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Fife’s Coastal Kingdom

The East Neuk: a cosy corner of Scotland
 
Enjoy a series of fascinating coastal trails on this self-guided walking holiday, with luggage transfers included. Following the acclaimed Fife Coastal Path to ancient St Andrews, you discover picturesque fishing villages, abundant marine life and much delicious local produce.
Fife’s Coastal Kingdom. 6 nights
Fife’s Coastal Kingdom. 6 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A walking holiday in Fife

Almost entirely surrounded by sea, the Kingdom of Fife is a region where the imprint of the past is clear: this tiny land has been shaped by its longstanding royal connections, by the changing tides of religion and trade, and by its hugely important fishing and farming industries. As a result, Fife is blessed with a rich history, culture and a perhaps surprising abundance of delicious local food and drink, all of which combines to create the ideal backdrop for a varied and rewarding walking adventure.

Focusing on Fife’s ‘East Neuk’ (eastern corner) – by far the prettiest part of the peninsula – our holiday explores the celebrated shoreline south of St Andrews, culminating with a stay in the ancient university town that is as much an attraction to visitors today as it was to the pilgrims making their way there during the first millennium.
Many of our recommended routes join with the long-distance Fife Coastal Path, but walking is only part of the holiday experience: we also invite you to linger and digest – to delight at the constantly shifting seascape; admire the wealth of marine and birdlife along the coast; explore the dramatic castle ruins that rise above Fife’s fertile pastureland; and pause in each of the picturesque wee fishing villages that line the way.

Each of these villages merit close inspection: as well as an idyllic beauty – think cobbled lanes, stone harbours and quaint fishermen’s cottages – they offer interesting museums, art galleries and an impressive line-up of local food producers. Of the villages, you stay in charming Lower Largo and bustling Anstruther – in each, at welcoming and good-quality accommodation – before spending your final two nights amid the historic splendour of St Andrews.
 
 
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.

Many of 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 Lower Largo
    Night 1: at The Crusoe (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 Lower Largo: 8km to 11km (5 to 7 miles)
    Lower Largo, birthplace of Alexander Selkirk – the privateer whose four years as a desert-island castaway provided Daniel Defoe with the inspiration for Robinson Crusoe – is an attractive little village with a memorial to Selkirk. You may like to visit the village's historic centre before setting off on one of the following routes…

    Lower Largo to Elie: 10.5km (6.5 miles), 3.5hrs
    Following a beautifully varied stretch of the Fife Coastal Path, this linear route leads you south-east to Elie. Along the way, you walk along the trackbed of a former railway line; descend to the sweeping, dune-backed Largo Bay – a known vantage point for bottlenose dolphins and grey seals; and enjoy commanding views over the Forth Estuary. Before you reach Elie, there’s the option to detour from the Coastal Path to attempt the Elie Chainwalk – a thrilling, via ferrata-like trail which requires a head for heights. To enter Elie, you pass first through pretty Earlsferry village, so called as MacDuff, the Earl of Fife, is said to been ferried from here as part of his 1054 escape from King Macbeth.

    Around Lower Largo: 8km (5 miles), 2.5hrs or 11km (7 miles), 4.5hrs
    This scenic loop explores the countryside above Lower Largo, starting along the coast then heading inland with the option to ascend the grassy slopes of Largo Law, an extinct volcano which offers unrivalled views across the Forth Estuary and over to both Edinburgh and Berwick. You continue through the steep-sided valley of Keil’s Den – an ancient bluebell wood – before returning to the shore.
    Shell Bay
    Largo Law
  • Lower Largo to Anstruther: 9.5km (6 miles), 3hrs; ascent 110m/descent 100m
    Today’s route is packed full of interest – take the bus to Elie before striding out across sheltered Ruby Bay, which takes its name from the tiny pyrope garnets embedded in the local rock. At the eastern end of the bay are the dramatic remains of the Lady’s Tower, an 18th-century summerhouse and changing ‘hut’ built for the use of Lady Janet Anstruther, a keen sea-bather. Further ruins line your onward route, including those of the once-great Newark Castle, and there is also an excellent farmshop to visit – recommended to sample some of Fife’s famed local produce. Continuing north-east along the coast, you pass through St Monan’s with its pretty huddle of houses, popular East Pier Smokehouse and striking seafront church, before making your way to Pittenweem via a windmill, historic saltpans and some very fine coastal views. Pittenweem represents the heart of Fife’s modern fishing industry and is home to a buzzing summer arts festival as well as several mouthwatering lunch options, yet the village also has an older claim to fame: a cave that is said to have provided refuge to a 7th-century saint who wrote by the God-given light of his glowing left arm. The next village along the coast from Pittenweem is Anstruther, the final destination of today’s walk, and where you stay two nights at the Spindrift Guest House.
    En route to Anstruther
  • Linear walk from Anstruther: 8.5km (5.5 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. However, from the village you also have the option of another fantastic walk along the Fife Coastal Path, or a boat trip to the ‘floating’ nature reserve that is the Isle of May.

    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 through adjoining Cellardyke and out into some of Fife’s famously rich pastureland; as you walk, look out for Caiplie Caves – red sandstone structures shaped by the sea and into which early Christian pilgrims carved the sign of the cross. Once in Crail, be sure to visit the renowned Crail Pottery and to taste some of freshly caught seafood for sale in the village. 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.
    The path to Crail
    The Isle of May
    Puffins on the Isle of May
  • 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.
    En route to St Andrews
    Kilminning Wildlife Reserve
  • St Andrews town trail: 7km (4 miles), 2.5hrs
    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

Warm, welcoming and full of charm, your accommodation ranges from a bustling beachside inn to a former Georgian townhouse located in the ancient centre of St Andrews.
 
