Have you been to to the Kingdom of Fife? With 117-miles of stunning coastline, gorgeous fishing villages, huge swatches of sandy beaches, Michelin-starred restaurants and fish n chips, and the pretty and historic towns of Dunfermline and St Andrews, here is my guide to the best places to visit in Fife.
My favourite places to visit in Fife:
- The East Neuk Villages
- Kingsbarns and the Cambo Estate
- St Andrews
- Tentsmuir Beach and Forest
- Limekilns and Charlestown
- North Queensferry
- Dsyart and Ravenscraig Castle
- Falkland and the Lomond Hills
Here is how to visit my favourite places in Fife.
Best places to visit in Fife – the East Neuk of Fife villages
One of the most popular spots for days out in fife, the villages of the East Neuk are some of Scotland’s prettiest, and thankfully still a hidden gem. Here is how to visit the East Neuk villages
- Lower Largo – an East Neuk hidden gem with a real ale pub, if Lower Largo was in Cornwall, it would be stowed out!
- Elie and Earlsferry – a quintessential Scottish seaside village for beach games and rock pool hunting, the villages are served by the Ship Inn, and is home to a beach cricket team. Visit Elie and Earlsferry.
- St Monans – named after Saint Monan who was martyred on the Isle of May out in the Forth. St Monans has an unusual wiggly harbour and a wellie boot garden on the slipway.
- Pittenweem – with a harbour stuffed full of working fishing boats and lined with pantiled cottages, Pittenweem is popular with artists.
- Anstruther – a bustling harbour town and one of the best places to go in Fife to grab fish and chips, a bench and watch the boats go by. Visit Anstruther.
- Crail – with a gorgeous harbour, Crail has something of a foodie reputation, with the Crail Food Festival taking place every June and the seafood shack ‘The Lobster Hut’ on the harbourside serving up crab rolls and plates of lobster.
Read more – how to visit the East Neuk of Fife
Kingsbarns & Cambo Estate
The lovely Cambo Estate has a stunning walled garden, filled with instagrammable cherry blossoms, snowdrop filled woodland walks, its own wild and remote beach and views out to sea over the famous Kingsbarns Golf Links, home to the European Tour. Just along the coast from Cambo is the beautiful beach at Kingsbarns.
Best places to visit in Fife – North
The northern edge of Fife boarders the Firth of Tay and Dundee, here is where to visit in north Fife.
On the east coast of Fife between Edinburgh and Dundee is the town of St Andrews. Whilst most famous for golf and Scotland’s oldest university, St Andrews is actually a buzzing little town surrounded by spectacular Fife countryside. With a compact town centre full of independent shops and plenty of bars and restaurants, you can spend a couple of days just exploring.
Head down to West Sands for a day on the beach, discover the St Andrews Aquarium, stroll amongst the St Andrews University Colleges via the Town and Gown Walk, and explore St Andrews Harbour for the best view of the town.
From the harbour, you can visit ecclesiastical St Andrews including St Andrews Cathedral, once Scotland’s biggest building (try climbing the 33m tall St Rule’s Tower!) and St Andrews Castle which was once the home of Scotland’s leading bishop, with its unique underground mine.
Tentsmuir Beach and Forest
In the competition for the best beach in Scotland, Tentsmuir is one of the best. Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve, beach and forest covers a huge 5qm miles along the coast, north of St Andrews on the Tay river estuary. Offering wild walks on extensive sand dunes, a huge swathe of beach perfect for dogs to run around on, all bounded by a pretty forest full of walking and cycling trails – Tentsmuir is just gorgeous!
Read more – how to visit Tentsmuir Beach and Forest
Places to visit in Fife – west
Cross the Forth Bridge and take a left past the docks and military bases of Rosyth and you will reach West Fife, one of the region’s wee gems and one of the more interesting places to go in Fife.
Culross (pronounced ‘coo-ris’) is one of Scotland’s best-preserved and prettiest 17th-century villages. Once a busy seaport on the Firth of Forth, Culross was built in the 16th and 17th century to house workers in the mining and later salt panning industries stretching along the Fife coast.
Above the village sits Culross Abbey and a monastery originally built in the 13th century as the home of the famous Scottish saint, St Mungo. In the village is an impressive town house, palace and beautifully restored cottages. The village was also used as a filming location for Outlander.
