Car-free adventures aroundCoastal FifeFife

Medieval villages, royal palaces, woods, hills and harbours, seaside walks past ruined castles and ancient dovecots… there are so many treasures to find in coastal Fife. St Andrews is famous as the home of Britain’s third oldest university and birthplace of the game of golf, but some less well-known destinations in the area are definitely worth visiting too. Here's a car-free itinerary through some of the hidden gems that might make a fabulous long day-trip from Edinburgh or a series of more leisurely excursions…

  • County: Fife
  • Great for: art | birds | cafes | castles | historic houses | scenic train | walking |
  • Refreshments: pubs, cafes and restaurants
  • Please note: researched/updated April 2018. If anything’s changed or you have tips to share, do get in touch: features@goodjourney.org.uk
  1. 3. Train to Aberdour and Kircaldy

    There are lots more scenic adventures along the coast of Fife. The railway lines travel north from from Edinburgh and also loop into the local “Fife Circle Line”, connecting ten different towns. Dunfermline is one on line while the other runs along the coast passing seaside castles and scenery on the way. Look out for seals bobbing in the water and wading birds along the shore. Here are more places to visit.

    • Perhaps the oldest surviving castle in Scotland, Aberdour (pronounced “Aberdower”) is a wonderfully atmospheric destination. This maze of buildings from different centuries stands on the cliffs above the sea.
    • Half an hour on the train from Edinburgh or from Dunfermline (change at Inverkeithing) visitors can see Aberdour Castle from the station. Just leave Aberdour station car park through a gate in the far corner and follow the lane left.
    • Three stops further along the railway, Kircaldy Museum and Art gallery is directly outside the station – well worth stopping off for – packed with great Scottish art. There are engaging displays of local history as well as seascapes by painters like William McTaggart or vibrant still lives by Samuel John Peploe, one of the Scottish colourists.
    • Kircaldy is also a 45 minute bus ride from Dunfermline – you could get bus X27 direct from Dunfermline bus station. It leaves every half an hour.
  1. 4. Coast path and castles

    For a real taste of the sea, walk a short stretch of the Fife Coastal Path. You pass ruined castles and harbours, cliff-top views and sandy beaches.

    • Hop on bus 7 or X58 from Stance A outside Kircaldy railway station, get off in Dysart and head downhill to the harbour with its cafe in a whitewashed cottage. A path runs along the wooded cliff above the harbour through Ravenscraig Park, back towards Kircaldy, with great views across the sea.
    • At the far end of the park, you pass an old dovecot and the ruins of fifteenth century Ravenscraig Castle.
    • Free to visit and open all year round, this dramatic viewpoint is a great place for a picnic. Buses back to Kircaldy station run regularly from the stop nearby.

Look out for the Good Journey Mark – where car-free visitors are welcome and enjoy a discount