Fife is one of Scotland’s most beautiful and historic regions, with an extensive coastal line, rolling hills and dramatic countryside. Fife is known locally as the ‘Kingdom of Fife’ as it was once a major ancient kingdom for the native Picts.
Today, Fife offers some of the most unique and memorable experiences in the country, with good food, friendly people, and plenty of outdoor activities to suit all tastes.
Here are some of the best things to do in quaint and pretty Fife.
1. St Andrews Castle
Start your Fife journey with a trip to St Andrew’s Castle in the historic town of St Andrews. These castle ruins sit atop a rocky hill overlooking the North Sea, with a visitor centre on site.
The castle has stood in this location since 1200, used as a place of power in the Wars of Scottish Independence, and later as a home for important Scottish bishops and kings. Today you can visit the castle ruins, including the castle’s stone-cut prison, called the ‘bottle dungeon’.
At the visitor’s centre you can find original sculptures and carvings, as well as other historic artefacts that will tell you more about the story of this important castle.
2. Craigtoun Country Park
The Craigtoun Country Park has been open to visitors since the 19th century, featuring sprawling gardens and a number of attractions.
Spend a day in the park when the sun is out or bring along a picnic. Stop by Puffin’ Billy, the vintage tractor on show, or take a ride on the miniature railway. There is also a Dutch Village with pedalos and rowing boats available for hire along the adjoining lake.
The Craigtoun Country Park is an excellent day out for all of the family.
3. St Andrews Cathedral
Visit the ruins of St Andrews Cathedral, built in 1158 and the largest church to have ever been built in Scotland. Walk the ruins of the cathedral, which reach a massive 119m long, and climb St Rule’s Tower for stunning views of the town.
Stop by the museum for medieval sculptures and artefacts, including St Andrews Sarcophagus, dating from Pictish times.
The cathedral is an important part of St Andrews history, and a great place to learn more about Fife.
4. Deep Sea World
For animal lovers, a visit to Deep Sea World in Fife is a must. This popular tourist aquarium features a number of themed zones, each showcasing different aspects of aquatic life. The aquarium holds the UK’s longest underwater tunnel and one of the best shark collections in Europe.
Here you can see seals, piranha and fish from various parts of the world, including the Amazon and Lake Malawi. Take a shark dive to get up close and personal with Deep Sea World’s gorgeous sand tiger sharks.
Or book a behind the scenes tour to learn more about how the aquarium is run. Deep Sea World offers an informative and entertaining day out.
5. Falkland Palace
Falkland Palace has stood on this site since the 12th century, when it was originally a hunting lodge. Over the years it was expanded and improved, and today much of the palace has been carefully restored, whilst other areas feature ruins.
The palace was used as a home for Scottish monarchs including Mary, Queen of Scots. Now used as a museum and gardens for visitors to enjoy, you can find antique furniture, gorgeous tapestries and stunning painted ceilings within the palace.
In the gardens, you can visit the oldest royal tennis court in the UK, as well as orchards, flower gardens and the Falkland Castle ruins. Falkland Palace is grand, beautiful and a lovely place to visit in Fife.
6. Kellie Castle
Kellie Castle has stood on this site since at least 1150, a historical home for many important families in Scottish history. The castle has been carefully preserved to provide visitors with an idea of life here in the 17th century. The castle interior features beautiful plaster ceilings, which were the first of their kind in Scotland, as well as painted panels and antique furniture.
Spend some time in the sprawling grounds, with woodland walks, wildlife to see, and gorgeous flowers to enjoy. The garden grows its own organic fruits and vegetables, served in the on-site café.
There is also a museum in the stables which explores the life and art of sculptor Hew Lorimer, who worked in a studio here.
7. British Golf Museum
The British Golf Museum explores over 500 years of British golfing history, right in the heart of golfing country. The museum has an extensive collection of golfing material, from equipment and trophies to art and archival content.
The collections explore the evolution of the sport from medieval times to today, as well as the lives of famous professional golfers, and the history of British and international golf.
After spending some time amongst the exhibits, take a break at the café which features local food and amazing views of the acclaimed Old Course golf course and West Sands beach.
8. Pittencrieff Park
Pittencrieff Park is a popular public park located in Dunfermline at the heart of Fife. It has stood here since 1903, originally the grounds of a stately home. The park features beautiful landscapes as well as some attractions including a greenhouse and a statue of famous local Andrew Carnegie.
The park is well known for its peacocks, and regularly hosts outdoor events. Be sure to stop by the Pittencrieff House which was once a 17th century stately home. Today, it is a museum exploring the formation of the park with exhibits on natural history and geology.
Finally, find the Glen Pavilion to stand on an important piece of Scottish land in gorgeous surroundings.
9. St Andrews
St Andrews is one of Scotland’s hidden gems and a must-visit in Fife. This small town is home to one of the oldest universities in the world as well as a number of important historical landmarks such as St Andrews Cathedral and St Andrews Castle. St Andrews is an excellent base for exploring the rugged Scottish coastline and countryside.
