Kingdom of Fife
The ancient Kingdom of Fife has lots to offer for every traveller.
Whether you’re a fan of the outdoor life, mad for museums, or just enjoy a taste of Scotland’s food and scenery, you’ll find it all here.
The area is packed with history, like the abbey in Dunfermline, Scotland’s ancient capital. Why not visit the remains of St Andrews Cathedral, Scotland’s largest medieval church? And while you’re in the area, pop in to the St Andrews brewery to sample the local ales.
St Andrews may be the home of golf but there are plenty of other opportunities to practice your swing with around 50 courses in the region. Ardent fans of the game should remember to have their selfie stick at the ready as they cross the iconic Swilken Bridge on the Old Course.
Travelling by train from Edinburgh or Glasgow to Fife takes you across the magnificent Forth Bridge where you’ll enjoy the great views east along the Firth of Forth towards the North Sea. To the west is the Forth Road Bridge and you might also catch a glimpse of the new road bridge in the background.
Getting to and from Fife by train
- Aberdeen to Dunfermline – approx 2 hours 45 minutes
- Edinburgh to Burntisland – approx 35 minutes
- Glasgow to St Andrews – approx 2 hours 20 minutes
- Stirling to Dunfermline – approx 1 hour 50 minutes
One or two days in St Andrews
St Andrews is the ideal short break destination for couples, families and sports lovers, and a real ‘go-to’ destination for everyone who appreciates the beauty of Scotland’s ancient cities. To get there, take the train to Leuchars then the regular shuttle bus to St Andrews. The bus journey takes less than 15 minutes.
If you enjoy the great outdoors there’s plenty to do and see. Your kids will thank you for a visit to Craigton Park, just two miles outside the town. There’s plenty of space to run around, enjoy the children’s play area, or take a trip on the miniature railway. The beach at West Sands, next to the golf course, is a haven for beach sports fans – traction kiting, land yachting and beach kayaking are all enjoyed here. If the weather turns dampish, St Andrews Aquarium, close to the Royal and Ancient Club, will be a welcome retreat – as will the indoor pool of the East Sands Leisure Centre, or even a visit to the café where Kate met Wills.
Prefer something a little less strenuous? St Andrews has no shortage of historical sites. The castle has been battered by wars and weather for centuries but it’s still a fascinating place to visit. It’s just a few minutes’ walk to the spectacular ruins of the cathedral. Take a climb to the top of St Rule’s Tower and you’ll be rewarded with magnificent views of the town.
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Days out in Fife
The market town of Cupar
The charming town of Cupar has managed to retain much of its medieval character and boasts a number of fine historic buildings, including the Mercat Cross which dates from 1683.
The Scottish Deer Centre is just a few miles east of the town. A great day out for everyone, it also features indoor and outdoor play areas, kart track and treetop walkway.
Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy
Once the capital of Scotland, Dunfermline’s 12th century abbey is the burial place of Robert the Bruce, and 11 other Scottish kings and queens. The town is also home to the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum, and the nearby Pittencrieff House Museum and adjacent park.
Visit Kirkcaldy’s esplanade during Easter and take part in the longest street fair in Europe with over 200 fairground rides and attractions. If you enjoy walking you’ll enjoy the routes along the coast, or the woodland walks and formal gardens at Beveridge Park.
The south coast of Fife
Outlander fans should make Aberdour their first stop. The castle, a filming location for Outlander, was built in the 1100s and is possibly Scotland’s oldest standing castle.
Next stop Burntisland. The town’s sand Blue Flag beach is a great place to spend a sunny day, and if the weather turns, there’s always the adjacent Beacon Leisure Centre for some indoor aquatic fun.
Your final stop along the coast route is Kinghorn, a quiet holiday town with a harbour and two beaches – the one to the south of the town at Pennycur Bay has more space and offers spectacular views across the Firth of Forth to Edinburgh.
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Travelling on from Fife?
Head north from Leuchars and you’ll cross the Firth of Tay to arrive in Dundee. The city’s attractive waterfront is also home to RRS Discovery, the ship that took Captain Scott on his Antarctic voyages.
Head west to reach Stirling in the heart of Scotland, and a good starting point for many other Scottish rail adventures.
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