Fife’s Coastal Kingdom

The East Neuk: a cosy corner of Scotland
 

Holiday Highlights

Idyllic villages | Think cobbled lanes and quaint fishermen’s cottages – but also museums, art galleries and an impressive line-up of local food producers.
Fife Coastal Path | Sheltered bays, cliff-top trails, pastures, woodland and many very fine views.
Historic splendour | Dramatic castle ruins and illustrious St Andrews, home to Scotland’s first university and the world’s oldest golf course.
Fife’s Coastal Kingdom. 6 nights
Fife’s Coastal Kingdom. 6 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A walking holiday in Fife

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.
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 almost any day of the week, 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 10.5km (5 to 6.5 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; ascent/descent 75m
    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; ascent/descent 295m
    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
  • 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 © Caroline Trotter
    Enjoy a two-course picnic © Caroline Trotter
  • 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; 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

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. 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

 
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.
Currency converter

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  • 6 nights: 01 March 2024 - 31 March 2024, 01 April 2024 - 31 October 2024, 01 March 2025 - 31 March 2025 & 01 April 2025 - 31 October 2025

    Start varies according to season* | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 28 Mar 2024 £825 £370
    29 Mar - 26 Apr 2024 £1005 £465
    27 Apr - 31 May 2024 £1115 £500
    1 Jun - 31 Aug 2024 £1150 £525
    1 - 30 Sep 2024 £1045 £440
    1 - 25 Oct 2024 £995 £440
    1 - 28 Mar 2025 £860 £385
    29 Mar - 26 Apr 2025 £1050 £485
    27 Apr - 31 May 2025 £1160 £520
    1 Jun - 31 Aug 2025 £1200 £550
    1 - 30 Sep 2025 £1090 £460
    1 - 25 Oct 2025 £1035 £460
    3rd & 4th person discount -£80 to -£83
    Single traveller supplement £80 to £83
    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, and any connecting travel detailed below.

    *Any day, except in March (when Wednesday-Saturday only).

    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

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

    Start varies according to season* | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 31 Mar 2024 £1035 £565
    1 - 22 Apr 2024 £1280 £720
    23 Apr - 19 Jun 2024 £1355 £750
    20 Jun - 31 Jul 2024 £1390 £775
    1 - 31 Aug 2024 £1350 £780
    1 Sep - 25 Oct 2024 £1215 £670
    1 - 31 Mar 2025 £1080 £590
    1 - 22 Apr 2025 £1335 £750
    23 Apr - 19 Jun 2025 £1410 £780
    20 Jun - 31 Jul 2025 £1450 £810
    1 - 31 Aug 2025 £1405 £815
    1 Sep - 25 Oct 2025 £1265 £700
    3rd & 4th person discount -£80 to -£83
    Single traveller supplement £80 to £83
    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, and any connecting travel detailed below.

    *Any day, except in March (when Wednesday-Saturday only).

    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)

    The Crusoe, Lower Largo
    Largo Pier suite: 01 Mar - 30 Jun 2024 £53
    Largo Pier suite: 01 Jul - 31 Aug 2024 £75
    Largo Pier suite: 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2024 £53
    Largo Pier suite: 01 Mar - 30 Jun 2025 £55
    Largo Pier suite: 01 Jul - 31 Aug 2025 £78
    Largo Pier suite: 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2025 £55
    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

    The Crusoe, Lower Largo (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Mar - 31 Mar 2024 £112 £209
    01 Apr - 30 Jun 2024 £165 £315
    01 Jul - 31 Aug 2024 £180 £345
    01 Sep - 31 Oct 2024 £127 £239
    01 Mar - 31 Mar 2025 £116 £217
    01 Apr - 30 Jun 2025 £175 £335
    01 Jul - 31 Aug 2025 £190 £365
    01 Sep - 31 Oct 2025 £135 £251
    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 £129 £182
    23 Oct - 31 Oct 2024 £99 £150
    01 Mar - 30 Apr 2025 £96 £139
    01 May - 22 Oct 2025 £135 £190
    23 Oct - 31 Oct 2025 £103 £156
  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    The Crusoe, Lower Largo
    Largo Pier suite: 01 Mar - 30 Jun 2024 £53
    Largo Pier suite: 01 Jul - 31 Aug 2024 £75
    Largo Pier suite: 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2024 £53
    Largo Pier suite: 01 Mar - 30 Jun 2025 £55
    Largo Pier suite: 01 Jul - 31 Aug 2025 £78
    Largo Pier suite: 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2025 £55
    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 £39
    'Turret' room: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2025 £41

    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 2024 £112 £209
    01 Apr - 30 Jun 2024 £165 £315
    01 Jul - 31 Aug 2024 £180 £345
    01 Sep - 31 Oct 2024 £127 £239
    01 Mar - 31 Mar 2025 £116 £217
    01 Apr - 30 Jun 2025 £175 £335
    01 Jul - 31 Aug 2025 £190 £365
    01 Sep - 31 Oct 2025 £135 £251
    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 £180 £345
    01 Apr - 30 Apr 2024 £230 £445
    01 May - 30 Sep 2024 £240 £465
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2024 £230 £445
    01 Mar - 31 Mar 2025 £190 £365
    01 Apr - 30 Apr 2025 £240 £465
    01 May - 30 Sep 2025 £250 £485
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2025 £240 £465
  • 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 (1h) £46-£48 flexible
    taxi Edinburgh Waverley station to hotel (1h20) £66-£69 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Edinburgh airport (1h30) £73-£76 flexible
    taxi hotel to Edinburgh Waverley station (1h40) £86-£89 flexible

    Connecting travel options - via Leuchars station

    Outward route Price per person Latest
    arrival time
    taxi Leuchars station to hotel (0h30) £15-£16 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Leuchars station (0h15) included flexible

    Connecting travel options - via Markinch station

    Outward route Price per person Latest
    arrival time
    taxi Markinch station to hotel (0h20) £7 flexible
    Homeward route
    not recommended in this direction
What is included
  • 6 nights
  • 1 dinner
    6 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • GPS navigation
 
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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