As the international ‘home of golf’, it is also a great place to play some sports. As a student town, St Andrews has a vibrant nightlife scene with bars to suit every taste. Try The Adamson for fine dining or drinks in a beautiful historic setting. For an astounding selection of beers and ales, visit The St Andrews Brewing Company. And for excellent local food, try the cute Taste café, popular amongst locals and tourists alike.
St Andrews has so much to enjoy and explore, with history and serenity lining the streets. This town is quite unlike anywhere else in Scotland.
Fife is the place to go for golf enthusiasts, with the ‘home of golf’ at St Andrews and a number of other world-renowned courses throughout the county. The Old Course is a must, as it is one of the oldest golf courses in the world. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club sits on the course, which has been open since 1552.
Visit Craighead Links for stunning sea views and a more challenging course atop a cliff. For beginners, courses are available at a number of locations including Wellsgreen where you can receive tuition from pro golfers.
There’s no better place in the world to play golf than Fife.
11. Aberdour Castle
Aberdour Castle is one of the oldest standing castles in Scotland, dating from 1200. The castle was home to a number of noble families over the centuries. Today, the castle is made up of buildings and ruins which showcase how the castle was built on and improved since the original construction.
The castle features galleries, painted ceilings and a restored medieval church. In the grounds you will find beautiful walled gardens full of fragrant flowers, and plenty of manicured lawns to walk along.
Book a guided tour to learn more about the history of Aberdour Castle, or eat local food at the café which overlooks the gardens. Aberdour Castle is a pristine and peaceful place to visit in Fife.
12. Kirkcaldy Galleries
Kirkcaldy Galleries are the premiere museum and gallery space in Kirkcaldy, a lovely town in Fife. The space contains an art gallery, museum, library, café and visitor information centre. The gallery contains an impressive collection of art from Scottish artists such as William McTaggart and Samuel Peploe.
Visit the museum to learn more about Kirkcaldy’s industrial history, or view the Wemyss Ware pottery on show in the café. This pottery was created in the town in the 19th and 20th centuries, and is a delightful part of Fife’s history.
The Kirkcaldy Galleries are an ideal place to learn more about Fife and local heritage.
13. Isle of May
Visit the Isle of May to connect with the beautiful wildlife and nature of Fife. The island is a roosting ground for seabirds, including puffins, razorbills and cormorants. You can even spot grey seals in the winter!
The Isle of May is the perfect place to witness some local flora and fauna, including rabbits, butterflies and gorgeous flowers. The island has a fascinating history and is home to an early secluded monastery and Scotland’s first ever lighthouse.
Visit the monuments on this little island to learn more about the history of the Isle of May. This is a great day out in Fife.
14. Fife Folk Museum
The Fife Folk Museum is the best place in the county to learn about local life and heritage. The museum holds a large collection of items documenting rural life in Fife, including a restored tollbooth from 1673 and a traditional weigh-house.
The museum features items including toys, commercial items, documents, tools and costumes. Fife Folk Museum is an excellent place to learn more about traditional life in the area and carefully preserves Fife heritage.
15. Museum of the University of Saint Andrews
The Museum of the University of Saint Andrews (MUSA) features an extensive collection of treasures from a number of areas including zoology, geology, local heritage and chemistry. Here you can find stuffed animals, scientific equipment and natural rocks.
The galleries feature a number of interactive displays, including the chance to experience archery, create wax seals, or try your hand at archaeology. Go upstairs to the Viewing Terrace for gorgeous views of St Andrews and the ocean.
The MUSA holds many temporary exhibitions and events, including talks, tours, art sessions and more, so there is always something new and exciting to experience.
16. Eat Local Food
Fife has a strong cultural heritage and produces delicious local food sourced from its rolling countryside and rich coast. There is a lot to choose from, with plenty of cafes, restaurants, pubs and food markets to explore.
Follow a food trail to experience some of the best eateries in the county, all in the grand surroundings of Fife’s countryside. Try some local smoked mackerel for a great taste of Scottish seafood, or granola made with organic cereals and customised to suit your taste. Fife has excellent meat too, from steak to chicken, so there is something for everyone.
Fife has some of the best local food in the world so be sure to taste something authentic on your next visit.
17. Dunfermline Palace
Dunfermline Palace is a ruined royal palace located in Dunfermline in Fife. It has played an important role in Scotland’s history, hosting many famous royal figures such as James I, Queen Elizabeth I, and Charles II.
Today you can take a tour through the ruins to get an idea of the magnificent palace that once stood here. There is also an abbey on site, featuring gorgeous walls and sculptures. Visit the top of the southern wall for beautiful views across the Firth of Forth, a water inlet attached to the River Forth.
Dunfermline Palace is a lovely place to learn more about Fife’s history and to take in some stunning architecture.
