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South Queensferry

Area Attractions

The Crossing of the Forth by Queen Margaret in the Late 11th Century created Queensferry

Where the Forth Rail Bridge stands today over the Firth of Forth was first known for a crossing in the 11th century by Queen Margaret, as she made frequent trips to Dunfermline and St Andrews. Queen Margaret founded a ferry service to help transport religious pilgrims across the river. The crossing was so well used that small communities emerged on the south and north banks of the river, the ports were both called Queensferry and later changed to South Queensferry and North Queensferry as they are today. The ferry service was used as a passenger ferry for over eight hundred years. There are 2 established Bridges over the Firth of Forth The oldest Steel constructed cantilever rail bridge in the world and the Forth Road Bridge built in 1964.

The latest bridge is the Queensferry Crossing opened 30 /08/2017. seen not yet completed pictured below still under construction (01 / 11 / 2015).

The Queensferry Crossing will be the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world.  

  South Queensferry


Queensferry Coat of Arms
High Street South Queensferry

Forth Rail Bridge

The Forth Rail Bridge is a cantilever railway bridge over the Firth of Forth. It was opened on 4 March 1890. For over seventy years the Forth Bridge was the only connection across the Firth of Forth without a boat.

"Painting the Forth Bridge” is a local expression for a never-ending task, as soon as the painting of the bridge was finished the work would have to start again. The Forth Rail Bridge is the oldest steel constructed cantilever railway bridge in the world. The bridge was designed by Benjamin Baker who was knighted for the work he carried out on the Forth Rail Bridge. He also was involved with the construction of the Aswan Dam.

Forth Bridges
Forth Rail Bridge South Queensferry

 Forth Road Bridge

The first plans for a road crossing were made in the 1740s and were finally completed over 200 years later.

The Forth Road Bridge was opened in 04 / 09/ 1964. The Forth Road Bridge is a suspension bridge that spans the Firth of Forth from the Lothians to Fife. The bridge replaced the old ferry service that was the only way to cross the river without having to travel up to the only other crossing at Kincardine. The bridge was designed by Mott, Hay and Anderson and Freeman Fox and Partners.

Forth Road Bridge South Queensferry

Queensferry Crossing

The latest bridge is the Queensferry Crossing not yet completed pictured below still under construction (14 / 05 / 2017). The Queensferry Crossing will be the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world.

Queensferry Crossing and the two other Forth Bridges South Queensferry

Tolbooth South Queensferry

The Tolbooth in South Queensferry is located on the High Street,  have been in place around 1630 with the present clock-tower built in 1720.

There are two bells in the tower dated 1694 and 1723. The bell dated 1694 was donated by the seamen of South Queensferry.  The Priory Church of

St Mary is the oldest recorded building in Queensferry dating from 1441.

Tolbooth Sth Queensferry
South Queensferry Tolbooth

Rosebery Fountain

The wall fountain shows the coat of arms of Queensferry a blue cross and golden birds. With the arms of Rosebery a half-length Red Lion rampant holding a golden Rose dated 1817.  The inscription










PASSAGIA REGINA (Passing Queen)           FIDE ET FIDUCIA (by faith and confidence)

Rosebery Water Fountain South Queensferry High Street

Priory Church of St Mary's

St Mary’s was originally the Carmelite Friary. The Carmelites were invited to Queensferry by George Dundas of Dundas in 1330. Dundas Castle stands just outside South Queensferry, presently a private residence. 

riory Church St Mary
Priory Church of St Mary South Queensferry

Plewland House

Plewland House was built in 1641 for Samuel Wilson on his marriage to Anna Ponton. The stone engraving above the door translates to “Christ is my hope” and the letters below are the initials of the betrothed with their marriage date S.W. Samuel Wilson AP Anna Ponton 1641. This was a tradition when moving into your family home, a marriage stone would be inscribed on the wall of their house for all to see. There is an example on the wall in Ramsay Lane Edinburgh up from the New Library.

Plewlands House South Queensferry
Marriage Stone Lintel Plewlands House South Queensferry

The Black Castle

The House coloured black on the High Street built in 1626 is the oldest surviving house in South Queensferry. When the original owner William Lawrie a sea-captain was lost at sea with his ship and crew, his house maid was accused of paying a beggar-woman to cast a spell to sink the ship, both were tried as witches and found guilty and were burnt at the stake. The Black Castle was also where in the 18th century smugglers would bring in  

through tunnels from the shore, barrels of contraband brandy.

Black Castle South Queensferry
Black Castle South Queensferry

Inchgarvie Island

(The Island Fortress)

The history of the Island that supports the leg of the Forth Rail Bridge goes back to 832 A.D. when

Angus / Oengus mac Fergus (II) King of the Picts killed Athelstan the Anglian King in a battle in 832 AD at Athelstaneford and to warn intended invaders he put his head on a spike for all to see.

A very mixed up legend as King Athelstan was born circa 895 and died at 30 years in circa 925, but as a Scot, I believe the English could not have a Pictish King kill the most popular king at the height of his reign.

Its easy to change dates when very few records were written.  

