Fife Stories and Tips

North Fife

Tropical fish Photo, Fife, Scotland

This is arguably the most interesting area of the county of Fife, with major national attractions and well worth at least a day, but easily able to provide a week of exploration.

*Howe of Fife: Cupar and around*

North Fife centres roughly on Cupar, old market town and a reasonable enough place to pass through or stop for a while. Luvians Bottle Shop at 93 Bonnygate has a fantastic selection of whisky, some decent wine, the best ice-cream in town and a well-stocked deli counter too.

Near Cupar is a well-know local country park with animals, Scottish Deer Centre, worth a visit particularly with children, although perhaps a mostly local-calibre attraction.

*The ancient burgh of St Andrews*

The prime destination in north Fife, and in fact in the whole of the Kingdom is undoubtedly St Andrews, an ancient centre of Christianity, known more recently as the birthplace of golf and, despite being rather overrun with tourists and day-trippers, a place eminently worth visiting and easily affording a day or two days exploration itself.

St Andrews has two decent beaches but it's the golf and the history that make it such an attractive and popular place.

The ancient St Andrews centers on the ruin of a cathedral with an associated small museum and a tall tower (St Rules Tower).

There is also the St Andrews Castle (available as a joint ticket with the Abbey Museum and the tower), with the history dating to 10th century and a long-standing role as the seat of bishops and archbishops of St Andrews.

Fans of golf, in addition to playing the famous courses, can visit the British Golf Museum.

Apart from attractions, St Andrews is a very pleasant place to walk about, with an affluent and civilised feel similar to exclusive areas of larger cities.

Nearby across the river Eden is RAF base Leuchars, and each September they put on an air show, reputedly one of the best in the UK and worth aiming for if you are into military aircraft.

*The rest of North Fife*

This is a pleasant, farmy, countryside, flat in the middle parts and rolling nicely to the north and the west; interspersed with hills and woodland areas. Organic farms with adjacent cafes and shops are quite a feature (the one near Falkland at Hercules Pillars and the one in Abernethy at Jamesfields are particularly worth a stop), there are ponds and country parks, petting zoos (Colessie) and folk museums (Ceres), as well as several more picturesque ruins. Good walking can be had on the Lomond Hills.

The north coast of Fife along the river Tay looks to Dundee and the settlements of Tayport, Newport-on-Tay and Wormit are effectively Dundee suburbs. They don't offer any particular attractions to the visitor, although the Tentsmuir Forest at the very north-east tip of Fife, a pine forest planted along the dunes and a splendid, wide, white sandy beach is a lovely place for a family day out (weather permitting).

Those with a particular liking for atmospheric ruined churches and abbeys might want to locate St Fillan's Church, Balmerino Abbey and Lindores Abbey, all in the coastal strip on North Fife between the towns of Newport and Newburgh.

Apart from St Andrews, a major Fife historical sight is the Falkland Palace, in the village of the same name. Falkland itself is a fascinating little village, rich in historic buildings and a seat of the palace (which tarted its life as a castle in the medieval period) but is now a stunning example of Early Renaissance architecture, parts of it ruined, part restored to display standard, and with good gardens around it too.

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