Tag Archives: Fife

3 Stories Behind Fife’s Emerging Street Art Scene

What does Bogotá in Colombia, Austin in Texas and The Kingdom of Fife in Scotland have in common? All three are misunderstood, undervalued as holiday destinations and now home to incredible street art! Fife, the region ‘over the water’ from Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, is changing. The TV show, Outlander, has brought floods of fans over the Forth Bridges, the East Neuk charm has attracted more than just the St Andrews golfers and now the towns of Cowdenbeath, Glenrothes and Burntisland (amongst others), surprisingly, have something to spray – street art murals by the talented Fifer, Kerry Wilson.

Where is the Street Art in Fife?

Cowdenbeath – Heritage Mural

This old mining town close to Dunfermline and Lochgelly is home to the untitled masterpiece of the boy dressed up in a mining hat and oversized boots.

Cowdenbeath Heritage Mural sketch by Kerry Wilson | Two Scots Abroad

The mural took a couple of days to illustrate and seven days to complete onsite using 12-metre high scaffolding. This was the first time Kerry and partner, Gordon Forbes, had worked on a project this big and said the hardest part was physically getting onsite and then keeping the image to scale. During the illustration process, Gordon’s son was dragged in to model his arms, to ensure that the 13 metres high mural was realistic.

The idea was sparked a year ago in conjunction with Cowdenbeath Community Council who hoped for something that gave a nod to the roots of the town’s mining past. Kerry says, as unique as that sounds to an outsider, she gets requests to link to mining frequently. Hence this modern approach of the large mural, in keeping with the 32+ popular pieces found on gable ends in Glasgow.

When asked, ‘why the kid?’ Kerry responds – interpretation is up to the viewer, and before you ask why not a girl, Kerry will point you to the art on shop shutters where two girls feature. The gender choice was not on purpose, it just came naturally during the creation process.

Watch Kerry and Gordon in action

Street Art on Shop Shutters

This is not self-indulgent art with a comment on politics and current affairs, it is community backed and celebrates society today. The mural is not Kerry’s first stint in Cowdenbeath. She has been working with pupils from Beath High School, sprucing up the high street with spray painted pieces on shop shutters such as the takeaway, hairdressers, and the card shop.

Initially, different pupils helped but eventually the die-hard cohort stuck with it, keeping Kerry’s morale up at times and being excellent apprentices so much so two members of the team were awarded the Cowdenbeath Young Citizen of the Year award (Lee Crawford and Isla Cattanach).

Where to Find it and What’s around?

The mural of the mining boy is found on the end of a building at Brunton Square closest to the A92 end of Cowdenbeath Beath High Street and the shutters can be found on the street when the shops are closed.

Cowdenbeath Leisure Centre is the main attraction in the town. The centre includes gym facilities, a swimming pool, football pitches, fitness classes and kids clubs. In contrast, I can recommend the sit-down chippy, Darios. Racewell is home to stock car races, races take place every Saturday night from March to October. 

Lochgelly is five minutes away from Cowdenbeath where you will find the modern Lochgelly Centre has a 412-seat theatre, studio theatre, art studios, gym, rooms to rent and Lily’s cafe. Car sports enthusiasts should check out Driftland, the first purpose Japanese style drifting arena.

Next to Lochgelly is Lochore Meadows Country Park AKA The Meadies. The Meadies has walking and cycling routes, water sports, and a 9-hole golf course. During the summer, events such as the music festival Rockore, Bark in the Park and Pipe Band competitions take place.

15 minutes away from Cowdenbeath is Dunfermline, Scotland’s old capital, also has a public park (with peacocks!), Pittencrieff Park/The Glen, the impressive Dunfermline Carnegie Museum, the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum, Dunfermline Abbey, live shows at the Alhambra and a variety of pubs, restaurants and a decent music scene.

Read more: things to do in the Kingdom of Fife

Glenrothes – The ‘Maci Selfie’

The Macedonia Mobile AKA The Maci Selfie is hidden within the area of Macedonia. The hand taking a photograph with a mobile phone brightens up a drab underpass, notoriously not the nicest of things to walk through. This mural was created in conjunction with the community Golden Glenrothes Charrette events and aimed to create a visual talking point.

While taking photos of the person taking photos, we asked a local what they thought of the work. All positive remarks, she reckoned it’s great for the area and better than the tagging (names) you normally see. Interestingly, during our trip to Colombia, we discovered that the Bogota street artists didn’t mind tagging as it was seen as a ‘way in’ to street art.

Kerry completed this mural with the help of her 16-year old apprentice, local resident Rose Shields. It took over two days and the challenges including drawing hands for the first time and working those angular walls of the underpass!

Where is it and What’s Around?

If you head to Glenwood Health Centre and park up, the underpass is across from the health centre.

