Scottish Road Trips
The Fife Coastal Route
1. South Queensferry + Boat Trip
On the shores of the Firth of Forth lies the quaint town of South Queensferry.
This idyllic location is known for its stunning views of the famous Forth Bridges, which can be easily admired from the town center. With a rich history dating back to the 1300s, South Queensferry is a prime spot for anyone looking to explore authentic Scottish culture. Visitors can wander through the charming cobbled streets lined with unique artisan shops, cafes, and restaurants or take a walk along the picturesque promenade. The town is also home to the beautifully preserved 15th-century St. Mary’s Church, and is is filled with flower baskets and beautiful vistas of the three bridges.
As you step off the boat and onto the picturesque island of Inchcolm, you are immediately take to a different time. The stunning ruins of Inchcolm Abbey dominate the landscape, their Gothic arches and intricate stonework still standing tall after centuries of weathering Scottish storms. As you walk through the abbey’s winding corridors and explore its nooks and crannies, it’s impossible not to feel the weight of history all around you. Visitors can climb to the top of the tower for an incredible view of the surrounding Firth of Forth, or take a stroll around the island’s rugged coastline.
2. Deep Sea World
Deep Sea World is an incredible underwater-themed aquarium located near the Firth of Forth in Scotland. It features a variety of exhibits and attractions, including a shark tank and an interactive rockpool experience. You can also explore two underwater tunnels, which give visitors an up-close look at some of the ocean’s most amazing creatures. With over 6,000 species on display, Deep Sea World is sure to delight families and marine life enthusiasts alike, and an essential stop on the Fife coastal route.
3. Burnt Island
Burnt Island has a fantastic beach with great amenities like a public toilet, playpark and ice cream van. The beach is right next to a huge grassy area that has a fair for a few weeks every summer. It’s filled with your typical rides and food and is a great time of the year to visit. There are lots of shops, cafes and restaurants in the main town and you will often find an oil rig out in the firth of forth which makes for a stunning picture from the sandy beach.
4. Aberdour Castle and Gardens
Aberdour Castle and Gardens are situated on the east coast of Scotland, where the Firth of Forth meets the North Sea. The castle, which dates back to the 12th century, is a testament to Scottish history and architecture. As you explore the well-preserved ruins, you can almost feel the presence of the long line of noble residents who once called it home. The castle’s gardens are just as impressive, with colorful flowers and perfectly manicured lawns providing a delightful contrast to the stark grey stone of the castle. Walking through the gardens and orchard, you can’t help but feel a sense of tranquility and appreciation for the beauty that nature has to offer. There is a wonderful dovecot and huge section of castle wall that fell over many years ago and remains on the ground below.
5. Ravenscraig Castle
The Fife Coastal Route is filled with castles and stately homes, one of which is Ravenscraig.
As you approach Ravenscraig Castle it’s an odd experience at first as there are modern houses surrounding the front entrance. But walk a little further through the front gates of the castle and you are immediately captivated by its imposing presence. Towering above the Firth of Forth, the castle’s striking architecture commands attention from afar. The castle’s stone walls are now heavily worn and a shadow of their former self but you can still walk around and feel how life once was. Best of all, it’s free!
6. West Wemyss
West Wemyss is a charming coastal town located in the Fife region of Scotland, and is your next stop on the Fife Coastal Route. The town is filled with history, as it was once a major center for coal mining back in the 19th century. Nowadays, visitors can take a leisurely stroll and admire the sea views or explore the relics of the town’s mining past. The local community is friendly and welcoming, and there are a few quaint cafes and restaurants to grab a bite to eat. West Wemyss has several highlights, such as the coast walk in either direction. One takes you to the ruins of MacDuff Castle, which sits on a rocky promontory overlooking the sea. The castle’s location provides a picturesque view of the coastline, and it’s easy to see why it was once used as a defensive position against enemy raiders.
Walk in the other direction, meanwhile, and you will find yourself at the Wemyss Caves, which provide a fascinating glimpse into the past. These ancient caves are covered in carvings and graffiti that date back thousands of years, making them one of the most important cave sites in the country. Visitors to Wemyss Caves can explore the various chambers and tunnels, each with their own unique history and stories to tell. From Pictish symbols to depictions of animals and ships, these caves offer a rare glimpse into the lives and beliefs of our ancestors. The coastline here is alive with life and you will often find sea lions just off the coast sunbathing on the rocks.
7. Elie Chain Walk
The Elie Chain Walk is one of Scotland’s most exciting coastal walks. First, park up in the village ,which has plenty of amenities. The coastal path starts gently across a golf course, then wanders alongside a beach, before you arrive at the chain walk. It consists of a series of chains and steep cliffs that offer an unforgettable experience to the brave adventurer who takes it on. As you traverse the area, you’ll feel the sea spray on your face, hear the sounds of the waves crashing against the rocks, and watch seabirds soar high in the sky. This walk is perfect for those who love a bit of a challenge and are willing to take risks for the ultimate reward. Not for the faint-hearted, the Elie Chain Walk is an exhilarating experience that’s guaranteed to stay in your memory for years to come; just bear in mind it really can be dangerous and people have been seriously injured on it so be very careful please!
