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around 50 miles at its widest point, this area has a remarkable amount of places to stay, eat, and experience
The ancient Kingdom of Fife was once one of seven great Pictish kingdoms. It’s a historical county packed full of charming villages, bustling towns, rolling countryside, and a rugged coastline you won’t forget in a hurry. Despite being compact – around 50 miles at its widest point, this area has a remarkable amount of places to stay, eat, and experience. You will Fife on the east coast of Scotland, north of Edinburgh, just across the Firth of Forth. Perhaps most famous for being the home of the world-famous St Andrews Golf Club, one of the oldest clubs in the world and being Scotland’s oldest university town. The area offers endless possibilities for visitors. It’s filled with historical landmarks, including the iconic Forth Road Bridge, which connects Edinburgh to the Kingdom of Fife. This monumental piece of railway engineering was opened in 1964 and remains one of the most recognisable bridges in the world. From some of the most exquisite fine-dining restaurants, endless nature trails, wildlife spotting opportunities, and charming villages and towns to soak up the local atmosphere, Fife offers something for everyone.
Despite golf being one of the national sports of Scotland, it is in Fife that the moniker wears its crown. The region is home to some of the best internationally regarded links in the world – including those found in the beautiful university town of St Andrews, where the British Open is frequently played. St Andrews is also home to the oldest university in Scotland – and one of the world’s most ancient. It was famously where Prince William and Kate Middleton met for the first time. Beyond St Andrews, Fife is packed with intrigue, from historic castles to stretches of gorgeous coastline. It’s also the location of Scotland’s newest city, Dunfermline, which was granted city status by Queen Elizabeth II in celebration of her Platinum Jubilee in 2022. Notable Fifers include the novelist Sir Ian Rankin, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and members of the bands Coldplay and The Rolling Stones.
Historically known as the ‘Kingdom of Fife’, Fife itself acts as something of a peninsula to the mainland, settled between the Firth of Forth and Firth of Clyde. Acting largely on its own accord for many centuries, it eventually became a stronghold for royalty. From the beginning of King Malcolm’s rain in the 11th century, until movement began further down towards Edinburgh and other cities, many of Scotland’s kings were crowned in Fife and several were buried at the famous Dunfermline Abbey, including Robert the Bruce. The area has always been a significant place for trade and industry, whether it be the thriving ports and fishing villages along the coastline or the factories and mills that sprung up during the Industrial Revolution.
Fife frequently traded with other regions of Scotland, specialising in coal production, linen and salt, building legacies that still continue to this day. Across the 19th century, Fife became hugely industrialised, with more coal pits than ever. Later, it would also become the world centre for linoleum production and attract significant tech investment. Nowadays, the region is best known for its dozens of historic and significant buildings, outdoor living and of course – excellent golf.
Fife is served by the A92, which is well connected with the region, including the Fife Coastal Path. There are also hundreds of miles of dedicated cycle paths and trails available. The region is also serviced by Stagecoach buses connecting most of the major towns and cities.
Getting to Fife
The closest airports to Fife are Dundee and Edinburgh, each around a 20-minute drive away. There are also motorway links from Edinburgh. Fife is serviced by train services from across the UK, as well as National Express services from London with connections to Edinburgh. You can also take a ferry service from Ireland or from Newcastle to the west coast and drive to Fife.
When to go
April to October is the golf season, so Fife is best visited during these times for balmy weather and plenty of opportunities to play. Spring is Fife’s best season as the weather is usually less rainy and warmer. Autumn is also excellent to see beautiful fall colours and experience the region outside of the tourist season.
Where to stay
St Andrews is one of the region’s most popular destinations, with plenty of hotels and self-accommodation options on the coast. The newest city Dunfermline is the perfect spot for history buffs, as is the historic town of Culross. East Neuk, Falkland and North Queensferry are also popular.
Eating & drinking
Being on the coast, seafood takes real prominence here and can be found in traditional form – langoustines, lobster and crab especially – or the classic fish and chips. Look out for sweet treats like tablets and teacakes, sample locally distilled gins and whiskies and taste the real delicacies of the Fife natural larder.
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