The Ancient Kingdom of Fife, lying between the estuaries of the Forth and the Tay in the east of Scotland has long been a popular holiday destination. Its south east coast (the East Neuk or corner) boasts some wonderful beaches and a string of picturesque little fishing villages clustered round their harbours. Inland, there are numerous attractions such as Mary Queen of Scots’ fairytale Falkland Palace, Kellie Castle or Scotland’s Secret Bunker.
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Exploring the Fife Area
Fife's best known feature must surely be historic St Andrews which is not just the home of golf, with its internationally famous Royal and Ancient Golf Club, but also has Scotland's oldest university (founded in 1410) and a ruined castle and cathedral. It is also home to the fabulous beaches which featured in the opening credits of the film 'Chariots of Fire'.
The central Fife area again has a long coastline of sandy beaches. There are lots of visitor attractions including pretty market towns such as Cupar.
The picturesque East Neuk of Fife is an ideal base for an enjoyable family holiday with its beautiful coast and more lovely sandy beaches.
The area's flat landscape is ideal for walking and cycling and the southern coastline has many picturesque fishing villages (such as Anstruther, Crail and Elie), fine sandy beaches and lots of good golf courses.
There are many varied places of interest to visit throughout Fife, such as castles, abbeys, wildlife centres and the secret bunker built during the Cold War. Fife provides a wide range of activities and attractions for people of all ages and is particularly suited to family holidays.
There are some quaint villages and visitor attractions within the predominantly industrial area of southern Fife. Culross is a charming 17th century small town and the National Trust for Scotland owns about a fifth of the properties. Places to visit are the small 17th century Culross Palace (with its painted ceilings and fine furnishings), the National Trust Visitor Centre set within the 17th century Town House, the 17th century house, the Study and the ruins of the 13th century Culross Abbey.
Dunfermline was once the capital of Scotland until the Union of the Crowns in 1603. The attractive centre and oldest part of the town is perched on a hill with cobbled streets leading up to it, surrounded by old buildings and trees. Dunfermline Abbey was built on this hill in the 12th century, the burial place of six Scottish Kings and Robert the Bruce. Nearby are the ruins of Dunfermline Palace, converted by James VI from the abbey guesthouse.
The 76-acre Pittencrieff Park lies in the centre of the town with Pittencrieff House providing displays on the local history and nearby Andrew Carnegie's Birthplace - a rich 19th century industrialist who funded many libraries and educational establishments throughout the world. There are buses and trains to the town from Edinburgh and the tourist office is in the High Street. Restaurants include the Davaar House Hotel and the Town House Restaurant.
There are few places of interest in Kirkcaldy apart from the Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery. There are several castles further along the coast west of Kirkcaldy - the ruins of the 15th century Rossend Castle in Burntisland and 14th century Aberdour Castle. You can take a boat trip from Aberdour to the ruins of a 12th century abbey on Inchcolm island. The fishing village of North Queensferry is dominated by the Forth Road and Rail Bridges but a visit to Deep Sea World is popular with families with underwater viewing of a wide variety of fish, including sharks, housed in a huge aquarium. The Fife Coastal Path commences at North Queensferry and ends at the Tay Road Bridge.