Glenrothes has a park called the Riverside Park (where you can see Kerry’s early community art project, the mosaic under the park bridge created in 2012 with over 200 participants from community members to passersby!), the Glenrothes Kino (cinema) is half the price of the Odeon in Dunfermline, and the Michael Woods Leisure Centre is equipped with gym facilities and a 25 metre swimming pool. Glenrothes is 30 minutes away from the East Neuk which leads to St Andrews.

Glenrothes Street Art

Burntisland

Burntisland is my hometown, once the hottest holiday destination for Glaswegians, still home to the summer ‘shows’ (fairground), beach, and the Binn hill.

Burntisland also has the Beacon Leisure Centre, football pitches and an ‘amazing’ skate park, according to my friend and Scottish cyclist, Robert Wardell (from Dunfermline). It’s is rite of passage to get a chippy in the Bizza and now an ice-cream at the parlour. 

The skate park is where Kerry’s next mural is and this was developed in 2016 with local young people delivered by Kirkcaldy and Burntisland Detached Youth Work Team.

Kerry was not in control of this project; the planning, styles and design were all discussed and voted on by the young members of the team. The biggest challenge was working on the curves of the skate park but the end project is deemed a much-improved site than the previous graffiti!

Kerry Wilson Art

Although a talented mural artists, this was never intended as a full-time profession. In fact, the first time she put her hand to spray painting was while working as a Fife Council youth worker on a project with the kids and Glasgow based artist, Amy Whiten from Recoat.

However, it’s in her blood. After school, Kerry attended an illustration course for two years at Fife College then trained as a graphic designer in Edinburgh before heading back to study multimedia this time, at Abertay University. Whilst doing her degree at Abertay she also worked as a youth worker, committing to youth work for eight years. During this part of her career, she was reunited with art, a creative full circle if you like.

Kerry has also completed art projects in Cupar, a variety of Fife schools and community centres. Kerry’s art studio looks like the set of a vintage fashion shoot and luckily for you she will be offering courses from the studio at Sailors Walk, High Street (Kirkcaldy) in the near future. 

There is a downside to being a (recently new) full-time artist, she says people think you’ve got a cushty life sitting about in your pyjamas painting all day but the reality is, it can get lonely.

Kerry would like to connect with other artists in Fife so if you’re out there she wants to create a collective and I want to photograph what you come up with.

Kerry Wilson Art Studio

Love Scotland? Here’s our complete travel guide from castles to cities, beaches to booze.

Street art in Scotland

Kerry doesn’t think street art should be controversial, she believes that it should be in keeping with its surroundings and make people happy. It sure does put a smile on my face to see Fife on the map of Scotland’s street art trail to boost Scottish tourism.

You can find out more and keep up to date with Kerry Wilson’s projects at her website, Instagram and Facebook. She works on private commissions as well as public so if you have a space you would like to add a bit of interest to, get in contact with Kerry.

When you visit the street art murals in Cowdenbeath, Glenrothes and Burntisland, remember to use #LoveFife on your social shares.

What does street art mean to you?

Like Kerry’s mural, this article was commissioned by Fife Council. I’m proud to come from a county who supports its young creative citizens. Regardless of who is footing the bill, my honest opinion, as always. Kerry really is as radge as she sounds, was a pleasure to interview her.

44 Fun Things to do in Fife, The Kingdom Of

The majority of Scotland’s visitors miss out on these incredible things to do in Fife. Why? The popular route is to arrive Edinburgh, head to Glasgow then on to the west coast of Scotland to touch base with the likes of Loch Lomond, Inveraray, the Isle of Skye and our most popular road trip – the North Coast 500.

Now, I’m not saying don’t do this; the west coast is breathtaking and you will soon be lost in the most amazing scenic views (and, of course, bitten by the dreaded midges!)

However, don’t rule out heading over to the Queensferry Crossing by car, the Forth Road Bridge by bus or taking the train through the iconic steel, red girders of the Forth Bridge to the east coast of Scotland, the Kingdom of Fife.

Fife is an underrated area of Scotland; steeped in history, surrounded by countryside and waves with patches of poverty, it’s a ‘real’ portrayal of Scotland.

How would she know? Good question, Craig and I (Gemma) are actually Fifers! I hail from the seaside town, Burntisland and Craig is a Camdean boy.

So if it’s time to escape the city, check out these fun things to do in Fife on a day trip from Edinburgh or multi-day holiday with time to stay and play. This Fife guide will share our tips on what to do as well as Fife hotels.

Best Things to do in Fife

1. North Queensferry Bridge Walk

Home to the former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, North Queensferry offers a tranquil alternative stop to marvel over the architectural wonder that is the Forth Bridge.

