Fife Holiday Cottages
The Kingdom of Fife is stituated between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Tay and offers so much to holidaymakers. From pretty seaside villages in the East Neuk, St Andrews 'The home of golf', Dumfermline with its royal connections and a multitude of castles, museums and amazing foodie destinations - Fife has everything you need for a perfect Scottish holiday!
The East Neuk of Fife has many picturesque fishing villages - all different but all characterful with a unique architectural style (many houses are colourfully painted, with crow stepped gables and pan tiled roofs. The East Neuk (neuk is an old Scots word meaning corner) is the eastern corner of Fife. A good way to explore the area is by following the Fife Coastal Path or the cycle route which takes you through quiet back roads and lots of the coastal villages. Elie is a very popular seaside town (joined with Earlsferry) and its curving golden beach is a magnet for children. There are lots of watersports available in the bay and Elie also has a great links golf course, designed by James Braid (who was born in Elie). The pretty houses (many of which are self-catering properties) and excellent independent shops and cafes give a relaxed and holiday atmosphere to the town. Up the coast from Elie is St Monans - more pretty houses set around a harbour. There are breathtaking views from St Monans kirk over the sea and a visit to St Monans Windmill is well worth the climb. Pittenweem has a thriving fishing harbour and the fish market is held at the harbour in the mornings - many of the award-wining restaurants and pubs offer delicious freshly-caught fish and seafood straight off the boats. The Pittenweem Art Festival is held during the first two weeks of August and it attracts people from throughout the world - if you want to stay in Pittenweem during that period then be sure to book your hotel or holiday house very early. Anstruther still has some fishing boats and you can learn about its history in the Scottish Fisheries Museum which tells the story of Scottish fishing. Anstruther's award winning fish and chip shop is a draw for holiday-makers and locals alike - sit on the harbour wall and enjoy them in the sea breeze. You can take a boat trip in the summer from Anstruther to the Isle of May in the Firth of Forth - seeing the puffins there is an unforgettable sight. Cellardyke is another pretty East Neuk village with a harbour surrounded by cottages. Crail is well known for its annual Crail Food Festival - a celebration of all the superb ingredients and producers in Fife. If you are on holiday in Crail then don't miss the fascinating Crail Museum and Heritage Centre.
St Andrews is a mecca for golfers: for many people playing a round on The Old Course is a highlight of their holiday and the main reason that they visit Scotland. However St Andrews offers lots to captivate those who don't play golf too! Home to the University of St Andrews, the student flats are available to rent during the summer holidays which greatly increases the number of self-catering rentals in the town. Not only can you play on the famous Old Course (though be sure to book a tee time well in advance of your St Andrews holiday) but there are ten other links golf courses that you can play on as well four other high quality courses, each with a clubhouse and who welcome visiting players. The British Golf Museum (opposite The Royal and Ancient Clubhouse) tells the story of golf since its start 600 years ago - it also has a great shop and a cafe on the roof with panoramic views of the 1st tee of the Old Course and the West Sands beach. A visit to the ruined St Andrews Cathedral is fascinating, as is St Andrews Castle. Many people come to St Andrews to spend the day at the seaside on the West Sands Beach - famous for the opening scenes in Chariots of Fire it is a wide and seemingly never ending beach - great dunes for sliding down and providing a shelter for BBQs. It's such a large beach that it's easy to find an empty spot and enjoy the miles and miles of golden sands - an idyllic spot for picnicing as well as fun and games by the sea!
The National Trust for Scotland has many fascinating places to visit in Fife. Kellie Castle, near Pittenweem was saved from its ruinous state in the 19th century by the Lorimer family - the famous architect Sir Robert Lorimer spent his childhood here and designed the beautiful furniture that now adorns the castles fine interiors (the plaster ceilings and painted panelling are superb). The castle garden is stunning and the fragrance of the old roses are amazing. Hill of Tarvit, near Cupar, offers a chance to view Edwardian country life in all its splendour. The house was designed by Sir Robert Lorimer, who transformed the 17th century house (formerly known as Wemyss Hall) and landscaped the gardens into the epitome of Edwardian beauty. Falkland Palace and Garden is perhaps the jewel in the crown in Fife - it is the finest renaissance palace in Scotland, built by King James IV and King James V between 1501 and 1541 as a country house where they could enjoy hunting and falconry. Mary, Queen of Scots loved Falkland Palace and it's easy to see why. You can also see the oldest real tennis court in the UK and enjoy beautiful grounds, including a physic garden. More recently the village of Falkland has featured in the popular TV series Outlander, with many of the buildings appearing as Inverness in 1946.
Inland Fife has many attractions and is easily reached by motorway from Edinburgh or Glasgow as well as by train. The Forth Rail Bridge crosses the Firth of Forth and there are frequent trains to Inverkeithing, Dunfermline, Cowdenbeath, Glenrothes, Kirkcaldy and Markinch. Leuchars is the nearest station to St Andrews and a regular shuttle bus will transport you into the town. The Scottish Deer Centre is between Auchtermuchty and Cupar and is well worth a visit if you are on a family holiday in Fife - children particularly love feeding the deer and watching the falconry displays. Fife and Angus are very agricultural parts of Scotland and many farms have diversified into tourism and have converted barns, steadings and farm cottages into self-catering accommodation. Wemyss is a traditional Fife coast village with harbour, creels and white-washed cottages set on the shores of the Forth. Lundin Links is situation next to Lower Largo is well known for its golf course and has a pretty beach.
On the southern side of the Tay estuary is Newport on Tay - it has some fine Georgian buildings and is only 10 minutes from here to the centre of Dundee. Dundee itself is rapidly regenerating after its manufacturing industries faded and the forthcoming V&A museum will give another boost to the city's tourism. Popular tourist attractions include RRS Discovery (Captain Scott's ship), HM Frigate Unicorn, Verdant Works and good shopping and restaurants. Just north of Dundee are the Sidlaw Hills and there are some great circular walks taking in Craigowl and Auchterhouse hills. Broughty Ferry is a lovely seaside town near Dundee, with a lovely beach and harbour and is close to the famous Carnoustie golf course.
Travelling north from Dundee takes you to the beautiful hills and glens of Angus. A holiday in Angus offers endless outdoor pursuits, museums, abbeys and fabulous artisan food producers. Arbroath is well worth a visit - the ruined Abbey is fascinating and there's an informative visitors centre. Arbroath is of course home to Arbroath Smokies and you can find several award winning smokers still in the town, using traditional methods to produce the finest fish. Glamis Castle is host to the annual Taste Angus Food and Drink Festival where some of the best Angus food and drink producers showcase their wares along with local chefs and street food vans. Edzell is one of the most beautiful villages in Angus - situated just north of Brechin by the River North Esk, it was the Lindsay family seat and you can visit the ruined Edzell Castle and the splendid formal gardens. Forfar is the county town of Angus and has an excellent farmers' market.
A great place to stay in Angus is Kirriemuir, which is known as the 'Gateway to the Glens'. Located just 5 miles north of Forfar its claim to fame is that it is the birthplace of J M Barrie (the author of Peter Pan) and the cottage where he was born is now in the care of the NTS and has an interesting exhibition and lots of information on Barrie's life. You can see panoramic views of Kirriemuir and the surrounding Angus countryside through the camera obscura gifted to the town by J M Barrie. There are five main Angus glens: Glen Isla, Glen Clova, Glen Eks, Glen Lethnot and Glen Prosen and they all have their own charms with majestic mountains above and pretty villages in the valleys. If you are wanting to escape from it all then these are great places to rent a remote holiday cottage and relax in the peaceful and stunning Angus countryside.