I love showcasing accommodation in Fife and indeed Scotland, I love helping my readers to find their perfect place to stay. Although I tend to end up in quirky glamping spots I do like to ramp it up with a stay in a luxury hotel in Scotland once in a while, everybody loves to be pampered after all. Scotland does luxury well! This weekend I was invited along to check out the multi million pound renovation of the stunning Fairmont near St Andrews, spend the night and enjoy their Savoy Afternoon tea.
Situated three miles east of St Andrews the Fairmont Hotel sits in 512 acres of beautifully manicured land. Two championship eighteen hole golf courses, The Torrance and The Kittocks, hug the coastline surrounding the hotel with panoramic views of St Andrews and the Fife Coastal Path.
A beautifully cute sea view cottage on the Fife Coastal Path
I adore everything about the East Neuk of Fife, luckily I get to visit often as I live close by. The white washed houses, slotted in between the colourful ones in bright blues, oranges and pinks are cute as a button. They line the harbour front where fishing boats bob gently in the water and the seabirds fly overhead hoping for a bite to eat. The little wonky lanes that head uphill to the small Main Street are home to artists, craftsmen and holiday homes. Up on the Main Street are some lovely cafes which have excellent reputations amongst the locals and I find the locals always know best when it comes to food and where to eat. The East Neuk is an area of Fife that is hugely popular with Scottish families and couples who want a weekend away but is often overlooked by the international visitor who will land in Edinburgh or Glasgow and head up north to the Highlands. I can’t recommend this area enough. Pittenweem and also the surrounding fishing villages of Anstruther, St Monans, Elie and Crail should definitely be added into your Scotland itinerary, just look at the photos!
The farm shops in Fife have it easy. The Kingdom of Fife’s vast coastline and fertile farmland means there is ample supply of locally produced food and drink. The long and glorious rugged coastline and the waters of the Firth of Forth and the North Sea supply fresh prawns, lobster, crabs, razor fish, clams and langoustine which are used in restaurants across the region as well as Michelin star restaurants and five star hotels. There are whisky and gin distilleries such as Eden Mill, Kingsbarn Distillery and Lindores Abbey who use fresh local water supplies to make their award winning drinks. There is also a cheese makers, bakeries, butchers, a buffalo farm, sauce makers, jam makers, chutney makers and even a Chilli Farm. Fife’s Farm shops certainly don’t have a struggle finding top class produce to line their shelves and luckily for the customers we can go to these farm shops and fill our baskets knowing we are supporting the local economy and also getting a pretty damn fine selection of goodies too. These four farm shops in Fife do it brilliantly well.
I love that each of these farm shops support local producers by stocking their products and promoting them in their shops. I love that each of the owners are passionate about the food they sell and about their business. Of course I also love that I can go to one place and get everything I need and it doesn’t involve a multi story car park, a tonne of unnecessary plastic and an abundance of processed junk food.
Nothing beats opening the doors to these farm shops, smelling the fresh handmade breads, picking up your wicker basket, selecting your colourful veg (which are sometimes wonky and always mouthwatering because unlike supermarkets this amazing veg doesn’t have to be perfectly uniform in size and shape), filling your paper bag, browsing the meat counters, tasting the cheese, selecting the perfect wine. It’s a misconception that these farm shops are expensive. Sure, there are some items which are expensive, but you are paying for quality and the knowledge that the best ingredients were used. There are definitely bargains to be had though, I always buy my fruit and veg here, where else can you get 8 massive, fresh from the ground, carrots for £1?
These four farm shops in Fife below are all fantastic. Have you visited any? What did you think? Love them as much as I do?
I could make this one really quick,
Follow the path and soak up the views.
Walks in Scotland don't come much better than the Fife Coastal Path and this section from Lower Largo to St Monans is my favourite part so far. 9.5 miles of stunning beaches, cute villages and panoramic vistas. It should take between 3-4 hours but you will want to stop off and explore so many times you could easily make a full day of it. You can read about the other sections that I've completed in the Fife Coastal Path section of the blog.
Castles have always fascinated me and being a Scottish travel blogger I visit a lot! I love wandering through the tunnels, climbing the spiral staircases, looking for engravings on the walls, imagining the stories and the lives of the inhabitants who once graced the great halls, the kitchens, the gardens. I love imagining what the rooms once looked like, the brightly coloured tapestries hanging on the walls, the dark furniture, the smokey kitchens.
Everyone loves a good castle don't they?
There are several castles in Fife, some are romantic ruins, some are almost in one piece. Some have recreated rooms to give you an idea of how they once looked, others you just have to use a little imagination...
Near the Milton of Balgonie and 2.2 miles east of Glenrothes in Fife Balgonie Castle is a quirky and unique place to visit. Now owned by the Laird of Balgonie, Raymond Stanley Morris and his son Stuart Morris of Balgonie, this castle has a long and rough history. Building began in the 14th century with the Sibbald family who built the main tower house and fortified courtyard and was added to over the years, like many Scottish castles, by the families who took over the castle. Sir Robert Lundie, Lord High Treasurer of Scotland added a two story building to the east of the main tower. Sir Alexander Leslie (who became Lord Balgonie and Earl of Leven), John Leslie (7th Earl of Rothes) and James Balfour, grandfather of Arthur Balfour who became prime minister in 1902 all owned and lived in the castle but it was the latter who was unable to save it from decay.