The majority of visitors flock to the bustling South Queensferry over the other side of the bridge, still worth a visit especially for those looking to take a boat ride to Inchcolm Island, to snap photos of our Bridges, making North Queensferry a great choice for those who prefer serenity over stir.

North Queensferry has a handful of pubs, cafes and restaurants as well as impressive looking houses.

The Wee Restaurant is serves local local, seasonal food made by chef Craig Wood.

Visitors can walk over the Forth Road Bridge from North Queensferry to South Queensferry and walk or get the train back (over).

While on the Forth Road Bridge, check out the lovelocks and our ‘new bridge’, Queensferry Crossing.

North Queensferry is also home to the world’s smallest working lighthouse.

Getting to North Queensferry

  • North Queensferry can be reached by train from Edinburgh Waverley or Haymarket stations. For times see the ScotRail site.
  • By bike or foot from Dalgety Bay (jump to Fife Coastal Path for Fife hikes), passing through Inverkeithing
  • By car, North Queensferry has parking (limited)

Edinburgh to North Queensferry Distance

  • 14 miles

North Queensferry Hotels

Regardless of North Queensferry being a ‘wee’ town on the east coast of Scotland, there are two main options for accommodation, panoramic views of the Firth of Forth waters at The Queensferry Hotel or the family-run Ferrybridge Hotel.

Rooms are available in both North Queensferry hotels for under £100 per night.

Forth Rail Bridge | Edinburgh Day Trips

Things to do near Edinburgh – see the Bridge

2. Dalgety Bay Bridge Views + Fish Supper

Continuing along the Fife Coastal Path you’ll find the town of Dalgety Bay and St Davids Harbour.

Once known as the Edinburgh commuter town (this is now Duloch in Dunfermline), Dalgety Bay enjoys higher house prices than other surrounding areas and it’s quite easy to see why (you know when Marks and Spencer’s moves into the petrol station we are talking a bit of disposable income).

Spectacular view of the Bridges, a wooded walking path for dog owners, three bars which sell meals, and our favourite, Dalgety Bay Fish and Chip Shop can also be found in The Bay.

Buy some chips and eat them in the car in front of the sea, how Scottish.

Alternatively, check out the upmarket, The Bay Fishmarket. There is also a small selection of bars that sell food such as The Compass, Louis Browns and Hugos.

How to get to Dalgety Bay

  • Dalgety Bay can be reached by train, bus, or car.
  • Dalgety Bay train station has bike lockers and a free car park

Edinburgh to Dalgety Bay Distance

  • 16 miles

Dalgety Bay Hotels

There are no hotels or bed and breakfasts in the town of Dalgety Bay. Holiday-makers tend to stay in the neighbouring town, Aberdour or Inverkeithing or the old capital of Scotland, Dunfermline

Dalgety Bay Forth Rail Bridges Things to do in Fife

3. Aberdour Golf + Beaches

Yet another beach town/village (we have a lot in Fife), Aberdour is older than Dalgety Bay but age has served this old girl well. The picturesque beaches and coastal path are popular with locals on that rare sunny day in May.

Aberdour has an annual festival at end of July/start of August at the Silver Sands beach which is kicked off with a 7-mile run called the Donkey brae run.

Aberdour has a second beach called the Black Sands as well as a harbour, golf course (which you can walk/cycle along to the beach) and cafes.

Many visitors also check out Aberdour Castle and gardens. Points of interest for our guide to Edinburgh day trips include Braefoot Point. This is targeted at those who are interested in history with a nice view.

The area is mostly used by dog walkers but amongst the trees, you can explore the Braefoot Point Battery used from World War I to protect the Forth.

For food check out, The Woodside, Aberdour Hotel, McTaggart’s, Cafe @ No. 16, Post and Pantry or Sands A Place By The Sea.

How to get to Aberdour

  • If arriving by train you will get the experience the ‘best-kept station’, buses are also available

Edinburgh to Aberdour Distance

  • 18 miles

Aberdour Hotels

Considering less than 2000 people actually, live in Aberdour it has a lot of pubs and hotels in its village.

  • The Woodside Hotel has a stunning stained glass roof which is worth checking out over lunch if you are not staying in this Aberdour accommodation. Rates start at £60 for a private room.
  • The other two hotels in Aberdour include 17th century the Aberdour Hotel which features in the ‘Camra’ Good Beer Guide for its sale of real ale in its bar and The Cedar Hotel. Keeping in with the ‘drink theme’ (story of Scotland’s life!) this Aberdour Hotel has a whisky bar with over 100 malts.
Aberdour | A Day Trip from Edinburgh

4. Burntisland Shows

Pronounced Burnt – island, this town is not actually an island (or burnt).

Burntisland is mostly known for hosting the longest-running fairground in Europe during the summer months. Burntisland has a large award winning beach, dockyard, swimming pool, skate ramps, takeaway shops, cafes and a castle which Mary Queen of Scots stopped for the night at.

