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Queensferry (often referred to as South Queensferry to distinguish it from North Queensferrymarker), originally a Royal Burgh in West Lothian, is now part of the City of Edinburghmarker, Scotlandmarker. It is located some ten miles to the north west of the city centre, on the shore of the Firth of Forthmarker between the Forth Bridgemarker and the Forth Road Bridgemarker, approximately 8 miles (13 km) from Edinburgh Airportmarker. The town's population is around 12,000 people. The older Scottish Gaelic name is Cas Chaolas meaning "Steep Sided Strait", but a translation of the English is now more frequently used.

The town is named after Saint Margaret of Scotland who used to cross the firth by ferry from "Queen's Ferry" to visit her chapel in Edinburgh Castlemarker. She died in 1093 and made her final journey by ferry to Dunfermline Abbeymarker. Her son, David I of Scotland, awarded the ferry rights to the abbey.

There had been ferries at South Queensferry until 1964 when the Forth Road Bridgemarker was opened. Ferry services continue to run from the harbour to the islands within the Firth of Forth, including Inchcolmmarker.

Local Traditions

The Ferry Fair

A local fair dates from the 12th century. The modern form, dating from the 1930s, takes place each August and includes the crowning of a local school-girl as the Ferry Fair Queen, a procession of floats, pipe bands, and competitive events such as the Boundary Race. The Fair also has a dedicated radio station, Jubilee1, which in May 2007 was awarded a licence to evolve into a full Public Service Community Station for North and South Queensferry this year.For more information on the Ferry Fair Festival please visit

The Burry Man

The Burry Man takes a rest supported by his two attendants.

South Queensferry hosts the strange annual procession of the Burry Man during the Ferry Fair. This unique pagan-like cultural event is over three hundred years old, but its true origins are unknown. The name "Burry Man" likely derives from the - the hooked fruits from the Burdock plant - which serve as the central feature of his dress, although it has also been suggested as a corruption of "Burgh Man", since the town was formerly a royal burgh.

A local man is covered from head-to-toe in sticky burrs which adhere to undergarments covering his entire body, leaving only the shoes, hands and two eye holes exposed. On top of this layer he wears a sash, flowers and a floral hat and he grasps two staves. His ability to bend his arms or sit down is very restricted during the long day and his progress is a slow walk with frequent pauses. Two attendants in ordinary clothes assist him throughout the ordeal, helping him hold the staves, guiding his route, and fortifying him with whisky sipped through a straw, whilst enthusiastic children go from door-to-door collecting money on his behalf. The key landmarks on the tour are the Provost's office and each pub in the village.

The Loony Dook

The name "Loony dook" is a combination of "Loony" (short for "lunatic") and dook, a Lowland Scots term meaning "dunk". A recently instituted event whereby people dive into the freezing waters of the Firth of Forth on New Year's Day, often in fancy dress. In recent years the event has attracted people from all over the world, including many people visiting Edinburgh to celebrate Hogmanay.

Brass Band

Queensferry has a community brass band that evolved from being a school brass band to a youth band and finally to its present status as a competing adult band. It came third in the 2006 Scottish Brass Band Championships 4th section contest [34586]and fourth in 2007[34587]. In addition to competing, it takes part in many community events including the Ferry Fair.In addition to this there is a school brass band that has won the Community section of the Scottish Youth Brass Band Championships in Both 2005 and 2006. [34588], [34589]

Places of interest

Jublilee Clock Tower, South Queensferry.

On the High St.

  • St Mary's Episcopal Church. This is the town's oldest building, dating from 1441. It is Scotlandmarker's only surviving church of the Carmelite order of friars.
  • Black Castle - Built in 1626. When the original owner, a sea-captain, was lost at sea, his maid was accused of paying a beggar-woman to cast a spell. Both women were burned for witchcraft.
  • Plewlands House - A 17th century mansion in the centre of the village, managed by the National Trust for Scotland since 1953.
  • The Tollbooth - On the High St. dating from the 1600s, with clock-tower built in 1720.

The Hawes Innmarker in South Queensferry features in Robert Louis Stevenson's book Kidnapped. Opposite here you can catch the ferry to Inchcolmmarker.

Maid of the Forth river cruises and Inchcolm ferry, located at Hawes pier adjacent to the Hawes Inn runs Easter to End of October, Maid of the Forth offer a 1.5hr cruise around the bridges and the Forth or a 3 hr Inchcolm landing cruise, where you spend time ashore Inchcolm island to explore the 12th century monastic abbey, take in some breath-taking scenery spend time in the visitors centre and of course have a picnic!

Wining and Dining

There are a large selection of pubs, bars and restaurants within Queensferry. The High Street is home to sound places such as the Ferry Tap, Anchor Inn, Stagshead Hotel (The Stag), Orocco Pier (formerly Queensferry Arms)and the Boathouse among others. The Two Bridges now hosts regular discos for the young people of the town on Friday nights, frequented by the local tanners.

Stately homes

Commercial development

In recent years in Queensferry there has been commercial development of the Ferrymuir area of the town. What was formerly fields bordering the A90 road into Edinburgh now houses a large Tescomarker, Frankie & Benny's New York Italian Diner, a Burger King and the luxury Dakota hotel. Further into the town, beside the Scotmid grocery store in The Loan Centre, many other shops are open.

Parish Church

Queensferry Parish Church is a congregation of the Church of Scotlandmarker. The church buildings are located in The Loan; it was originally built as South Queensferry United Free Church. Following the union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church of Scotland in 1929, the UF Church became known as St Andrew's Church and the old Church of Scotland congregation as the South Church. The two congregations were united in 1956, becoming Queensferry Parish Church. The old South Church building was sold in 1970.

The Reverend John Carrie was minister from 1971 until his untimely death in 2008. In 1972 he started an annual sponsored walk across the Forth Road Bridgemarker for Christian Aid, so far raising over £1,000,000.


South Queensferry is home to three primary schools (Echline Primary, Queensferry Primary and St. Margarets Primary) and one secondary school (Queensferry High Schoolmarker).

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