper signage.

Dunfermline Abbey, the resting place of Robert the Bruce, as well as up to 25 other kings and queens of Scotland, is often known as “little Westminster” owing to its historical significance.

But Sheila Pitcairn, a local tour guide of 30 years, has said that tourists are missing out because not enough has been done to inspire interest on the site.

She has now made calls for plaques to be erected to mark the resting places of Scots kings and queens, including King Malcolm III who makes an appearance in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Pitcairn, 81, is now looking to raise the funds to bring the historic site to life for visitors.

The nearby Forth Bridge attracts far more visitors
The nearby Forth Bridge attracts far more visitors


She said: “It’s not fair that the people of Scotland do not know that all these royals are lying under the floor in ­Dunfermline, there in Dunfermline Abbey.

“The only marker is for Robert the Bruce, but we need brass plaques for all of them.”

Only 30,000 visitors come to the abbey every year, despite it lying just across from the Forth Road Bridge, which attracts millions of visitors every year.

Its southern counterpart, Westminster Abbey, also draws more than one million visitors annually,

Pitcairn went on: “It was when such a fuss was made about the bones of Richard III being found in a car park.

“Everyone knew about that and there were plaques put up where he was reburied earlier this year. It made me realise how little information there is to tell people about what we have here in Dunfermline.

“People pay to go in but they have no idea what they are looking at.”

The abbey was founded in 1128, with building completed in 1250.

It has a long history of significance to the throne, and in 1600 it was the birthplace of Charles I, the last British monarch born in Scotland.

A spokesman for Historic Scotland said a new guidebook for the Abbey would be published in 2016.

He added: “Dunfermline Abbey and Palace is an important heritage attraction that sits within our portfolio of properties in care across the country.”

“As part of our efforts to enhance a great visitor experience, we installed a series of new interpretation panels at Dunfermline this year to help communicate and engage visitors with the Abbey’s fascinating history and story.”