9 reasons you’ll fall for Fife, Scotland

Keep reading to learn why it’s worth booking a trip to Fife, Scotland, ASAP.

Fife, Scotland: Visit Scotland
A landscape view of St Andrews Castle.
(Image credit: St Andrews Castle, VisitScotland/Kenny Lam)

Forget navigating the stress of travelling abroad this year, and instead enjoy a staycation in the beautiful coastal region of Fife, Scotland. 

As it's fondly known, the ‘Kingdom of Fife’ lies on the east coast peninsula between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Tay and is just remarkable. Beautiful beaches, picturesque fishing villages, stunning scenery, delicious local food, and walks galore. NatureScot has voted it a ‘No 1 outdoor destination’ for eight years in a row. Read on to find out why we couldn’t agree more. You’ll be booking that break in no time.

1. Go back in time to the medieval days of St Andrews Cathedral 

Fife, Scotland: St. Andrew's Cathedral

St Andrews Cathedral is an esteemed landmark that'll immerse you in Scotland's rich history and culture.

(Image credit: VisitScotland/Kenny Lam)

The fairytale romance of a prince finding his princess besides (yes, we’re talking Wills and Kate), there is so much more to the beautiful, historic town of St Andrews. A trip to St Andrews Cathedral—once Scotland’s largest church—is a must, where you’ll discover sculptures and relics from medieval days. And its tower is definitely worth the 168-step climb to witness the incredible views across the horizon. 

2. And don’t miss its castle, either

Fife, Scotland: Visit Scotland

Ruins of St Andrews Castle in Fife, Scotland.

(Image credit: VisitScotland/Kenny Lam)

With a rich history spanning 450 years, St Andrews Castle has been a bishop’s palace, a fortress, and a state prison. You won’t want to miss a trip down to its underground mine and countermine or look into its bottle dungeon—one of Britain’s most infamous medieval castle prisons. Then why not top your historical trip off with a spine-chilling ghost tour and discover all the spooky goings-on in town?

3. Grab a bag from a world-class chippy

Fife, Scotland: Anstruther Fish Bar

Anstruther Fish Bar and Restaurant represents the steadfast fishing tradition of the East Neuk, Scotland.

(Image credit: VisitScotland/Kenny Lam)

Family-run Anstruther Fish Bar lays claim to serving the best fish and chips in not just Scotland, but the whole of Britain, making it one of the world’s best chippies. But don’t just take our word for it. It has many awards under its belt, not to mention the testimonials of the rich and famous—they’ve even served Tom Hanks. 

4. Take a road trip to the East Neuk villages 

Fife, Scotland: East Neuk villages

Once the heart of Scotland’s fishing trade, East Neuk features pretty villages, sea views, and seafood curations galore. 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

From St Monans to Pittenweem past Anstruther (for those award-winning fish and chips!) and on to Crail, this string of fishing villages along the southerly coastline of Fife is utterly gorgeous. St Monans is the smallest but its 17th and 18th-century houses, hugging the harbour, bring buckets of charm. Next is the coastal gem, Pittenweem. Pay a visit to its Fishermen's Memorial statue, dedicated to the men and women who made their living from the sea. After your fish and chip pit stop at Anstruther, explore the outskirts of Crail, where you will discover something you least expect: a Secret Bunker, buried beneath a seemingly benign farmhouse. Once an assembly point in anticipation of nuclear fallout, Scotland's Secret Bunker is now an underground museum, showcasing relics from the Cold War era.

5. Or explore the stunning coastline by foot

Fife, Scotland: Coastline

Fife Coastal Path and Fife Pilgrim Way are popular long-distance routes for casual strollers and serious hikers alike.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’d rather don your backpack and walking boots to see the scenery, then the Fife Coastal Path and Fife Pilgrim Way are two renowned routes. The first stretches 117 miles, from the Firth of Forth in the south to the Firth of Tay in the north, whilst the Pilgrim Way offers a shorter 64-mile route following a medieval pathway from North Queensferry and Culross to St Andrews. 

6. Delight in its incredible beaches

Fife, Scotland: St Andrews West Sands

Fife boasts an array of picturesque beaches and coastlines, ideal for families and solo travellers wanting to amble alongside the ocean. 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Whether by car or by foot on one of the region's stunning coastal walks, you’ll discover some 15 award-winning beaches in the region. St Andrews West Sands—famous for being used in the opening scenes of Chariots of Fire—is a firm favorite with locals and visitors.  

Also known as Cambo Sands, Kingsbarns Beach boasts 2-miles of sandy beach ideal for a relaxing stroll. As you work up an appetite, grab a multi-award-winning gourmet grilled cheese delight from the snack van based in the car park.

For families, the Silver and Black Sands at Aberdour are perfect. 

7. Ramble the rolling terrain of the Lomond Hills

Visit Scotland: Lomond Hills

Glen Vale Circular, Lomond Hills

(Image credit: VisitScotland/Kenny Lam)

One of Fife’s most prominent landmarks found in the middle of 25 square miles of moorland, lochs, and farmland are the Lomond Hills—perfect for hiking in nature, taking in the breathtaking views, and soaking up the fresh air. Pack a flask and picnic and keep dogs on leads. At the end of the day, warm your cockles with a dram of local whisky. Situated in northwest Fife, you’ll find Lindores Abbey Distillery, which has recognised links to the earliest written reference to Scotch Whisky back in 1494.

8. Tee off in magnificent courses

Fife, Scotland: Royal and Ancient Gold Club St Andrew's

Among its sprawling beaches and sea views, Fife is one of the most sought after golfing destinations in the world.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you love getting out on the greens, then pack your clubs as Fife is the place to be. As it’s well known, the Home of Golf boasts 50 beautiful courses, a proud history, and a longstanding connection with the sport. From the world-famous Old Course in St Andrews to the tree-lined rolling fairways of Dunnikier Park in Kirkcaldy, there is something for beginners and pros alike. 

9. Get swept up in the history of Falkland Palace

Fife, Scotland: Falkland Palace

Once a country retreat for royals, Falkland Palace now embodies the Scottish monarchy. 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Part of the National Trust for Scotland, Falkland Palace with spectacular gardens and stunning Renaissance architecture is a must for the list. Stroll around its colourful grounds, wander the orchard, and explore its treasure trove of artefacts. Built in the early 16th century for King James IV as his ‘pleasure palace', it is filled with magnificent features you just have to see. And don’t miss its famous royal tennis court. It's the oldest in the world and still in use today.

Plan your trip to Fife, Scotland now

Government restrictions around COVID-19 vary across the UK. We strongly advise checking restrictions before visiting. Read about Coronavirus recovery phases in Scotland.

As you explore, please do so responsibly and help us to keep Scotland beautiful and unique for everyone to enjoy. Read about practical advice on responsible tourism.