Things to do in Fife – driving the East Neuk
While I’ve been waiting out the winter in my urban hideaway, I feel that I have been deprived of a really amazing fish supper for far too long. A good chippy is almost taken for granted in Scotland but nothing beats one on the coast. So off I go for a tour of the East Neuk of Fife to reacquaint myself with Scottish coastal magnificence.
The route takes in the charming fishing villages of Crail, Anstruther, Pittenweem, St Monans, Elie and Earlsferry. Each has that guaranteed quaintness you might expect but down to important business first. I had an amazing fish supper at the Anstruther Fish Bar. In truth I was so badly in need of one that I was stuffing it into my face before I had even sat myself down. But let that take nothing away from its quality. The freshness, the delicacy, that melt in the mouth batter….So good you could easily convince yourself it was actually, somehow, healthy. Anyway, it was worth the journey for that alone.
Ok, digress over. I advise seeing as many of the aforementioned villages as you have time for but I found the beaches at Elie & Earlsferry to be my favourite. Clear sand, powerful waves and terrific views over the Firth of Forth to Bass Rock. It’s all very easy to love. Pittenweem is also particularly interesting during the first week of August when people throw open their homes to Joe Public and host their own art galleries as part of the annual festival. The works on display and for sale are largely by artists from the area and it’s a brilliant example of a local project that benefits a whole community. I’ll be there again this year so will talk more about it in August.
It’s all about getting ‘doon the watter’ with your bucket and spade in this little corner of the world but when you’ve had your fill there are several inland things to do in Fife too. Kellie Castle is one of the best occurrences of grand living in the Central Region. It’s more ‘big house’ than castle in my eyes but is in excellent condition. Quite remarkable given that it goes as far back as the 14th Century. Boasting an impressive art collection and lovely gardens it’s a side-trip that compliments the coast well. Still need more? Why not take a day trip to Falkland of Outlander fame? Scotland’s Secret Bunker is a bizarre underground attraction where the country’s importants were to shelter during the Cold War. Pretty cool. These are also both great activities if the sun is not up for it.
With good access from Edinburgh and close proximity to St Andrews, the East Neuk of Fife is a great place to escape the Scottish city scene. It offers something entirely different to that ruggedness of the west coast that I love to love but has an appeal that is distinctly its own.