Fife’s Coastal Corner

Where pretty fishing villages lead to St Andrews
 
This scenic short break introduces you to the best of Fife’s celebrated Coastal Path: from pretty fishing villages to fascinating history and excellent local food and drink. You walk self-guided, with luggage transfers included, your final destination the historic university town of St Andrews.
Fife’s Coastal Corner. 4 nights
Fife’s Coastal Corner. 4 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A walking holiday in Fife

A fringe of gold on a beggar’s mantle”, said James II of Fife’s eastern corner, known locally as the ‘East Neuk’. Although the Scottish king was speaking over 500 years ago, it is still true that the area between Elie and St Andrews is home to Fife’s richest and most interesting landscapes, and so it is here that we have chosen to base our short walking break along the region’s celebrated Coastal Path.

Beginning in Anstruther – a typically timeless seafaring village where historic houses watch over an attractive harbour – you have the chance to discover everything that makes the East Neuk so special: quaint fishing villages; dramatic ruins that hint at a far-reaching history; an abundance of marine and birdlife; and some really excellent local food and drink – visit smokehouses, distilleries and fish ‘bars’, and call in at a rather wonderful chocolate shop.
The walking itself is leisurely but rewarding, with the ever-changing coastal scenery providing a diverting backdrop, and the efficient local bus network giving you the option to tailor your routes. For a break from the trails, we suggest a boat trip to the ‘floating nature reserve’ that is the Isle of May, and you also have a full day to explore your final destination, St Andrews, where the splendid historic buildings of Scotland’s first university compete for attention with two glorious golden beaches and the world's oldest golf course.
 
Images courtesy of Caroline Trotter (© CT)
 
Gallery

 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights.

Our recommended walking routes make use of Fife’s regular local bus service; pay locally for this, and for any other journeys, visits or excursions you undertake.

We have not provided elevation profiles for any of the routes on this holiday because it is largely on the flat.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.

    You should always be prepared for wet weather, whichever month you are travelling.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 7 7 9 11 14 16 19 18 16 13 9 7
    mm 51 41 47 56 58 68 67 68 51 67 53 49
  • Arrival in Anstruther
    Night 1: at Spindrift Guest House (the first of two nights here).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of walking.
  • Choice of walks from Anstruther: 8.5 or 9.5km (5.5 or 6 miles); or a boat trip
    There’s plenty to enjoy in Anstruther, from the excellent Scottish Fisheries Museum to the award-winning Anstruther Fish Bar, said to have been a favourite of Prince William’s during his time at St Andrews University. We also suggest three further options:

    Elie to Anstruther: 9.5km (6 miles), 3hrs; ascent 110m/descent 100m
    Following a short bus journey to the charming fishing village of Elie, you walk back to Anstruther along an interest-packed stretch of the Fife Coastal Path. Having crossed sheltered Ruby Bay, which takes its name from the tiny pyrope garnets embedded in its cliffs, you pass the dramatic remains of the Lady’s Tower, an 18th-century changing ‘hut’ built for the use of a local noblewoman. Further ruins line your onward route, including those of the once-great Newark Castle, and there is an excellent farmshop to visit – recommended to sample some of Fife’s famed local produce. Continuing along the coast, you pass through St Monan’s with its pretty huddle of houses and popular East Pier Smokehouse, before making your way to Pittenweem, the final village before Anstruther. In addition to its buzzing summer arts festival and mouthwatering lunch options, Pittenweem is known for St Fillan’s Cave, said to have provided refuge to a 7th-century saint with a luminous left arm.

    Anstruther to Crail: 8.5km (5.5 miles), 3hrs; ascent 60m/descent 50m
    Crail is often described as the prettiest of the East Neuk villages, and with its cobbled lanes, tiny stonewalled harbour and cluster of historic cottages it’s not difficult to see why. To reach it from Anstruther, you follow the Fife Coastal Path across rich pastureland and past the distinctive Caves of Caiplie – red sandstone structures into which early Christian pilgrims carved the sign of the cross. Once in Crail, be sure to visit the renowned pottery and to sample some of the village’s freshly caught seafood. Alternatively, why not treat yourself to an indulgent picnic lunch with Scottish food expert, Christopher Trotter (further details below). From Crail, you return to Anstruther by bus. 

    Isle of May boat trip
    A visit to this National Nature Reserve is highly recommended: in peak times, the island’s towering cliffs offer a home to over 200,000 nesting birds, including puffins, kittiwakes and guillemots; while porpoises, dolphins and even the occasional whale can be spotted in the surrounding waters. Advance booking advised; click here for details.
    Pittenweem, on the route between Elie and Anstruther
    Walking between Anstruther and Crail
    Isle of May
  • Pre-book a picnic with a local food expert
    Crail’s picturesque harbour is an ideal setting for an indulgent picnic lunch with Christopher Trotter, an expert in Scottish food and drink. Originally a chef, Christopher is a convivial host and will share his knowledge of Fife’s rich gastronomy with you as you savour a leisurely, two-course picnic typically consisting of local crab salad followed by dessert and accompanied by a bottle of wine.

