Wemyss Caves

Useful Information

Location: Firth of Forth, Fife, Scotland.
(56.160998, -3.059142)
Open: No restrictions.
Wemyss Caves Education Centre: APR to SEP 2nd Sun of the month 14-16:30.
Also on Doors Open Day (DOD) and Scottish Archaeological Month (SAM) Sundays, both in September.
Fee: free.
Classification: Speleologysea cave sandstone.
Light: bring torch
Guided tours: self guided, D=1 h.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: not wheelchair accessible
Bibliography: Euan W. MacKie, Janem. Glaister (1981): The Wemyss Caves, Fife, Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow, Kirkcaldy Museums and Art Galery
Frank Rankin (1989): Guide to the Wemyss Caves, Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland, Save the Wemyss Ancient Caves Society (SWACS).
Address: Save the Wemyss Ancient Caves Society (SWAC), Mike McFarlane, Chairman. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1610 Sir George Hay established a factory for glass in Glass Cave.
1865 first explored by Professor James Young Simpson.
1867 some of the carvings were illustrated in the second edition of John Stuart's Sculptured Stones of Scotland.
SEP-1986 vandals drove a stolen car into Jonathan's Cave and set it on fire, destroying the swan picture.
OCT-1986 Save the Wemyss Ancient Caves Society (SWAC) founded.
1988 metal bar gate installed to prevent access to Jonathan's Cave.
2004 new path from the caves to the castle.


Wemyss Caves are sea caves in sandstone, formed about 8000 years ago by the sea. Subsequently they were used by man, and archaeologists found remains of the Bronze Age in the caves. Then they were used by Picts and Scots. Even the name of the village East Weymss is derived from the caves, as the Gaelic word Uiam or later uamh means cave, which later changed to Weim and Weem. With the ending -ais, Uiamais means at the cave, and changed over the time to Weymss.

In the long history of the caves, man has done anything with this caves he does typically with caves. He used them as shelter, workshop, factory, cowshed, storage room, ceremonial site, spa, law court, dovecote, hideout, and - not only in youngest history - as garbage dump.

The sea caves are located in the cliff along the Firth of Forth, and are rather small. Several caves have engravings, which tell us something about the time they were used by man.

Several caves have been destroyed so far, and the others are still in danger. The story with the burning car in Jonathan's Cave led to the foundation of the Save the Wemyss Ancient Caves Society. They protected some caves with iron bar gates and offer guided tours into the cave during the summer months. They also created an exhibition called Wemyss Caves Education Centre, which is located in the Basement Suite of East Wemyss Primary School as a part of the Wemyss Environmental Education Centre.