18. North Queensferry Harbour Light Tower
Fife is home to the world’s smallest lighthouse, North Queensferry Harbour Light Tower. The lighthouse was built in 1817 with a mere 24 stairs leading up to the lamp at the top of the tower.
Visit the Light Tower to learn more about its history and the importance it has played in Fife’s maritime heritage. You can even light the lamp and receive a certificate as an honorary Keeper of the Light. Afterwards, visit North Queensferry for history, wildlife and gorgeous scenery. There are plenty of local seafood restaurants here, and beautiful views out across the water.
The Light Tower is one of Scotland’s hidden treasures, and a must-visit.
19. Hill Of Tarvit Mansion House
The Hill of Tarvit Mansion House has been restored to provide a view of life in early 20th century Fife. Every room in the house features original items and furniture, including an impressive Flemish tapestry in the Main Hall.
Explore the splendour of the living quarters and bedchambers before journeying below stairs to the kitchen and pantry for an insight into how servants would have lived here. On the grounds, you will find beautiful lawns, rose gardens, and wilder woodland walks for hikers.
There is even a small golf course on-site, presented in its original style for an authentic Edwardian golfing experience! Visit the mansion house at seasonal times for a number of events including fairs, walks and markets.
20. Lomond Hills
The Lomond Hills are the highlight of Fife’s countryside. They encompass moorland, lochs and farmland, with the two Lomond hills bordering the area. The Lomond Hills have been inhabited for centuries, with evidence of forts from the Iron Age, and remnants of mines from more recent times.
For outdoors enthusiasts, be sure to climb West Lomond, Fife’s highest point at 522m tall. Here you will find breathtaking views of the Highlands and the ocean. There are biking paths and walking trails throughout the area, making it easily accessible.
Lomond Hills is one of the best places to see some iconic Scottish lochs and to enjoy a day in the fresh air.
Kirkcaldy is a beautiful Fife town located on the coast. Kirkcaldy has been inhabited since the Bronze Age and has a rich history of industry and trade. It is known for its salt production, mining and cloth-making industries.
Kirkcaldy was the birthplace of important British figures including Adam Smith, Robert Adam and John McDouall Stuart. Today, Kirkcaldy retains a laidback vibe with plenty of things to see and do. The town is home to Europe’s longest street fair, held every Easter with stalls, rides and attractions.
Culture lovers will enjoy the Kirkcaldy Galleries whilst shoppers have a ton of stores to explore alongside the Kirkcaldy Farmers’ Market. Finally, Kirkcaldy has excellent links to the countryside via walking and biking trails, or take a stroll along the beach.
22. Fife Coastal Path
Fife is a wonderful place to explore Scotland’s varied countryside and diverse nature. One of the best ways to experience Fife is by traversing the Fife Coastal Path. The path extends from the Forth Estuary to the Tay Estuary, spanning an impressive 117 miles.
The path is easy to follow and covers a wide range of terrains. Choose an easy stroll or a challenging hike – or really push yourself by walking the entire coastal path! The Fife Coastal Path will also take you through a number of key Fife towns, perfect for stopping off for a break and some delicious local food.
There is something for everyone on this beautiful course through Fife, with stunning views of the sea at every step of the way!
Dunfermline is a historic town in Fife, once the capital of Scotland. The town has a rich heritage and has played an important role in Scotland’s story. The site of the town has been populated since ancient times and has been home to beautiful historic buildings including abbeys, stately homes and castles.
While you’re here, be sure to visit important landmarks such as Dunfermline Palace, Pittencrieff Glen, and Dunfermline Abbey which is now considered to be the mausoleum of Scottish kings and queens. Alongside history, Dunfermline offers culture with its main attraction being Carnegie Hall. Here you will find regular local shows and performances in a gorgeous art deco setting.
Spend some time exploring the local cafes and restaurants for some delicious Scottish food and drink. Dunfermline is a must-visit in Scotland.
24. Hopetoun House
Hopetoun House was built in 1701 to a design by famous Scottish architect Sir William Bruce. The house was home to the noble Hope family whose descendants still live here today. The estate is filled with a tranquil and grandiose atmosphere, with authentic Georgian rooms and furniture.
Take a trip back in time by visiting the house and soaking up the luxurious furnishings, art and items. In the grounds, spend some time spotting wildlife in the Spring Garden or by adventuring through the surrounding woodland. There are two walking trails for you to discover and even a deer park. Finish your day with an afternoon tea or hearty home-cooked meal in the elegant Stables Tearoom.
Hopetoun House is a slice of history and serenity in the heart of Fife.
25. Experience a Scottish Sunset
Fife features an extensive coastline making it one of the best places in the country to experience a truly Scottish sunset. Visit romantic St Andrews for history, culture and good food – and be sure to watch the sun set in pink and purple hues across the docks.
Or take a trip to the village of Pittenweem, home to Scotland’s best oatcakes, and watch the sun set over a sandy beach.
There is nothing quite like a Scottish sunset sparkling across Fife’s waves, hills or beautiful historic buildings.