Burntisland also has a dormant volcano called the Binn which is worth the hike for these views (below) across the Firth of Forth, one of the free things to do in Fife.

The old village at Binnend is accessible, just. A few bricks still stand of what was once the houses for shale oil workers.

According to the Burntisland website, the 1891 Census counted over 500 residents in 95 houses at the High Binn and 192 in the 33 houses of the Low Binn.

According to my Mum, after the shale works were closed the village housing was turned into holiday homes and my granddad Orrock used to meet the holidaymakers off the train at Burntisland to help them carry their suitcases up the steep hill in return for some pocket money.

If you do make it to Burntisland, look out for Orrock Drive and the Orrock Quarry just to the back of the town.

I am on the hunt for a glass bottle used for milk which has Orrock embossed on it from Orrock farm.

I should point out that we never made anything from sharing the same surname with these businesses!

Speaking of wealth, down at the bottom of the big Burntisland blue sea lies Charles I’s ferry, sank tragically, with treasure to boot! Or does it?

Testing at the Blessing of Burntisland site has still to prove that this is the royal baggage ferry which was caught in a summer storm crossing from Burntisland to Leith, Edinburgh in 1633.

The ongoing search and current site investigation by Burntisland Heritage Trust is one of the longest and most tantalising of treasure hunts.

Like Dunfermline’s Glen, Burntisland Library was gifted to the town by Andrew Carnegie.

The library has a museum upstairs but this is not the only one in Burntisland, there is also the Museum of Communication on the other side of the High Street.

Finally, a previous resident of Burntisland is to appear on the new £10 note, Gemma… jokes!

It’s not me, it’s scientist Mary Somerville and she will be the first female to appear on a Scottish note.

For food, grab a chippy at Romanos, sit down at Links Fish Bar, lunch at Burntisland Roasting Project, bagel at The Fix, messy burgers at Burger Island and an ice cream at Novelis.

How to get to Burntisland

  • Like the above Fife destinations, Burntisland can be reached by train, bus, foot, bike and car

Edinburgh to Burntisland Distance

  • 21 miles

Burntisland Hotels

  • The Kingswood Hotel is a striking property on the outskirts of Burntisland. The hotel sits on 2 acres of woodlands and gardens, the rooms are bright and the restaurant is popular with guests and locals alike. There is a story that the Grey Lady lurks around the road between Burntisland and Kinghorn so you may get a glimpse of a ghost!
  • If you do meet her, give her a curtsy, she is royalty after all. The lady of Kingswood is in fact, Yolande de Dreux, the wife of Alexander III who fell off his horse on the coastal road as he trotted to meet her at Kinghorn Castle.
  • If you are looking for a home away from home style property, The Laigh in Burntisland is a self-contained house which sleeps up to three.
Burntisland views from the Binn | A Day Trip from Edinburgh

My friend Gordon, and I (Gemma) up the Binn to celebrate my return after 17 months on the road

5. Things to do in Kirkcaldy

Kirkcaldy is the next biggest town (Kinghorn is another small beach town in between Burntisland Kinghorn) on the east coast.

At Easter, Kirkcaldy’s prom is taken over by the fairground (or ‘the shows’ as we call it), this is where locals flock to buy candy floss and scream so they can go faster.

Theatre visits are amongst the Fife activities available in Kirkcaldy as it home to the Adam Smith Theatre (named after the Scottish economist) which has a lovely vintage charm.

The theatre hosts shows such as musicals and pantomimes but is also Kirkcaldy’s only film house.

Kirkcaldy has a large public park with a duck pond, skate rInks/parks and tennis courts (Beveridge Park) as well as the Raith Rovers football stadium and Fife Flyers’ ice rink for sports fans checking out Fife activities.

For live music and/or good pub grub, head to The Duchess.

The artists, Jack Vettriano divides his time between his homes in London, Nice and… you guessed – Kirkcaldy. Kirkcaldy also has an art gallery which often hosts visiting shows such as The Glasgow Boys which is currently on display.

Follow in the footsteps of Tony Robinson and his Time Team to East Wemyss and check out the largest selection of caves in Great Britain, Wemyss Caves. Symbols such as Pictish (4th-9th century) markings can be found in the caves and visitors can take tours with informative guides. For food, my favourite is Koku Shi or pub grub at The Duchess.

How to get to Kirkcaldy

  • Like the above Fife destinations, Kirkcaldy can be reached by train, bus, foot, bike and car

Edinburgh to Kirkcaldy Distance

  • 29 miles

Hotels in Kirkcaldy

  • The Beveridge Park Hotel, the three-star hotel is located in private grounds, close to Kirkcaldy’s train station, Adam Smith Theatre and of course, Beveridge Park. The Beveridge Park Hotel plays host to music events and fayres. Golfing, pamper and anniversary packages are available.
  • The Dean Park Hotel is popular with locals as well as guests, who use the hotel’s facilities for dining, parties and conferences.

