Scotland – Fife and St Andrews

Fife and St Andrews
1. Golf at St Andrews
Golf courses at St Andrews range from the nine-hole Balgove course, to the venerated Old Course itself. The St Andrews Links Trust looks after all the courses in the town, and prices and times are explained by a visit to their clubhouse, located alongside the fairway of the first hole of the Old Course. Arguably the best golfing experience in St Andrews is the Himalayas, a fantastically lumpy eighteen hole putting course in an ideal setting next to the Old Course and the sea.

2. Culross Palace
Visit Culross Palace – built in 1626, and imagine what it would have been like to live within the splendid interiors, featuring painted woodwork, and 17th- and 18th-century furniture. There is also a fine collection of Staffordshire and Scottish pottery. The herbs, vegetables and fruit trees in the palace gardens would all have been found in an early 17th-century garden, as would the Scots Dumpy hens who supply eggs for the Bessie Bar tearoom.

3. Deep Sea World
Deep Sea World, North Queensferry, is the National Aquarium of Scotland displaying sharks and Manta Rays in one of the world’s longest underwater tunnels, as well as a whole host of other impressive marine creatures. Courses for children take place in the summer months. Become a crew member and feed the fish for a day, or try ‘Bubblemaker’ – a basic scuba diving course starting in the pool, and leading to a dive in the main tank! Facilities here include a cafe and gift shop.

4. The Jerdan Gallery
Sue and David Jerdan are lifelong collectors of art and as with many of the best small businesses, they decided to turn their hobby into their living – and it shows. This superb gallery extending over the whole of the ground floor of a most distinctive property in the historic Marketgate of Crail is home to a wonderful collection of work by Scottish artists and artisans. The gallery focuses primarily on painting but also shows ceramics, glass and jewellery and features a superb sculpture garden.

5. The Scottish Fisheries Museum
Spectacularly situated on the harbour front in Anstruther, the Scottish Fisheries Museum tells the story of fishing in Scotland and its people from earliest times to the present. The Museum occupies two “A” listed buildings – a Merchant house (1724) and a 16th century Abbot’s lodging, both with fishing associations. The Collection includes more than 66,000 items and 18 boats. There’s tea-room with courtyard patio and a shop where you can pick up a present with a fishy theme!

6. Falkland Palace
The only Royal Palace in the care of the National Trust for Scotland, Falkland Palace is an impressive Renaissance building set in the heart of the town at the foot of the Lomond Hills. Built by James IV and James V between 1450 and 1541 the Palace was a country residence of the Stuart monarchs of Scotland for over 200 years. Lush green lawns, colourful herbaceous borders and many unusual shrubs and trees complete the setting for this memorable property.

7. West Sands
West Sands stretch for two miles from just below the R&A Golf Clubhouse, and are well known from the opening sequences of the Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire. Whilst still used by budding athletes, less energetic activities include sandcastle building competitions, dips in the North Sea and birdwatching at the lonley north end. The blustery winds, which are the scourge of golfers and walkers alike, do at least make the beach a great way to fly kites.

8. Crail Museum and Heritage Centre
Crail is the archetypally charming East Neuk fishing village, its maze of rough cobbled streets leading steeply down to a tiny stone-built harbour surrounded by piles of lobster creels, and with fishermen’s cottages tucked into every nook and cranny in the cliff. The Crail Museum and Heritage Centre provides insight into the past life of this ancient Royal Burgh, its Kirk, seafaring tradition, 220 year-old golf club and RAF Airfield history.

9. St Andrews Guided Walks
There are a variety of guided walks operating in St Andrews, including town guides, ghostly guides, golf course tours and outdoors walks, taking in the Cathedral, Castle, University and Old Course. An open top bus tour of the city starts from 9.30 am then on the hour every hour from Church Street and 10.05 am and then 35 past every hour from British Golf Museum You might even like to try a boat trip from Anstruther to the Isle of May to view colonies of seals and puffins.

10. The Forth Bridges
The Forth Rail bridge, built from 1883 to 1890 by Sir John Fowler and Benjamin Baker, ranks among the supreme achievements of Victorian engineering, with some 50,000 tons of steel used in the construction of a design that expresses grace as well as might. For the best panorama, make use of the pedestrian and cycle lane on the east side of the road bridge. For some background to the construction, head to the Forth Bridges Exhibition, which has storyboards, photographs, models and displays.

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