Things to do in Fife – Outdoors!
I love Fife. With 117-miles of stunning coastline, two long distance walks and the Lomond Hills Regional Park – along with a whole host of brilliant outdoor activity providers, it’s no wonder I’ve been recently spending my time exploring this beautiful, and mostly undiscovered region of Scotland. Plus it’s just across the water from Edinburgh! Fancy a visit? In collaboration with Welcome to Fife, here is my guide to things to do in Fife outdoors. Your adventure starts right here…
Walk: Maspie Den
Where? near the village of Falkland. Activity level – easy. Great for kids!
The climb up Maspie Den is one of my favourite short walks in Scotland. After a wander around the pretty conservation village of Falkland (including a visit to the NTS managed Falkland Palace and a few photos of the Covenanters Inn and the fountain if you are an Outlander fan) head east along West Port to the Falkland Estate (or park at the Centre for Stewardship) and follow the Maspie Burn up into the woods.
The Falkland Estate was once a pleasure ground for the Stuart kings who owned the Palace and the grounds were laid out in the 1820s. On your way up the (slightly muddy) Den, you will discover dark & spooky tunnels, bridges and cascades. ‘Den’ in Scots means a narrow wooded valley and the walk soon feels like you are in a tropical world, surrounded by huge ferns. At the top is a beautiful surprise…To return to the village, either pass beneath the falls and follow the path back down through the woods or take the wooden steps to your left and climb to the top of East Lomond for a view across Fife.
Maspie Den walk, Falkland
- Follow our walk up Maspie Den and download the Lomond Hills Map.
- After your walk wander over to Pillars of Hercules Organic Farm for lunch.
- Want more walks in the Lomond Hills Regional Park? Try The Bunnet Stane and East Lomond.
Scramble: the Elie Chain Walk
Where? near the village of Elie. Activity level – moderate.
The Elie Chain Walk is a Fife oddity – a series of chains fixed along the coast between Shell Bay and West Bay near Elie which you use to climb, scramble and coasteer along the Fife cliffs – kind of like a Scottish Via Ferrata! The original chain walk was thought to have been installed after the second world war, and run for over a kilometre.
The chains have been replaced and upgraded over the years and there are steps cut into the cliffs in many places to aid your climbing. The walk is great fun, if challenging in places, and you do need a head for heights and be prepared for the weather and the tides. If you fancy doing the Elie Chain Walk, please watch my video guide and tips and tricks before you head out on the chains.
Read more – how to do the Elie Chain Walk
Cycle: The Loch Leven Circular
Where? near the village of Kinross. Ok, Loch Leven isn’t actually in Fife (oddly it is in tiny Kinross-Shire) but I’ve included this walk as it gives great views of Fife’s Lomond Hills. Activity level – easy cycle, moderate walk.
The 13-mile Loch Leven Circular makes for a great day out for the family on bikes – or a good distance walk – with lots of stopping points along the way. Start at the small town of Kinross (5 minutes off the A90) and take a boat trip to the castle in the middle of the loch – this is Lochleven Castle which once imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots. If you are feeling active follow the circular path around the loch to Loch Leven Larder for your lunch – there is a lovely cafe a few minutes walk off the path. Halfway round the circular is RSPB Loch Leven which has lots of telescopes looking out over the loch – as well as a herd of highland coos! Follow the Loch Leven Heritage Trail.
Get on target: Cluny Activities
Where? near Kirkcaldy. Activity level – easy.
Starting life as a clay shooting centre, Cluny Activities now offers up all kinds of target sports as well as a bustling wee cafe. Perfect your favourite sport or try a taster session of air rifles, indoor archery (you will soon realise just how hard this sport is!) and clay shooting – perfect for those who are a little competitive.
Never tried target sports before? Cluny Activities instructors are friendly, professional and hands-on, and will get you completing (and hitting the target) in no time. Don’t like the idea of target sports? Cluny Activities also offer a golf range, cricket, foot golf and Segways – perfect for team days out. Our taster session of target shooting was complimentary but is normally £60 each and we thought it was great value for a two-hour session.
Scores on the board? Rifles – Kate by a mile! Archery – B, just! and Clays, well, B hit six, me? Just one (and that was only just) clays will never be my thing! Thanks to Cluny Activities for having us – and my Dad for the target shooting practice. Sorry B 😉 Cluny Activities also have a great cafe serving up really tasty food including cakes and club sandwiches. Visit: Cluny Activities.
Visit: Get out on the beach (or water)
Fife’s is home to some of Scotland’s best beaches – my favourites are the child-friendly silver sands of Aberlour, the huge sweep of sand between Earlsferry and Elie best known for its beach cricket matches and the walk through the Cambo Estate to the beautiful and wild Kingsbarns. Looking for something more active? Blown Away will take you out land yachting on the beaches of St Andrews – or why not try kitesurfing, paddle boarding or kayaking?
Explore: Ceres and the Pilgrim’s Way
Where? Ceres, near Cupar. Activity level – easy.
One of Fife’s prettiest villages, Ceres is home to the Fife Folk Museum and a history of weaving & spinning. Visit the lovely small museum (free, donations welcome) and then explore Craighall Den with its huge ruined lime kiln. Next year, Ceres will become a stopping point on the newly developed Pilgrims Way, a 70-mile path running from Culross to St Andrews following the route taken by pilgrims between the 11th to 16th centuries. The Pilgrim’s Way officially opens in March 2019.
Walk: the 117 mile Fife Coastal Path
The 117-mile Fife coast is connected by one long path, stretching from the Firth of Forth – Kincardine to North Queensferry to Anstruther, St Andrews and to the Firth of Tay. Managed by the Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, the whole Fife Coastal Path can be walked in a week and is designated one of Scotland’s Great Trails. However, if you haven’t got a whole week, the path is also great walked in sections.
These are my favourite sections of the Fife Coastal Path:
- Kirkcaldy to Dysart – catch the train to busy Kirkcaldy and follow the coastal path to 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, and then returning back to Kirkcaldy.
- Elie to St Monans – this lovely section of the Fife Coastal Path passes the striking Elie Lighthouse and Lady’s Tower at Sauchar Point, a picturesque changing room built for Lady Anstruther in the 1700s so she could bathe in the Forth! Grab lunch at the Ship Inn at Elie which serves up lovely lunches overlooking the beach – you might even spot a game of cricket being played on the sand!
- Crail to Kingsbarns – Crail is my favourite of all the East Neuk villages, but leave it behind to walk out along the furthest eastern point of the path to the famous golf course at Kingsbarns. Along the way you pass by a whisky & gin distillery and the Nosebag Cafe at the Cambo Estate is a great stopping point for lunch.
How to get to Fife
Less than an hour drive from Edinburgh, and not much further from Glasgow, it’s really surprising that Fife is so often missed off the tourist trail. Whilst it is best to take a car, you can get to Fife by train – there are stops on the Fife Circular at North Queensferry, Aberdour, and Kirkcaldy if you want to walk the Fife Coastal Path. You can also get to Ceres by bus via the busy town of Cupar. The best way to get to Anstruther is to catch the X60 bus in the direction of St Andrews.
Where to stay in Fife
More guides to exploring Fife
Things to do in Fife – map
Thanks to Welcome to Fife & Visit Scotland for having us. What are your favourite things to do in Fife outdoors?
Love, from Scotland x