Before the summer finally dribbles to a damp ending there are a few more weekends left. We thought it would be good to flag-up some family days-out in Fife.
Here’s our Top Five . If you disagree – suggest your own by leaving a comment after the article. The best suggestions will win a copy of the new Fife Diet summer recipe booklet.
1. Culross – pronounced “Coo-ros”, (Gaelic: Cuileann Ros) With views across to Grangemouth and just downwind from Longannet Power station the town may not seem like day-out-material. But it’s a gem – with a lovely park, cobbled wynds and amazing 16th C houses. The mustard yellow Culross Abbey (1597) is a National Trust building and at £8.50 for adults (under 5s are free) is worth it. But if you want to skip the building you can go into the gardens for a reduced fee of just £2.50. The ‘hanging gardens’ are a real treat with a formal medieval layout but in a riot of edible abundance – bay arches, wee ‘dumpie’ Scots hens clucking about, strawberries, herbs and brambles, an orchard and a labyrinth of stepped planting that goes up and up the hillside.
Small children will love it. There’s also a veg stall of the produce with an honesty box. At the time of writing the stall had a range of heritage potatoes, pears, a great selection of squash, cucumbers and loads more.
When you’ve exhausted yourselves go to the Biscuit Café, winner of a Green Spoon Award (Mon-Fri 10-4, Sat-Sun 10-5) for great homebaking, seasonal food and great coffee.
2. Anstruther (Anster) The largest of the East Neuk villages, Anstruther has a great selection of shops, pubs and restaurants. Boat trips leave here for the Isle of May, and the harbour bobs with an interesting mixture of boats.
It’s on the Fife Coastal Path, so a great day out is to park in Pittenweem and walk along to Anstruther. This path is even and pretty much suitable for anyone.
I can’t remember how long it takes but it’s not a big walk, maybe an hour. The path enters Anstruther near the Golf Club House. The coastal path sign leads you through the town and past the largest of these, Anstruther Easter. Once you’ve got there, there’s the Scottish Fisheries Museum, and Anstruther Pleasure trips, The Isle of May (which is a whole other day out). But the two great foodie highlights are the award-winning Anstruther Fish Bar and the La Petite Epicerie Deli.
The deli has local and continental cheeses, ham and antipasti, a range of fine food, homemade products, local butcher meat (by J.B. Penman of Crail, East Neuk Fife), local fresh and smoked fish (by G & J Wilson of St Monans, East Neuk Fife). The fish and chip shop has a stack of awards but more importantly super fresh local fish and great views.
3. Muddy Boots – Balmalcolm Farm. This is a great family-run business run by Treina and Paddy Samson. Find it between Kingskettle and Pittlessie on the road to Cupar.
It’s a great farm shop packed with seasonal food marked ‘0 Food Miles’. Goodies include Scottish ice-cream, local preserves, home baked cakes and tablet, the farms own free range eggs and loads more. As well as the Seasons Cafe with kids’ menu there is other stuff for children: a tractor track / quad train, a large jumping pillow, grass sledging, turf boarding and indoor and outdoor play areas.
The cafe and farm shop are open Mon to Sat 9am to 6pm (in summer 9am to 5pm in winter) and Sunday 10am to 5pm. More info here.
4. Cairnie Fruit Farm, just past Cupar. There’s a mega-maze and tearoom but the real attraction is to go and Pick Your Own fruit. On offer is an abundance of Strawberries, Raspberries, Black/Redcurrants, Gooseberries, Tayberries, Brambles & Cherries (all available to pick or to purchase ready-picked.)
5. Burntisland. With the Food for Thought café run by Bruce and Sarah Stuart now serving a selection of local and fair trade food (plus Steamie Bakehouse bread) and Potter About with a range of kids activities and play area, and Scotmed Herbs at the other end of the High Street selling herb plants, plus Lynn’s Fruit & Veg (with local fruit for jam and stocking Carroll’s Heritage Potatoes) there’s at least four good foodie reasons to come to Burntisland. But the Blue Flag beach and leisure centre with 25m pool with wave machine, 2 flumes, fitness and health suites, are what make it a great family day out. The annual summer fair finishes in August but, arguably the Links are restored when it’s gone, with a play park, water feature, crazy golf and bouncy castle permanent summer attractions.
Easy train links means it can be a car free day out too.