We offer an upgrade option in St Andrews. Please indicate your preference at the time of booking. 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!
 

Options to extend or shorten your stay

 

An indulgent picnic lunch

Brought up in St Andrews, chef Christopher Trotter is an expert on Scottish food and drink and is the perfect person to introduce you to Fife's rich gastronomy. We highly recommend booking an indulgent lunch hosted by Christopher to be enjoyed on the third day of your holiday. Price £40 per person; please contact us to book in advance.
 
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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  • 6 nights: 01 March 2022 - 31 October 2022

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

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 31 Mar 2022 £575 £295
    1 - 25 Apr 2022 £645 £350
    26 Apr - 28 May 2022 £735 £380
    29 May - 30 Jun 2022 £820 £460
    1 - 22 Jul 2022 not available not available
    23 Jul - 31 Aug 2022 £820 £470
    1 - 30 Sep 2022 £760 £400
    1 - 25 Oct 2022 £680 £335
    3rd & 4th person discount -£25
    Single traveller supplement £25
    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, and any connecting travel detailed below.

    Please note: dogs are not permitted on Inntravel holidays

  • 6 nights, staying at Rufflets Hotel: 01 March 2022 - 31 October 2022

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

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 31 Mar 2022 £740 £545
    1 - 25 Apr 2022 £865 £670
    26 Apr - 28 May 2022 £960 £755
    29 May - 30 Jun 2022 £1040 £835
    1 - 22 Jul 2022 not available not available
    23 Jul - 31 Aug 2022 £1040 £845
    1 - 30 Sep 2022 £980 £775
    1 - 25 Oct 2022 £845 £645
    3rd & 4th person discount -£25
    Single traveller supplement £25
    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, and any connecting travel detailed below.

    Please note: dogs are not permitted on Inntravel holidays

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    The Crusoe, Lower Largo
    Largo Pier suite: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £55
    Albany Hotel, St Andrews
    Garden suite: 01 Mar - 30 Apr 2022 £60
    Garden suite: 01 May - 24 Oct 2022 £85
    Garden suite: 25 Oct - 31 Oct 2022 £55
    Junior suite: 01 Mar - 30 Apr 2022 £35
    Junior suite: 01 May - 24 Oct 2022 £45
    Junior suite: 25 Oct - 31 Oct 2022 £32

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

    The Crusoe, Lower Largo (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Mar - 31 Mar 2022 £80 £150
    01 Apr - 31 May 2022 £95 £175
    01 Jun - 31 Aug 2022 £125 £235
    01 Sep - 30 Sep 2022 £95 £175
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2022 £80 £150
    Spindrift Guest House, Anstruther (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Mar - 31 Mar 2022 £50 £100
    01 Apr - 31 May 2022 £65 £130
    01 Jun - 30 Sep 2022 £80 £160
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2022 £70 £140
    Albany Hotel, St Andrews (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Mar - 31 Mar 2022 £70 £105
    01 Apr - 30 Apr 2022 £80 £115
    01 May - 24 Oct 2022 £105 £145
    25 Oct - 31 Oct 2022 £85 £125
  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    The Crusoe, Lower Largo
    Largo Pier suite: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £55
    Rufflets St Andrews, St Andrews
    Suite: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £50
    Superior: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £15
    'Turret' room: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £36

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

    The Crusoe, Lower Largo (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Mar - 31 Mar 2022 £80 £150
    01 Apr - 31 May 2022 £95 £175
    01 Jun - 31 Aug 2022 £125 £235
    01 Sep - 30 Sep 2022 £95 £175
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2022 £80 £150
    Spindrift Guest House, Anstruther (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Mar - 31 Mar 2022 £50 £100
    01 Apr - 31 May 2022 £65 £130
    01 Jun - 30 Sep 2022 £80 £160
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2022 £70 £140
    Rufflets St Andrews, St Andrews (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Mar - 31 Mar 2022 £145 £275
    01 Apr - 30 Apr 2022 £175 £340
    01 May - 30 Sep 2022 £200 £385
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2022 £175 £340
  • 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.

    Connecting travel options - via Markinch & Leuchars

    Outward route Price per person Latest train
    arrival time
    taxi Markinch station to hotel (0h20) included flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest train
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Leuchars station (0h15) included flexible

    Connecting travel options - flying via Edinburgh

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    taxi Edinburgh Airport to hotel (1h) £35 flexible
    taxi Edinburgh Waverley station to hotel (1h20) £32 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Edinburgh Airport (1h30) £55 flexible
    taxi hotel to Edinburgh Waverley station (1h40) £62 flexible
What is included
  • 6 nights
  • 1 dinner
    6 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • GPS navigation
 
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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.
  • If your holiday plans go awry because of Coronavirus, rest assured that we’ll do right by you. Since the start of the pandemic, our flexible booking policy and prompt issuing of refunds to customers who prefer not to defer their holiday have earned us high praise in the national press.
  • We sincerely hope that your holiday experience will be as enjoyable as it would have been before the pandemic – walking holidays are ideal in these times of social distancing, and we’re not operating holidays if the key highlights can no longer be delivered – but, naturally, there will be some changes to ensure your and other people’s safety, not least proving your vaccination status or taking a test in order to travel.
    Your holiday experience: what to expect >
    Safety measures being taken by hoteliers & others >
    Entry requirements for non-UK destinations & for re-entering the UK >
  • 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 cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to take out a policy with our recommended provider (if you live outside the UK you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK residents), 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.

    We'll ask you for the details of your policy (insurer, policy number and medical emergency phone number) so that we can help out if the worst happens while you are on holiday. It's up to you, though, to check that your policy covers the activities you'll be doing on holiday and that it is adequate for your own individual needs; we don't check alternative policies.
  • 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.
Last fetch time is : 5/23/2022 2:17:40 PM