    The picnic must be booked in advance of your holiday; see the Pricing section for prices. Dietary requirements can be accommodated.
    Your convivial host © CT
    Enjoy an indulgent lunch © CT
  • Anstruther to St Andrews: 10.5km (6.5 miles), 3.5hrs; ascent 80m/descent 60m
    After a short bus journey to Crail, you re-join the Fife Coastal Path – this time for one of its more challenging sections. An early highlight is the chance to spy Crail Airfield, which was operational during World Wars I and II as well as throughout the Cold War, and is perhaps better known by its military title HMS Jackdaw. You also pass through the grasslands and salt marshes of the Kilminning Wildlife Reserve before rounding Fife’s easternmost tip to reach Constantine’s Cave, where fragments of Roman pottery and early Christian wall carvings have been found. The final leg of the route takes you to Kingsbarns Distillery – an award-winning whisky distillery which uses locally grown barley – and to the privately owned Cambo Estate with its beautiful walled garden. From here, we recommend that you complete the remainder of your journey to St Andrews by bus, to better appreciate the town’s superb setting and skyline. Your two nights here are spent at the Albany Hotel or, if you choose to upgrade, at Rufflets St Andrews.
    Pass through the Kilminning Reserve
    Visit Cambo Estate
  • St Andrews town trail: 7km (4 miles), 2.5hrs; ascent/descent 60m
    There’s so much to see in St Andrews that we suggest spending the full day here, using our self-guided town trail to help you explore. St Andrews claims the third-oldest university in the English-speaking world, with teaching dating from 1410 and several historic buildings to its name, notably 'Sallies Quad' and the late Gothic St Salvator’s Chapel. The town is also home to a ruined castle and the remains of a once-magnificent cathedral, as well as to two glorious golden beaches, with West Sands being the more famous thanks to its starring role in the opening scenes of Chariots of Fire. And then there’s the golf: St Andrews’ Old Course is considered the world’s oldest golf course, and its prestigious clubhouse and much-photographed Swilcan Bridge are sporting icons in their own right.
    Explore St Andrews
    St Andrews castle
 

Accommodation

From a former Victorian residence to a Georgian townhouse set in the ancient heart of St Andrews, your accommodation is welcoming and full of character.

We offer an upgrade option in St Andrews. Whichever hotel you choose, we recommend an extra night here to make the most of the town’s many charms, and perhaps to enjoy a round of golf on the famous Old Course!
 

Extend your stay

 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter. For general information on pricing, see the 'your holiday price explained' page.
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  • 4 nights: 01 March 2024 - 31 October 2024 & 01 March 2025 - 31 October 2025

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 29 Mar 2024 £545 £210
    30 Mar - 30 Apr 2024 £580 £230
    1 May - 30 Sep 2024 £655 £260
    1 - 27 Oct 2024 £615 £255
    1 - 29 Mar 2025 £570 £220
    30 Mar - 30 Apr 2025 £605 £240
    1 May - 30 Sep 2025 £685 £275
    1 - 27 Oct 2025 £640 £270
    3rd & 4th person discount -£50 to -£52
    Single traveller supplement £50 to £52
    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, and any connecting travel detailed below.

    Included travel: transfer St Andrews-Anstruther (if driving) OR from St Andrews to Leuchars railway station

    Picnic in Crail: add £44pp in 2023 or £48pp in 2024. Must be booked in advance.

    Please note: dogs are not permitted on Inntravel holidays

  • 4 nights, staying at Rufflets Hotel: 01 March 2024 - 31 October 2024 & 01 March 2025 - 31 October 2025

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 29 Mar 2024 £675 £395
    30 Mar - 27 Apr 2024 £795 £470
    28 Apr - 31 May 2024 £845 £500
    1 Jun - 30 Sep 2024 £860 £505
    1 - 27 Oct 2024 £785 £470
    1 - 29 Mar 2025 £705 £415
    30 Mar - 27 Apr 2025 £830 £490
    28 Apr - 31 May 2025 £880 £520
    1 Jun - 30 Sep 2025 £895 £530
    1 - 27 Oct 2025 £820 £490
    3rd & 4th person discount -£50 to -£52
    Single traveller supplement £50 to £52
    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, and any connecting travel detailed below.

    Included travel: transfer St Andrews-Anstruther (if driving) OR from St Andrews to Leuchars railway station

    Picnic in Crail: add £44pp in 2023 or £48pp in 2024. Must be booked in advance.

