It’s time to discover the Kingdom of Fife – a region filled with historic wonders, charming coastal villages, and picture-perfect beauty spots. You may have heard of places like St Andrews and Culross, but explore more of Fife and you’ll be rewarded with amazing finds at every turn. And with the east coast region less than a 10-minute drive from Dundee and only half an hour from Edinburgh, it couldn’t be easier to discover Fife.
Start planning a trip to Fife now with these stunning hidden gems.
Isle of May
Anchored on the edge of the Firth of Forth is the Isle of May, a wee place with a lot of residents. Head to this national nature reserve and witness hundreds of seabirds crammed onto cliffs and puffins peeking out from their burrows for a truly unforgettable sight! The island also a fascinating history, with everyone from monks and smugglers to Vikings paying it a visit over the years. A small visitor centre on the island provides more information. From April to September, boat trips run to the Isle of May from Anstruther. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some resident seals from the boat!
Pittencrieff House, Dunfermline
Sat within the town and former Royal Burgh of Dunfermline, Pittencrieff House has passed through the hands of many families in its history. In 1902, it was purchased by one of the town’s most famous sons, industrialist Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie gifted both the house and the park it sits within to the people of the town the following year. Today, the park is home to many attractions to visit including a glasshouse, the Art Deco Glen Pavilion, stunning trails and walks – as well as some resident peacocks!
Elie Ness Lighthouse, Elie
No trip to Fife is complete without exploring the East Neuk. ‘Neuk’ means nook or corner in Scots, and the East Neuk is an area on the north-easterly coast of Fife that’s filled with fishing villages – including the twin towns of Elie and Earlsferry. A great way to experience the landscapes of the towns is at their two fantastic golf courses. At Elie Ness headland, explore a stunning nature reserve. Easy footpaths lead along the cliffs with views of the striking Elie Ness Lighthouse.
Just over 10 miles from the small village of Balmalcolm you’ll find the Clatto Reservoir. This hidden oasis is the perfect place for a peaceful picnic and a great area to spot wildlife. The reservoir sits on the Fife Pilgrim Way, an exciting new long-distance walking route that takes you on a journey through history. The Way follows in the footsteps of pilgrims who would flock to the Kingdom of Fife in medieval times. To find the reservoir, travel the section which goes from Kennoway to Ceres.
Lochore Castle, near Lochgelly
Sat at the entrance to the stunning Lochore Meadows Country Park, the ruins of Lochore Castle have an interesting story to tell. The fortress home of the Lochore family, a castle has stood on this site since 1160. Also known as ‘Inchgall Castle’, it once sat upon an island called Inchgall, which means ‘the island of strangers’. Today, you can see the castle in a whole new way through the innovative mobile app ‘In the Footsteps of Kings’. The app brings historical locations in Fife to life through augmented reality and games you can play when you visit. Don’t forget to download before you go!
Riverside Park, Glenrothes
Riverside Park, an idyllic haven in the bustling town of Glenrothes, is the perfect place for a family day out. There are several adventure playgrounds within the park which are ideal for kids, as well as woodland walks and floral gardens for everyone to explore. The park also features many art installations and sculptures, with the town home to more than 100 in total. How many can you spot on your visit?
Fife Folk Museum, Ceres
In the village of Ceres, find a window into Fife’s past at the Fife Folk Museum. Explore a range of historic buildings including former weavers’ cottages, and the old weigh-house and tolbooth. The museum offers a look back into the history of the area to see how people lived and worked. Make sure to refuel with a visit to the tearoom, which serves hearty homemade food. Please note that you can only pay in cash, with a cash withdrawal within the village at the Spar shop.
Just 10 miles south of St Andrews, Anstruther is a fishing village that celebrates Fife’s maritime history. Head to the Scottish Fisheries Museum to discover fishing’s importance to the area or, in summer, take a boat trip into the Firth of Forth from the harbour. And you can’t visit without getting some fish and chips on the go – the Anstruther Fish Bar was previously crowned UK Fish and Chip Shop of the Year!
Ravenscraig Castle, Kirkcaldy
Dating from around 1460, Ravenscraig Castle sits on the eastern outskirts of the town of Kirkcaldy. Due to its position, the castle is naturally defended by steep cliffs on three sides and was also one of the first in Scotland to be built to withstand cannon fire. The castle is also the setting for the ballad Rosabelle, which features in the Lay of the Last Minstrel by Sir Walter Scott.
Lady’s Tower, Ruby Bay
Ruby Bay, a section of coastline along the East Neuk, is home to a building with a very interesting story. Along the cliffs you will find Lady’s Tower, a structure built by Lady Janet Anstruther of Elie House. It was Lady Anstruther’s summer house as she loved to bathe in the sea – but also loved her privacy. Whenever she went to bathe, she sent a man through the streets of Elie ringing a bell to tell people to stay away! Today, anyone can explore the remains of the tower and enjoy its amazing views.
Craigtoun Country Park, St Andrews
Sitting just outside St Andrews, Craigtoun Country Park offers 47 acres of fun. Open all year, enjoy facilities such as an adventure playground, Fairy Glen, trim trail and a 30-foot-long zip wire. Between April to October, the park comes alive with amazing attractions including the Rio Grande Miniature Railway, Puffin’ Billy tractor rides, crazy golf, bouncy castles and pedal cars. Boat on the lake around a picturesque island village, now known as the ‘Dutch Village’. UPDATE: the café currently only does takeaway.
Charming cobbled streets, a miniature harbour surrounded by historic fishing cottages, and more than a few surprises – Crail is well worth seeking out. One of the most notable of Crail’s many historic buildings is the parish church, which dates from the 12th century. Discover its distinctive red sandstone tower and Gothic arches. Other places to explore include the Kirkyard and Tolbooth, where markets were once held. Summer also sees the village hosting two exciting festivals. Visit the Food Festival for a treat for the senses and enjoy entertainment and family fun at the Crail Festival.
Want to discover more of Fife? Try our 50 ideas for exciting things to do in the region, an area that is filled with hidden gems. For even more ideas, find out more about Fife’s amazing destinations and attractions at Welcome to Fife.
Don’t forget to share your own amazing images from Fife using #ScotlandIsNow, #VisitScotland and #loveFife!