By Kingfisher Visitor Guides
There are many reasons to visit Fife and St Andrews, but here are the top 10.
Fife is an excellent place to watch wildlife. Its forestry plantations and coastal and inland waters attract some of our rarer native birds and overseas visitors. You can see puffins and gannets on the islands in the Firth of Forth. Seals are a common sight there and around the coast, and you might see dolphins in St Andrews Bay or the Firth of Tay. Whales have been spotted in the Firth of Forth.
Raising the spirits
The tradition of brewing around St Andrews is alive and well with Eden Mill and St Andrews Brewing Company among more throughout Fife. Whisky lovers can look forward to the whisky currently maturing at the Daftmill Distillery, while the more recent Kingsbarns Distillery opened in December, 2014.
Fife’s historic harbours and architecture make it a dream location for film and TV. The West Sands beach in St Andrews was made famous in the Oscar-winning 1981 film Chariots of Fire and featured in the opening ceremony of the London Olympics when Rowan Atkinson hilariously reprised the scene. Most recently, scenes from ‘Outlander’ have been filmed in beautifully-preserved villages such as Falkland. Pictured is the Bruce fountain in the centre of Falkland Village.
Links with the past
Most golfers dream of playing the Old Course in St Andrews. Home to the grand old man of golf, Old Tom Morris, whose shop still overlooks the 18th fairway, the town has reminders everywhere of the game’s proud heritage. There are courses, both links and parkland, to suit all levels throughout Fife.
Aside from the obvious charms of the crow-stepped gables, cobbled streets and quaintly-named wynds and pends of its towns and villages, Fife’s beaches and inlets are backed by forests, parks and hills made for cycling, walking and picnicking.
Meet the folks
The saying: ‘It taks a long spoon to sup wi a Fifer’ suggests you need your wits about you when dealing with those born here. With fishing, farming – and caddying – dependent on the weather, their canny natures are hardly surprising. However, behind that reserved exterior you’ll find kind, down-to-earth people with a dialect as unique as their surroundings.
Food of life
From the ‘Fife Diet’ initiative, which aims to increase the enjoyment of locally-produced food and drink, to its world-class hotels and restaurants, Fife is a must for foodies. There’s a growing number of artisan bakers, butchers and cheese-makers across the region. Pittenweem even has its own chocolatier and Newburgh’s historic markets selling plums, pears and apples are also important events in the calendar.
Live entertainment is flourishing in Fife with historic theatres offering touring productions as well as comedy and music, modern arts centres showcasing superb visual art and live music in bars and hotels.
Aside from being golf’s spiritual home, St Andrews also boasts Scotland’s oldest university, the alma mater of future king and queen the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The couple got together while students in St Andrews. St Salvator’s Hall, where they met and the Younger Hall, where they graduated, are easy to spot on North Street.
Whether you want to rummage round charity shops for a vintage outfit, pick up some arts and crafts or grab a bargain in a big name chain, Fife is a shopper’s paradise. Towns and villages have some fantastic independent shops offering quality items while studios and workshops offer everything from internationally-acclaimed designer knitwear to pottery.
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