6. Leven and Lundin Links

Leven is yet another beach town in Fife which was put on the map during my childhood for parading a grizzly bear called Hercules at its Letham Glen park. I kid you not, we used to take family trips to Leven to see Hercules wear hats, take a bath, and cuddle his owner, Andy.

I still can’t believe this happened! Nowadays, most visitors to Leven head to the green to play golf on Lundin Links or for a stroll around Silverburn Park, one of the Fife points of interest on the coast.

How to get to Leven

  • There is no direct train to Leven, visitors alight at Markinch train station and take a bus to Leven from there. There are direct buses to Leven from many Fife towns such as Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes

Edinburgh to Leven Distance

  • 36 miles

East-central Fife

7. Glenrothes and Markinch

Glenrothes is another large Fife town, one of Scotland’s ‘new towns’ built in the 1950s and 60s  to accommodate those who lost their homes during WWII (interested in Scottish history? Jump to Dunfermline).

Glenrothes also has a theatre (I saw the Stereophonics here when I was 15), Kingdom Shopping Centre selling high street brands, golf courses, Riverside Park with one of Fife’s largest skate park and a cute kino (cinema).

How to get to Glenrothes

  • Like the above Fife destinations, Glenrothes can be reached by train, bus, foot, bike and car

Edinburgh to Glenrothes Distance

  • 32 miles

Hotels in Glenrothes and Markinch

Close to Markinch is home to one of the luxury hotels in Fife – the country house hotel, Balbirnie House.

Visitors can stay and/or dine in the A Graded Georgian mansion built in 1777. Balbirnie House is also very popular with weddings all year round and high school prom dances as well as conferences. Image courtesy of Balbirnie House.

Balbirnie House Hotels in Fife

The Balgeddie House Hotel is another accommodation option in Glenrothes. This country house was built in 1923 and sits in a large garden area. The Balgeddie offers guests access to its cocktail lounge and food is served at The Brasserie.

East Neuk Villages

I really like the word neuk. It means a corner and this corner of Fife lies some of the most picturesque fishing villages in Scotland (and the UK?) The East Neuk takes in the villages of

  1. Elie and Earlsferry
  2. St Monans
  3. Pittenweem
  4. Anstruther
  5. Crail
  6. Kingsbarns

8. Elie and Earlsferry Beach

Elie is home to one of the oldest golf course in Scotland created in 1875 as well as Elie beach and the sheltered, Ruby Bay (Elie Woodhaven). Each year, visitors can scarecrow spot during the Elie Scarecrow Festival.

Families rate their favourite scarecrows around the village and the winner is announced during a prize giving at the end of the Festival.

Hotels in Elie

  • The Ship Inn is popular with holidaymakers as some of the rooms have sea views and there is a free shuttle available for guests. The hotel also runs a restaurant for local dining options.
  • If you are looking for pure relaxation check out the Kilconquhar Castle Estate which has an indoor swimming pool, tennis court and driving golf ranges. The estate offers hotel rooms and self-catering cottages close to Elie.

9. St Monans

St Monans is another cute fishing village. It has a church built in the 14th century by David II.

10. Pittenweem Witch Trails

Pittenweem has a dark past! This Fife town was the settings for the Pittenweem Witch Trials which were responsible for the torture and death of three accused members of the village. The accuser?

A teenage boy who was later found to be lying. According to the BBC, the tollbooth which still stands today in Pittenweem is where the accused were held captive.

Pittenweem might be a small place but it has played an important part in Fife’s history. St Fillan’s Cave is where St Fillan, the Patron Saint of the mentally ill spent most of his time writing. The story has it that those who were ill would spend the night bound in the cave and if their bound had loosened overnight they were no longer sick. ‘Pittenweem’ actually means ‘place of the cave’. This village also plays host to the ever-increasing Pittenweem Arts Festival which takes place in August. Don’t expect to only be entering the official museums and galleries to see the work of over 100 artists and designers; the art is on display in every nook and cranny – livingrooms, seawalls and shops. Pittenweem also has an open air swimming pool if you fancy trying a bit of organise wild swimming. The seasonal cafe at the pool serves hot drinks and snacks. Locals love the Clock Tower Cafe.

Hotels in Pittenweem

There are a variety of self-catering cottages in Pittenweem and most of them are pet-friendly if you are hoping to take your dog to the East Neuk!

→ Check availability and rates for Pittenweem’s cottages here

Pittenweem Fife Scotland

11. Anstruther Fish n Chips

The most popular thing to do in Anstruther is to visit on a sunny day, buy fish and chips and people watch! One of the popular things to do in Anstruther from April to September is to take a boat trip to the Isle of May to wildlife spotting.