Read more – how to visit Culross
Limekilns & Charlestown
The Fife villages of Limekilns & Charlestown are popular with locals and those hiking the Fife Coastal Path. A great place for a Sunday stroll, with a coffee and cake (or the famous chicken waffles) from popular cafe Coorie by the Coast or dinner at one of the three pubs – The Inn at Charleston, The Ship and The Bruce. There are interesting limekilns to explore (which give the village its name), a small harbour and great views of the Bridges and across to Blackness Castle.
Scotland’s historic capital, Dunfermline has a gorgeous park, an royal place, an abbey and a historic quarter to stroll around. Dating to the 1010s Dunfermline Palace and Abbey houses the grave of King Robert the Bruce. Pittencrieff Park otherwise known as ‘The Glen’ is gorgeous for a walk with great views over Fife, a gothic glen, glasshouses and even Peacocks!
Best places to visit in Fife – Central
Central Fife and its coast are full of popular Fife destinations from the Forth Bridges to some of scotland’s best beaches only known to the locals. With great spots to SUP and cycle, here are my favourite places to go in Fife central.
The tiny town of North Queensferry is the landing place of the mighty Forth Bridge and is a great spot to grab a snap of the Bridge. The Wee Restaurant in NQ is a great spot for lunch or dinner.
Dysart and Ravenscraig Castle
Just along from the busy hub of Kirkcaldy is Dysart with its hidden gem of a harbour. Stop for a coffee at the Fife Coastal Path centre at the Harbourmaster House before wandering on to West Wemyss. Dysart harbour was used as the filming location for Le Havre in the TV series Outlander. Along the coast is the small but mighty Ravenscraig Castle built in 1460. You can walk along the Fife Coastal Path from Dysart to Ravenscraig.
Ceres is a stopping point on the newly developed Pilgrim Way, a 70-mile path running from Culross to St Andrews following the route taken by pilgrims between the 11th to 16th centuries. The village is well worth a visit and is home to gorgeous cottages and the Fife Folk Museum and the pretty Craighall Den with its huge ruined lime kiln.
Falkland and the Lomond Hills
Take a stroll around the the conservation village of Falkland, including a visit to the pretty Falkland Palace and a few photos of the Covenanters Inn and the Falkland fountain if you are an Outlander fan, before exploring the Falkland Estate (and the Centre for Stewardship) and follow the Maspie Burn up into the gorgeous woods. If you are feeling energetic climb the top of East Lomond for a view across Fife. For more walks in the Lomond Hills Regional Park, try the The Bunnet Stane and East Lomond – and download the Lomond Hills Map.
Read more: Explore the Falkland Estate and Maspie Den
Where to stay in Fife
Here are my favourite places to stay in Fife:
- Craigduckie Shepherds Huts – Perfect for couples or cosy for a family, get down on the farm with a stay in a boutique shepherds hut at Craigduckie Shepherds Huts.
- Newhill Farm Cottages – Stay in a cute rural cottage with a pool & hot tubs at Newhill Farm Cottages near Auchtermuchty in north fife.
- Dreel Cottage, Anstruther – two double bedrooms, a garden and its own parking space. The cottage is right next door to the lovely Dreel Tavern – try their Scotch Eggs! Book Dreel Cottage*
- Catchpenny safari lodges – these safari tents14 have everything you would wish for. Sit out on your deck, light your fire pit and watch the sun go down over Elie Lighthouse and the Lady’s Tower… it’s glamping perfection! Read more: Catchpenny Safari Lodges.
Where is Fife?
Located in the Lowlands of Scotland, Fife borders the River Forth, Clackmannanshire, Perthshire and the Lothians. The main towns and villages in Fife are Dunfermline, Scotland’s ancient capital; St Andrews, the home of golf and St Andrew’s university; Falkland with its palace; and, Anstruther, the main town in the East Neuk (or Eastern corner) of Fife.
More things to do and places to visit in Fife
- Love adventure? Things to do in Fife outdoors
- The best walks in Fife
- How to explore the East Neuk of Fife
- Love food? A foodies guide to Fife
Love, from Scotland x