The Facts

The facts we do know are that there is a site of a castle built by King James IV in 1491. The island of Inchgarvie was of strategic importance as with no bridges the island was between South and North Queensferry and was also near the Roman forts at Cramond and Bo’ness at the end of the Antonine Wall. In 1497, the island was

(along with Inchkeith, a few miles away) used as an isolated refuge for victims of the contagious disease (syphilis). Between 1519 and 1671, the island was the site of a prison within the castle. In 1580, Inchgarvie and Inchkeith, was made a place of exile for the plague-stricken of Edinburgh. The leg of the Forth Rail Bridge uses it as a foundation.

Inch Garvie Island Firth of Forth

Hawes Inn

The Hawes Inn dates back from the 17th century and stands across from Hawes Pier and the Rail Bridge in South Queensferry. It features in Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Kidnapped during the Jacobite uprisings.

Hawes Inn South Queensferry

Hawes Pier

Hawes Pier is directly under the Forth Rail Bridge and is the point for boats to pick up and drop off passengers from the cruise ships and the boarding point for the Island tours. RNLI has its base here to cover the Forth Estuary.

Hawes Pier Cruise Ship Terminal

RNLI Hawes Pier

South Queensferry

Hawes Pier is also the base for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Founded in 1824 with one aim to save peoples lives at sea.

RNLI Lifeboat Station South Queendferry
RNLI Lifeboats Flag

The Loony Dooks

The name is a combination of lunatic and dunk. An event held every year on the first day of the year (January 1st)  

Any one can join in as all you have to do is dive into the freezing waters of the Firth of Forth on New Year's Day in whatever clothing takes your fancy. Fancy dress, swim wear or a three piece suit, your choice.

The event takes place from 9 a.m. on the beach at South Queensferry pictured left.

South Queensferry Beach where they Loony Dook

Forth Bridge Memorial

Thousands of Briggers have worked building, maintaining and restoring the bridge over its 100 plus years of history.  A 7 foot high bronze memorial stands at each end of the Rail Bridge in memory of the men who died constructing the bridge, and also to celebrate all that were involved in its completion.

You can also see a replica Loch Ness Monster hiding in the Bushes nea rto the shore.

Forth Bridge Memorial Stone Hawes Pier
Loch Ness Monster South Queensferry.JPG

South Queensferry Museum

This is where the story of the construction of the Forth Bridges can be seen. There are also displays relating to the ferry passage started in the 1100s, fascinating objects and photographs and the history of the town. The Burry Man, Distilleries

The Black Castle. All to be seen in the Museum at 53 High Street South Queensferry.

South Queensferry Museum
South Queensferry Museum

The Burry Man

Queensferry Museum

The Burry Man is a local man covered from head-to-toe in sticky burrs covering his entire body, leaving only the shoes, hands and two eye holes exposed. He walks around the town collecting money for charity. It is a great honour to be picked as the Burry Man as it has been a tradition for over 300 years. The event takes place once a year at the Ferry Fair. Stand face-to-face with the Burry Man in the Queensferry Museum.

The Burry Man South Queensferry Tradition

Hopetoun House

Lady Margaret Hamilton had the original House built in 1699 for her son Charles Hope who became the 1st Earl of Hopetoun in 1703. Hopetoun House took almost 8 years to complete and became the home of the Hope family from that day to this. In 1721 the house was refurbished and extended to what can be seen today, a magnificent ancestral home. Hopetoun House is well worth a visit for its superb interiors and 6500 acres to explore.

Hopetoun House
Hopetoun House South Queensferry

Dundas Castle 1818


Dundas Castle, in Kirkliston on the outskirts of South Queensferry on Dundas Hill was built in 1424 after the 1st Duke of Albany Robert Stewart Regent of Scotland, who ruled Scotland from 1402 to 1420 due to James I being imprisoned in London granted a license to build a Keep in 1416.


The original Dundas Castle or Tower is a massive 15th century keep of four floors and a flat roof.

This was extended in 1436. The present Dundas Castle was extended again in 1818 as it stands now with the original Keep still standing in the left corner. Dundas Castle also served as the headquarters for protecting the Forth Bridge.  


Inchgarvie  Island was a gift from James IV to the Dundas family which gave them the rights to build a fortification(Castle) on the Island to protect the sea ways from invaders.


The Castle was also visited by both Oliver Cromwell during the period after the battle of Dunbar and the occupation of Edinburgh Castle December 1650 and the Battle of Inverkeithing, July 1651.

When Cromwell became ill and his troops were based around Queensferry. Charles I visited Dundas Castle during his visit to Edinburgh in 1461 when James Dundas was Knighted by Charles I.

The Left front view of Dundas Castle with the original Keep 1424 with the flag flying on the roof.

Dundas Castle Kirkliston

Dundas Tower

(rear with Flag)

Dundas Castle and Peel Tower South Queensferry



Glenforth Distillery 1828 South Queensferry has been linked with whisky distilling for over 170 years the first distillery was built in 1828 near the harbour, to allow the ships to load and unload their cargo without a further journey to the distillery by road. Another famous name from South Queensferry is VAT 69 first bottled in 1882 by William Sanderson and Sons Leith.

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