8. St Monans
St. Moman’s is a beautiful and quaint working fishing village in the East neuk of Fife.
Its harbour is lined with brightly coloured houses, and the world famous wellie garden. Visitors can explore the local architecture, which includes a stunning 15th-century church. A stroll through the village streets will reveal quaint shops and delightful cafes where visitors can soak up the welcoming atmosphere while real working fishing boats haul in their catch.
9. Pittenweem – St Fillan’s Cave
The charming village of Pittenweem is home to many fascinating historical sites, but perhaps none as intriguing as St Fillan’s Cave. Fabled for its mysterious origins, this rocky enclave was purportedly used by the 8th-century Scottish monk Fillan as a place of prayer and solitude. Today, visitors can explore its winding passageways, marvel at the intricate carvings on the walls, and bask in the peaceful ambiance of this ancient sanctuary. The street up to the cave is one of the most incredibly beautiful streets you will ever see.
10. Anstruther fish and chips
Are you a fish and chip fanatic looking for the perfect place to indulge in this classic British dish? Look no further than the fish and chips you get in Anstruther, located on the Fife Coastal Route This small seaside town may seem unassuming, but it is home to some of the best fish and chips in the country. The fish is freshly caught from local waters and cooked to crispy perfection, while the chips are thick and fluffy on the inside. Served with a side of tartar sauce, mushy peas, and a slice of lemon, it’s no wonder Anstruther fish and chip shops have been voted the UK’s best fish and chip shop multiple times. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your newspaper-wrapped package of deliciousness and enjoy the ultimate seaside treat at Anstruther.
11. Scotland’s Secret Bunker
Deep beneath the rolling fields of Fife lies a secret that remains hidden from view, even to this day. The Secret Bunker is a relic of the Cold War: a time when the threat of nuclear war seemed very real. This underground structure was designed to protect key members of government and military personnel in the event of an attack, and it is an incredible feat of engineering that truly defies imagination. Today, visitors from all over the world come to explore this fascinating facility and learn more about the history of the country during a time of political turmoil.
12. St Andrews
The Fife Coastal Route is also home to the beautiful town of St Andrews. Known for its picturesque landscapes and undeniable charm, it’s no surprise that St Andrews is a popular destination amongst tourists and locals alike. While it may be small in size, this town is big on golf. In fact, it’s considered the “Home of Golf” with the world-famous Old Course dominating its landscape. But beyond the greens, St Andrews boasts a rich history and culture, with a medieval castle, stunning cathedral ruins, and numerous museums and galleries showcasing its heritage.
The ruins of St Andrews Cathedral are a haunting reminder of Scotland’s rich history. Located in the heart of the town, the cathedral was once the most important church in medieval Scotland. Built in the 12th century, it served as the seat of the Scottish bishops until the Scottish Reformation in 1560. Now, visitors to the site can explore the magnificent ruins, including the remains of the nave, north and south transepts, and the tower. A highlight of any visit is ascending the 156 steps up the tower to enjoy panoramic views of St Andrews and beyond.
13. Kinshaldy Beach
If you’re looking for a little bit of peace, then Kinshaldy Beach on the Fife Coastal Route should definitely be on your travel list. The unspoiled beauty of Kinshaldy Beach is simply breathtaking, with its golden sands stretching far and wide, and crystal-clear waters sparkling in the sunlight – it’s a paradise for beach lovers. One of the great things about the beach is that it’s lesser-known, so you won’t have to deal with the crowds you’ll find at busier beaches. Whether you simply want to relax and soak up the sun, go for a swim or a beach walk, Kinshaldy is the perfect spot to disconnect and enjoy nature’s beauty. Don’t forget to pack a picnic and enjoy the stunning coastal views. Kinshaldy Beach should be at the top of your must-visit beaches list.
Technically, of course, the Fife Coastal Route should end in Fife itself, but we could not help but take you on one final stop into Dundee City…
14. V&A Dundee
On the banks of the River Tay is the V&A Dundee, a stunning example of modern architecture that houses some of the world’s most remarkable exhibitions. This museum is the first in the world to be dedicated to Scottish design, and is known for its innovative and diverse exhibits that showcase the creativity and talents of local artists. The building itself is a work of art, with its futuristic design and angular lines that loom over the water’s edge. Visitors to V&A Dundee can explore a vast collection of contemporary Scottish art and design, as well as engaging with interactive displays and taking part in occasional workshops and events.