The tour takes around 4.5-5 hours and includes a talk from the rangers on the island. Birds spotted include puffins, guillemots and razorbills are common.

A lucky few will spot a dolphin or possibly a whale!

There’s a handful of food places along the seafront. Grab a soup and toasty at the Vintage Tea Room and cake from Anstruther Deli.

Hotels in Anstruther

  • There are quite a few top rated hotels in Anstruther. The family-run four star The Bank comes highly recommended with stunning views of the Firth of Forth. The Bank also has a restaurant with homemade food and ales in their bar
  • The Waterfront is also a four-star hotel with a restaurant which serves a cooked breakfast for guests each morning. The decor is contemporary and it is located… on the waterfront.

12. Crail Races

Craig is well known for its car drag races at Crail airfield. Every Sunday from March-November you’ll find a car boot sale at the airfield.

13. Kingsbarns Gin

Kingsbarns is known for three things, golf, whisky and surfing. Bet you didn’t see that coming? For those who like to hit the waves check out our North Coast 500 guide and skip to Thurso. Although their malt is maturing, Kingsbarns Distillery and Visitor Centre is open for tours daily.

Not a fan of the water of life? No problem, Kingsbarns is also home to Darnley’s gin. Let the games be-gin. Image courtesy of Kingsbarns Distillery.

Kingsbarn Distillery Fife Edinburgh Day Trips

Getting to the East Neuk of Fife

This is when our public transport really starts to let us down. From Edinburgh, you would take two buses (towards St Andrews) which takes over 2 hours (closer to 3 hours).

Distance from Edinburgh (to Elie)

  • 44 miles

14 – 21. Things to do in St Andrews

The main reason people visit Fife is to spend time where royalty recently walked, yes the prestigious St Andrews University is where Prince William met Kate Middleton on the dance floor of the (now closed) Lizard Lounge, I do believe (yeah that didn’t happen, Tinder for sure, like all the best relationships…)

Check out the Cathedral. Beautiful.

St Andrews is also renowned for its fore.

International golfers of both genders hit the Old Course green then relax with a pint and lunch at the Jigger Inn.

Patrons can dine at the pub without playing golf or staying the hotel, the outside seating area is pretty much on the Old Course so perfect for an afternoon drink in the sun.

There are plenty of other things to do in St Andrews that don’t involve teeing off.

Outdoor enthusiasts should check out water sports activities with Blown Away. This local company is run by twins and sea-sports enthusiasts, Guy and Jamie who are genuinely lovely and charming.

We had the pleasure of paddleboarding with Blown Away this summer in partnership with Welcome to Fife.

I’m not going to lie, I was apprehensive about boarding on the North Sea, people avoid swimming in Scotland for a reason!

However, the afternoon boarding at St Andrew’s harbour (it was too choppy for the sea), under the bridge, and through the mangroves, exceeded my expectations.

The wetsuit blocked out the chill when I was pushed in, twice.

Blown Away water activities are a popular St Andrew’s attraction for stag weekends/bachelor parties as well as smaller group bookings.

St Andrews also has the botanic gardens which are open from 10am-6pm.

Don’t leave St Andrews without gorging on a Fisher and Donaldson fudge donut and Jannettas ice-cream.

A great thing for kids to do in Fife is to visit the Secret Bunker close to St Andrews.

Underneath an unassuming farm, visitors head 100 feet underground to the bunker which was created in the event of a nuclear attack.

Not only can you delve into what life would have been like in the bunker but there is also a room dedicated to the work of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) open to the public.

→ Disclaimer: our lunch at the Jigger Inn and the cost of paddleboarding was covered by Welcome to Fife in return for this honest review. You’ll be hungry after that. Sweet snacks in St Andrews are legendary. Try Jannettas ice cream and Fisher & Donaldson fudge donuts.

Getting to St Andrews

  • Annoyingly, St Andrews is not on the train line and the buses to the town from Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline are long. Car hire would be my recommendation for travelling to St Andrews.

22. Guided Tours of Fife

If you don’t want to hire a car (we drive on the left!) and feel restricted by our limited public transport in the north east of Fife there is help at hand. There are a variety of guided tours of the East Neuk and St Andrews starting a £39 for a full day tour. Meeting point in Edinburgh’s city centre.

