South Queensferry, or simply “The Ferry”, is a town on the shore of the Firth of Forth, west of Edinburgh, Scotland. It is known for its three iconic bridges that span the Forth: the Forth Bridge, the Forth Road Bridge, and the Queensferry Crossing. But there is much more to see and do in this historic and scenic town than just admire the engineering marvels. Here are some of the attractions and activities that make South Queensferry a worthwhile destination for visitors and locals alike.
Explore the rich history and heritage of the town
South Queensferry has a long and fascinating history that dates back to the 11th century, when Queen Margaret of Scotland established a ferry service across the Forth for pilgrims travelling to St Andrews. The town was granted royal burgh status by David I of Scotland, and became a thriving port and trading centre. The town has many historic buildings and monuments that reflect its past, such as:
- The Ferry House, the oldest house in the town, built in the 16th century.
- The Tolbooth, a former town hall and prison, built in the 17th century.
- The Priory Church, a medieval church that was partly destroyed by Oliver Cromwell’s army in the 17th century.
- The Hawes Inn, a 17th century coaching inn that features in Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Kidnapped.
- The Black Castle, a 17th century tower house that was once the home of the infamous pirate Captain Kidd.
Enjoy the stunning views and natural beauty of the Forth
South Queensferry offers spectacular views of the Forth and its islands, such as Inchcolm, Inchgarvie, and Inchmickery. The town has several vantage points and trails that allow visitors to enjoy the scenery and wildlife of the area, such as:
- The Forth Bridges Viewpoint, a platform that offers panoramic views of the three bridges and the Forth estuary.
- The John Muir Way, a long-distance walking and cycling route that passes through the town and along the coast.
- The Dalmeny Estate, a country park that has woodland walks, gardens, and a 19th century mansion.
- The Hopetoun House, a grand stately home that overlooks the Forth and has extensive grounds and gardens.
Experience the culture and community of the town
South Queensferry has a vibrant and friendly community that hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, such as:
- The Ferry Fair, a local fair that dates from the 12th century and includes the crowning of a local school-girl as the Ferry Fair Queen, a procession of floats and pipe bands, and competitive events such as the Boundary Race.
- The Loony Dook, a New Year’s Day tradition that involves dressing up in costumes and plunging into the icy waters of the Forth.
- The Queensferry Crossing Experience, a guided tour that takes visitors to the top of the Queensferry Crossing, the newest and longest bridge in the town, and offers stunning views and insights into its construction and operation.
South Queensferry is a town that has something for everyone, whether they are interested in history, nature, or culture. It is a town that is proud of its heritage, but also embraces the present and the future. It is a town that is more than just bridges, but a bridge between the past and the future, between the city and the country, and between the people and the Forth.