Glenrothes is a town situated in the heart of Fife, in east-central Scotland. It is located approximately from both Edinburgh, which lies to the south and Dundee to the north. The town had a population of 39,277 in 2011 as recorded by the census, making it the third largest settlement in Fife and one of the top 20 most populous settlements in Scotland. The name Glenrothes comes from its historical link with the Earl of Rothes who owned much of the land upon which the new town has been built; "Glen" (Scottish for valley) was added to the name to avoid confusion with Rothes in Moray and in recognition that the town lies in a river valley.
Planned in the late 1940s as one of Scotland's first post-second world war new towns its original purpose was to house miners who were to work at a newly established coal mine, the Rothes Colliery. Following the failure of the mine the town developed as an important industrial centre in Scotland's Silicon Glen between 1961 and 2000 with several major electronics and hi-tech companies setting up facilities in the town. The Glenrothes Development Corporation (GDC), a non-departmental public body, was established to develop, manage and promote the new town. The GDC supported by the local authority oversaw the governance of Glenrothes until the wind-up of the GDC in 1995, after which all responsibility was transferred to Fife Council.
Glenrothes is the administrative capital of Fife containing both the Fife Council and Police Scotland Fife Division headquarters. Home to Fife's main concentration of specialist manufacturing and engineering companies, several organisations have their global headquarters based in Glenrothes. Public services and service industries are also important to the town's economy. Major employers include Bosch Rexroth (hydraulics manufacturing), Brand Rex (fibre optics manufacturing), Fife College (education), Raytheon (defence and electronics) and Tullis Russell (papermakers). Glenrothes is unique in Fife as the majority of the town's centre is contained indoors, within Fife's largest indoor shopping centre, the Kingdom Shopping Centre.
The town has won multiple horticultural awards in the "Beautiful Scotland" and "Britain in Bloom" contests for the quality of its parks and landscaping. It has numerous outdoor sculptures and artworks, a result of the appointment of town artists in the early development of the town. Public facilities include a sports centre, two golf courses, a civic centre and theatre, a cinema and a college campus. The A92 trunk road provides the principal access to the town passing through Glenrothes and connecting it to the wider Scottish motorway and trunk road network. A major bus station is located in the town centre providing regional and local bus services to surrounding settlements.