St Andrews to Edinburgh Distance

  • 50 miles

Hotels in St Andrews

There is so much choice in St Andrews for hotels and some of the properties are super exciting.
  • The Old Course Hotel is the number one spot for golfers or those looking for a relaxing spa weekend. It’s always bustling and you are on the Old Course if golfing is the reason for your trip.
  • There is a reason that the Fairmont at St Andrews is five star and you only have to look at the images to see why. The hotel decor is modern but tasteful. The hotel sits on cliffs overlooking St Andrews Bay. A free shuttle is available for guests but with the facilities, I don’t see a reason to leave. Did I mention two golf courses? One of the finer Fife hotels.
  • There are cheaper hotels in St Andrews. The Albany is close to the beach and hosts guests in its Georgian terraced house which was built in 1795.
  • The cheapest option is to check out campus availability at St Andrews University. There are single rooms as well as shared accommodation. Visitors have access to a shared social area too.
Old Course Hotel St Andrews

23. Cupar

Is another cute small town in Fife. Once the bustling marketplace, now a quiet residential area. The Deer Centre is close by, which is a nice day out for families.

The river that runs through Cupar reminds me of the Seine! Must be the lights.

Distance from Edinburgh

  • 43 miles

24-26. Falkland

Visitors to Falkland may enjoy a visit to one of Mary Queen of Scots favourite buildings, Falkland Palace which was once home to the Stewart Kings and Queens.

Many locals climb the easy hike of the Lomond Hills which has two peaks.

Outlander fans! This is Inverness. Well, the filming location anyway. Read more about it here.

27-28. Lochgelly Cycling + Meadows

The old mining village of Lochgelly is the closest town to Fife’s country park, Lochore Meadows. Lochore Meadows has many walking trails, cycle paths and offers water sports activities like kayaking and windsurfing.

If you are interested in the history of mining in Scotland you may like the film The Happy Lands which stars my mum’s cousin, Joki Wallace.

Joki is not a trained actor!

This is a community-led film by Theatre Workshop Scotland, from grassroots to Hollywood.

Getting to Lochgelly

  • Lochgelly has a train station and bus links. Lochore Meadows is best reached by car

Distance from Edinburgh

  • 23 miles
Lochore Meadows | Fife Points of Interest

29. Knockhill

One of Fife’s biggest pulls is Knockhill racing circuit. Here you can ride super, vintage and rally cars.

How to get to Knockhill

  • Knockhill is accessible by car

Distance from Edinburgh

  • 26 miles

30-40. Things to do in Dunfermline

Dunfermline is not only a historically important town in Fife but also for Scotland. Dunfermline is the ancient capital of Scotland and many visitors check out the resting place of Robert the Bruce, King of the Scots (minus his heart) at Dunfermline Palace and Abbey as well as St Margaret’s Cave.

I imagine Dunfermline will become even more popular with the release of the Netflix movie, Outlaw King starring Chris Pine (read more about the locations here).

The museum has recently opened and it’s a great afternoon out for the family. It takes you through Dunfermline’s successes via artefacts and stories.

There are three kitchens from different eras which share information with a difference.

The war sections will bring a tear to your eye and it boasts of the best views of the Abbey.

Dunfermline also has a large park in the centre of town called Pittencrief Park (Dunfermline Glen). The Glen is home to the art deco, Glen Pavilion, resident peacocks and the annual Bruce Festival.

This park was a gift to the town from Andrew Carnegie, the industrialist and philanthropist, who was born in Dunfermline in 1835. You can find out more about Carnegie at his Birthplace Museum in the town centre.

There’s a great music scene in Dunfermline.

The town produced the 70s band Nazareth (Love Hurts), Barbara Dickson (Band of Gold), Big Country (Chance) and The Skids (Into the Valley).

Dunfermline’s Alhambra hosts hundreds of gigs, musicals and comedy shows each year. The theatre has retained its 1920s decor which makes it a special place.

Dunfermline has lots of high street stores for shopping, an art studio and cafe in the old fire station (Fire Station Creative), a cinema, two sports centres and many restaurants (a silly amount of curry houses!) Dunfermline Athletic are the local football team and play at East End Park.

The legendary ex-Manchester manager, Alex Ferguson (Dunfermline’s biggest goal scorer), is one of the Pars most popular players.

Fun fact – Harry Potter’s Moaning Myrtle and Trainspotting star, Shirley Henderson, resides in Dunfermline. Playwright, Gregory Burke (Black Watch and the film, 71) was born in Rosyth, close to Dunfermline.

Townhill, at the top of Dunfermline, is a nicely preserved village that has a small loch and woods for walkers. The National Water Ski and Wakeboard Centre is also located at Townhill Loch.

If there is a flurry of snow in Dunfermline town you can expect a decent dump in Townhill, get the sledges out for a ‘cool’ free thing to do in Fife with kids!

Dunfermline restaurant recommendations include Dhoom (Indian), Canmore for small plates, Haberdashery for food truck food, Cafe Wynd, 1703, Fire Station Creative (cocktains, lunch and cake), KOKU SHI (Japanese), Seven Kings (pub grub), Luca’s Kitchen (Italian). Afternoon tea is served at The City Hotel.
 
There’s also a vegan cafe called 269 Vegan. Its menu 80% gluten-free.