    Please note: dogs are not permitted on Inntravel holidays

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Spindrift Guest House, Anstruther
    King double: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2024 £11
    King double: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2025 £11
    Albany Hotel, St Andrews
    Junior suite: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2024 £40
    Junior suite: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2025 £42

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Spindrift Guest House, Anstruther (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Mar - 31 Mar 2024 £75 £150
    01 Apr - 31 Oct 2024 £99 £198
    01 Mar - 31 Mar 2025 £78 £156
    01 Apr - 31 Oct 2025 £103 £206
    Albany Hotel, St Andrews (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Mar - 30 Apr 2024 £92 £133
    01 May - 22 Oct 2024 £128 £181
    23 Oct - 31 Oct 2024 £99 £149
    01 Mar - 30 Apr 2025 £96 £139
    01 May - 22 Oct 2025 £135 £190
    23 Oct - 31 Oct 2025 £103 £155
  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Spindrift Guest House, Anstruther
    King double: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2024 £11
    King double: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2025 £11
    Rufflets St Andrews, St Andrews
    Suite: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2024 £57
    Suite: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2025 £59
    Superior: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2024 £15
    Superior: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2025 £16
    'Turret' room: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2024 £38
    'Turret' room: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2025 £40

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Spindrift Guest House, Anstruther (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Mar - 31 Mar 2024 £75 £150
    01 Apr - 31 Oct 2024 £99 £198
    01 Mar - 31 Mar 2025 £78 £156
    01 Apr - 31 Oct 2025 £103 £206
    Rufflets St Andrews, St Andrews (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Mar - 31 Mar 2024 £178 £342
    01 Apr - 30 Apr 2024 £226 £437
    01 May - 30 Sep 2024 £238 £461
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2024 £226 £437
    01 Mar - 31 Mar 2025 £190 £365
    01 Apr - 30 Apr 2025 £240 £460
    01 May - 30 Sep 2025 £250 £485
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2025 £240 £460
  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Where a price range is given, the price you pay depends on your date of travel.

    Connecting travel options - via Edinburgh

    Outward route Price per person Latest
    arrival time
    taxi Edinburgh airport to hotel (1h30) £68-£71 flexible
    taxi Edinburgh Waverley station to hotel (1h35) £95-£99 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Edinburgh airport (1h30) £75-£78 flexible
    taxi hotel to Edinburgh Waverley station (1h40) £88-£92 flexible

    Connecting travel options - via Leuchars station

    Outward route Price per person Latest
    arrival time
    taxi Leuchars station to hotel (0h30) £19-£20 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Leuchars station (0h15) included flexible
What is included
  • 4 nights
  • 4 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • GPS navigation
  • taxi to collect car (if driving)
 
Reviews

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

 

FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help. You might also find our General FAQs section helpful.
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from A to B, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. If/when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation, meaning that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.

    For more detailed information, see our walking holidays in Europe page.
  • Yes, prior to going on holiday you will be able to download GPX tracks so that you can follow your route on your smartphone or dedicated GPS device if you wish. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you use them – our detailed, step-by-step route notes remain the principal means of guiding you from A to B – but we provide them as a secondary means of navigation for additional reassurance when walking.
  • Yes, absolutely. Over the years, we have arranged a great many holidays in the UK for customers living in the USA, Canada, Australia and beyond.

    If you've never travelled with us before, it's worth reading the web pages which explain how we can cater for customers who live outside the UK. The main thing to bear in mind is that our tour operator's licence doesn't allow us to book flights that originate outside the UK, and nor are we able to book rail travel in the UK, so we can't make travel arrangements for you, other than pre-arranging taxis between the local railway station and the accommodation – see the ‘prices & travel’ section for the options available.

    For practical information about travelling to the UK, see the 'what do I need to know about travelling to England, Scotland and Wales?' question.
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.

    More information about the booking process >
    Information about accommodation, general practicalities and more >
    Booking conditions >
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can incur a five or six-figure bill.

    Many insurers offer travel insurance (you can find details on our insurance page of a policy that you may like to consider if you are a UK resident), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies – including falling ill with Covid-19 while on holiday – and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.

    When you purchase a policy, be sure to check that it covers the activities you'll be doing on holiday and that it is adequate for your own individual needs.
  • We are happy to take bookings for families of teenagers if they walk regularly, love the outdoors and are comfortable with the distances and ascent/descent involved, but please note that the bedrooms at most of the accommodation we use will normally only sleep a maximum of 3 people, and sometimes only 2.

    At the request of some of the accommodation providers on this holiday, we are unable to accept bookings for children aged under 16.
  • Unfortunately not. The Inntravel team includes many dog owners, but the extra considerations – such as whether taxi firms accept dogs for transfers to the start of walks, whether routes cross private land on which dogs are not allowed, and proximity to a vet’s – would add another layer of complexity to what are already quite complex holidays.
  • As a minimum, you will need a passport to enter the UK; requirements vary according to your nationality. It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. You’ll need to check requirements on the website of your own country’s government or that of the British government. Our essential travel information page provides links to websites where you can find out about the applicable requirements, along with general official travel advice.
     
    English is the most widely spoken of several official languages; in Wales, for example, Welsh has equal status. The currency is the British pound (Scotland issues its own bank notes, but Bank of England notes can be used in Scotland and vice versa). The UK follows Greenwich Mean Time during autumn and winter, but switches to British Summer Time (GMT + 1) from late March until late October.
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