Years passed, the roofs were removed for tax purposes and the vandals got in and it wasn't until 1971 that restoration began. The current owners are painstakingly repairing the castle and the chapel and main tower are now complete. It was used in the filming of the first season of Outlander and also the film, The Fairy Flag. You can now visit the castle and have a tour and you can even get married there! The Laird himself is a gifted artist and his art work is present all around the castle, making it pretty unique. The passion of the owners to restore this beautiful castle to its former glory is inspiring to see.
Last weekend I was asked along to Fife’s first Feast of Fife and wrote a blog about my experiences for the Welcome to Fife’s website.
A “Feast of Fife” the invitation said. A chance to meet some of Fife’s top food producers, visit some of the best restaurants and taste some wonderful food.
Food is becoming a big thing in Fife. There are two Michelin starred restaurants, and food producers are winning award after award at competitions across the country. Focusing on local produce and innovative cooking skills chefs are taking their dishes to the next level, as we were about to experience.
Perhaps it’s down to the mild climate, letting the crops grow to their full potential, or the fact Fife is lucky enough to have a 118 mile stretch of coastline giving fishermen easy access to some of the world’s finest fish and seafood. Or perhaps it’s the many acres of lush fertile farmland that give the meat and pork such a divine texture and taste. Whatever the reason, and it’s likely to be a combination of all three, Fife is now a haven for foodies.
Needless to say I accepted the invitation and last weekend I took part in Welcome to Fife’s inaugural Feast of Fife. I was joined for the two days by food bloggers and writers from across the country. How lovely to spend time with a group of people as obsessed with food as I am!
Our first morning began at the luxurious Eden Mansion Hotel in Guardbridge. Having already enjoyed the experience that is Afternoon Tea here before, I already knew I was in for a real treat and the team didn’t disappoint. We were greeted with coffee and fresh croissants before taking our seats in a grand and elegant room for an introduction by Fife Food Ambassador, chef and cookery writer Christopher Trotter.
To read more head over to the Welcome to Fife website
I’ve had some pretty delicious afternoon teas while travelling around Scotland. Lately I’ve been checking out some of the best in Fife. So what are the perfect ingredients for an afternoon tea? A warm and elegant setting? Lovely surroundings? A nice view? Delicious tea and the option to enjoy it without being rushed? Handmade cakes? It isn’t always so easy to find somewhere that ticks all the boxes, but I think I’ve managed.
After much experimenting here is my list of Fife’s top Afternoon teas.
This stunning country house hotel is situated just outside St Andrews in 10 acres of beautifully designed and award winning gardens. With turrets and ivy clad walls this house wouldn’t look out of place in a Jane Austen novel, with four Visit Scotland gold stars it has more than good looks though.
A traditionally Scottish interior with plush couches and roaring fires means you can relax and enjoy the view, which is exactly what I did when I visited recently.
Accompanied by my daughter we were warmly welcomed and seated in the homely and rather elegant Drawing room. The fire was a treat after our chilly walk as was the steaming pot of tea, from Tea Lovers Company. Created by Luke Nothy-Baker in St Andrews five years ago, TCL uses biodegradable whole leaf pyramid tea bags and he also donates all his profits to educational charities. So not only is the tea superb but your donating to charity at the same time!
Our dainty rectangular sandwiches had fillings such as chicken and rosemary mayonnaise and smoked salmon with cream cheese. A handmade warm sausage roll was a nice touch and large fluffy scones with ample jam and cream were also delicious.
What I loved the most though is the option to have a Kids afternoon tea. So while I indulged in my cucumber and dill sandwich my daughter tucked into a Nutella, then a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!
A divine selection of handmade cakes finished our meal perfectly and included banoffee pie and a light and creamy chocolate mousse.
Rufflets also have a great looking menu for lunch and dinner focusing of using produce from Scotland as much as possible.
There was only one thing for it after all that. A lovely stroll through to the picture perfect little bridge over the river at the bottom of the garden.
Scotland plays an important role in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, the new TV series showing on Amazon Prime and taking the world by storm. Filmed in some of the most awe-inspiring locations in the country Outlander shows Scotland off beautifully. Living in Fife myself I’ve been loving how lovely places like Falkland and Culross are coming across on screen.
One of the most anticipated episodes, for anyone who had previously read the books, was The Wedding, where the two main characters are dramatically wed in the depths of the Scottish Highlands. With Fife welcoming the Outlander cast many times and the filming locations in this corner of the east coast particularly photogenic I was inspired to find out how you too could have your very own Outlander inspired fairytale wedding in the Kingdom.
Read more at http://www.welcometofife.com/highlight/have-an-outlander-inspired-wedding-in-fife
Read more Outlander blogs at Outlander
have a cool place of my very own, a gem I probably should keep quiet about so I can have it all to myself. But that would be greedy.
In the southeast end of Kirkcaldy in Fife, Scotland, is my favourite beach. It’s easy to get to from where I live, and so quiet and peaceful that I often escape there to write or walk. It also has beautiful views over the Firth of Forth towards Edinburgh.
Read more at http://wp.me/p5BkHc-9f
ON the east coast of Scotland, a quick 30 minutes from Edinburgh over the iconic Forth Bridges, lies the Kingdom of Fife.
Best known perhaps for St Andrews (The Home of Golf) there is a lot more to Fife than meets the eye.
Here are my top 5 gems you wouldn’t expect to find in this corner of Scotland.
Read more at http://www.scotlandnow.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/5-hidden-gems-you-never-7523397