Getting to Dunfermline

  • Dunfermline’s Town and Queen Margaret train lines are both on the Fife circle from Edinburgh
  • Dunfermline is also connected by bus

Distance from Edinburgh

  • 17 miles

Hotels in Dunfermline

On the outskirts of Dunfermline, there are two luxury resort hotels that are popular with holidaymakers and wedding parties. Forrester Park Resort can be found 4 miles outside of the town centre. The traditional hotel has a bar, restaurant and golf course.

Close to Dunfermline Golf Course and located in private woodlands, Kevil House Hotel offers modernly decorated rooms, a spa and an award-winning restaurant.

Love History? Check out our guide to Outlaw King’s filming locations

41. Culross

Have you heard of Outlander?

Of course, you have unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past three years. The tiny village of Culross is one of six Outlander locations filmed in Fife.

The tiny village itself is very well maintained with cute painted doors and colourful flowers.

Muse about Culross Pottery and Gallery, grab a coffee and cake or head to Bessie’s by Culross Palace for a bowl of soup and rock scone. 

Prefer dinner? Go for steak pie at the Red Lion.

Love Outlander? Check out our guide to Outlander’s locations

Distance from Edinburgh
  • 23 miles

Culross Hotels

There is one property in the tiny village of Culross called Sandhaven. This two bedroom holiday home sleeps 4 people comfortably.

Dunfermline is the closest large town to Culross which has many hotel options, please see above for details.

Culross Palace Fife

42. Limekilns

An old village with kilns by the water, Limekilns has a lovely walk down by the water and through the woods. Enjoy a hot chocolate at Coorie.

43. Walks in Fife

Fife Coastal Path stretches 117 miles from south to the north along the Firth of the Forth to the Firth of Tay. Designated walking paths through towns, fishing villages and beaches keep ramblers and cyclists safe from car making these series of walking routes a free and easy thing to do in Fife with children.
The Fife Coastal Path is one of Scotland’s Great Trail starting in Kincardine and finishing at Newburgh.

44. Local Festivals

Each town in Fife has its own local summer festival called a gala day.

The itinerary loosely takes the shape of a parade with a specific theme, crowning of the gala queen and king, and the bigger towns also put on a highland dancing competition where children and adults show off their fling skills in a kilt (not to be confused with Scottish country dancing which takes place during a ceilidh, if you want to attend a ceilidh in Edinburgh check out this article).

Dundee – City of Discovery

Heading north of Fife you will enter the Scottish ‘city of discovery’, Dundee. Rarely high on any Scottish travel itinerary, Dundee is rough around the edges with an exciting emerging art scene now consolidated with the opening of the V&A.

This city has always been cutting edge for multimedia and now it has been named the UK’s first UNESCO city of design.

It is where the world-famous Scottish comic, Beano was first published and is home to most of the thriving computer games sector (Grand Theft Auto originated in Dundee).

Dundee V and A

The students certainly have their stamp on Fundee, some of my favourite charity shop finds have been from Perth Road. Craig loves Dundee for music, he has attended many gigs including Morrissey, Editors and Paul Weller.

My cousin, who studied in Dundee, recommends the pubs, the Art Bar, Duke’s Corner and the Tinsmith for nightlife in Dundee. For cocktails check out Jam Jar which is conveniently located next door to Castlehill Restaurant.

Castlehill Restaurant is led by chef Graham Campbell who is not only an award-winning chef but youngest to achieve a Michelin star at the age of 24.

The staff certainly like to play with your food; we experienced an extensive dinner tasting table menu of eight savoury and sweet dishes, sometimes mixed together – a peanut butter flavoured marshmallow paired with cheese!

The mains included fish and Castlehill Restaurant kindly accommodated Craig’s ‘if it lives in the sea it’s not for me’ diet and switched to meat for the picky eater. The real star of the show was the souffle which was set alight in front of us.

Visitors can hop aboard the RRS Discovery like Captain Scott and his crew on their way to the Antarctic.

The Discovery Point experience is a multi-media one, hence the reason holidaymakers wave about it (gettit?!) Dundee is actually bidding for the City of Culture title 2023 and you can help them.

→ Disclaimer, our food bill (not wine) for Castlehill Restaurant was covered by Dundee Tourism, honest opinions as always.

Castlehill Restaurant Dundee Food

Due to its proximity, The Kingdom of Fife makes for excellent day trips from Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh however since there are so many points of interest in Fife along its coast and inland, a longer stay at one of Fife’s hotels is warranted.

If you do make it over the Bridges give us a wave and if you see a white German Shepherd/husky with two different coloured eyes come say hello, that’s our dog, Bowie!

PS.  Remember to use the hashtag #LoveFife when visiting The Kingdom and keep up to date with events at Welcome to Fife and ONFife.

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