Craigtoun’s History

Historical Highlights


ABOVE: James & Annie Younger

A mansion house and grounds were first laid out at Craigtoun in 1698 for General George Melville of Strathkinness. The house was later reconstructed and in 1901 both the house and grounds were sold to Dr James Younger of the Younger brewing family.


ABOVE: Dutch Village

Architect Paul Waterhouse was commissioned to create a series of lakes with a picturesque island village to the south of the mansion. The design comprised a gatehouse, summerhouse and loggia, boathouse and pavilion. The white harling and red pantile roofs led to it being commonly regarded at the Dutch Village.


ABOVE: Photograph from an outing around 1965.

In 1947 Mount Melville House and was sold to Fife County Council along with the 47 acres of grounds that were to become Craigtoun Country Park. The park became a much-loved tourist attraction with a miniature railway and fairy glen and was a popular destination for Sunday school outings. The end of each season was marked with a fireworks display called the Craigtoun Illuminations.


ABOVE: Rio Grande Railway at Christmas

With the park under threat of closure after a period of decline, the Friends of Craigtoun comes into existence, initially as a sub-committee of St Andrews Community Council. Fundraising efforts get underway and Cairnsmill Caravan Park undertake the refurbishment of the Rio Grande, which is returned to the park in time for a fundraising Christmas Event.


ABOVE: The Boating Lake

After a successful trial season in 2013, the Friends of Craigtoun enter into a 5-year lease agreement to run the attractions and events within the park. Revenue from ticket sales and fundraising efforts allow for a number of improvements to be made including the relocation of the train station, a new road for the Puffin' Billy tractor rides and the installation of 2 trim trails and a zip wire.

The Friends of Craigtoun appoint a Café Manager and take over the running of the catering facilities within the park and the road from the car park to the café is fully tarmacked making Craigtoun more accessible for wheelchair users.

Works on the refurbishment of the Italian Garden are completed.


The Friends of Craigtoun appoint their first Park Manager to oversee the day-to-day running of the park before plans for the 2020 season are halted by the covid-19 pandemic. The attractions are able to open in July for a limited season. The removal of the full-time gardeners in the park by Fife Council leads to the formation of the Craigtoun Gardening Group as volunteers strive to fill the gap and keep the park looking its best.


A Go-Kart track is introduced in time for the 2022 season starting in April and the Easter Fayre returns for the first time since 2019. The Friends mark the 10th anniversary of their first fundraising event in the park with an afternoon tea attended by directors past and present, volunteers and local dignitaries. The signing of a 25-year lease with Fife Council opens up new funding opportunities as efforts are increased to restore the Dutch Village.