10 Invigorating Things To Do In Elie (Fife’s Secret Seaside Escape)

The sharp tang of salty air, digging your toes in butter-soft sand and the roar and crash of the waves – a holiday by the sea invigorates the senses and revitalises your soul.

We’ve all struggled recently with isolation and the disappointment of putting travel adventures on hold. If you’ve been cooped up with an acute case of wanderlust, then a blast of sea air might be the thing to blow away the cobwebs.

Consider Elie – a charming seaside town in Fife’s picturesque East Neuk.

With a historic harbour dating to the 16th century, characterful russet pantiled roof cottages and boats bobbing in the bay, a luxury self catering break in Elie is an idyllic setting in which to revive your spirits.

With local food as fresh as the sea air and plenty neuks and crannies to explore, our list of things to do in Elie will awaken all five of your senses.

1. Take a Day Trip To Local Towns

Start the day with an exhilarating boat trip to the stunning Isle of May, where you can watch for puffins, guillemots, razorbills, dolphins, porpoises and even the odd whale! Catch the pleasure boat from Anstruther and discover Scotland’s oldest Bird Observatory, the remains of a 12th century monastery and Scotland oldest lighthouse, dating back to 1636.

Perfectly picturesque Pittenweem is a treasure trove of cute cottages, cobbled wynds and cosy cafes. Tantilise your tastebuds at The Cocoa Tree Café, home of artisan chocolatiers Pittenweem Chocolates. Browse fine speciality chocolates from Scotland, Belgium and beyond or curl up with a hot chocolate by the fire after a bracing day of exploring the coast.

Crail is another not-to-be missed harbour town. Delight in the harbour views and stop off at Crail Pottery to appreciate their unique handmade ceramics. Owner Stephen experiments with different clays, glazing and firing techniques to create a truly unique works of art that also make beautiful souvenirs.

Round off your tour of the East Neuk where you started by calling into the Anstruther Fish Bar for another mouth-watering experience. Using the freshest local ingredients, it’s no wonder they’ve won numerous awards, including Visit Scotland’s ‘Taste Our Best’ Award and the Good Food Award several years running.

We have two luxury self catering properties, hand-picked for their proximity to the East Neuk’s main towns and stunning sea views. The Arches, in Anstruther is a cosy getaway in idyllic surroundings and Arddan House is the perfect pad to entertain friends in luxury. Both are under 15 minutes from Elie, making them the ideal base for exploring Fife’s charming East Neuk.

2. Travel Through Time

A self catering break in Elie is an opportunity to discover Fife’s rich history.

Scottish Fisheries Museum (13 mins away) tells the story of Scotland’s fisheries, from the great Herring Boom in the 19th century to how 20th century advances in technology changed the industry forever. It’s an informative insight into a trade that’s woven into the fabric of the East Neuk’s fishing villages.

The R&A World of Golf Museum (25 mins away) is certainly not a good walk spoiled! Six exciting and interactive zones immerse you in golf lore, from its ancient beginnings in St Andrews to the global game we recognise today.

  1. Play James Bond at Scotland’s Secret Bunker

Descend into the murky depths of Cold War espionage at Scotland’s most exciting secret attraction – The Secret Bunker.

An innocent looking farmhouse in Troywood (20 mins away) conceals a big secret. Explore a twisty, subterranean labyrinth that is home to two cinemas, a nuclear operations room, RAF control centre and the Royal Observer Corps and dormitories. Afterwards you can sample the unusual experience of tea in the Bunker’s underground café.

3. Play James Bond at Scotland’s Secret Bunker

Descend into the murky depths of Cold War espionage at Scotland’s most exciting secret attraction – The Secret Bunker.

An innocent looking farmhouse in Troywood (20 mins away) conceals a big secret. Explore a twisty, subterranean labyrinth that is home to two cinemas, a nuclear operations room, RAF control centre and the Royal Observer Corps and dormitories. Afterwards you can sample the unusual experience of tea in the Bunker’s underground café.

4. Discover Deep Sea Wonders at St Andrews Aquarium

Want to unravel the mysterious depths of the sea? Then a visit to St Andrews Aquarium is a must. Penguins dive like bullets through the water, electric blue frogs delight and the sociable seals will have you grinning ear to ear. Can you spot the resident octopus, a master of disguise? Marvel at the lion fish’s magnificent (and toxic) spines and learn how sharks aren’t the baddies we think they are.

We recommend booking a day pass to fully explore the magical kingdom under the sea.

5. A Feast For Foodies

Elie is a haven for foodies. It’s a stone’s throw from The Grange (St Andrews) and Craig Millar @ 16 West End (St Monans), two Michelin starred restaurants. We recommend calling ahead to reserve.

The ‘best wee deli by the sea’, Elie Deli, stocks freshly baked bread, croissants and pan au chocolate (perfect for al fresco breakfasts on The Arches secluded terrace) as well as a selection of cold meats, fine wines and deli cheeses (also perfect for a romantic evening on our terrace…!)

Wine and dine at The Ship Inn, Elie’s fabulous foodie haven, which serves the best seasonal Scottish produce. For an extra special evening dine in the Ship’s Cabin and soak up a glorious golden sunset over Elie Beach.

If you’re looking for self-catering accommodation within Elie itself, try searching Vrbo.

6. Art Festival & StAnza Poetry Festival

If you’re a culture vulture, call your Elie holiday let home for a week and soak up all the inspiration an arts festival can bring.

Pittenweem Art Festival is a local celebration of the arts and a bit of a treasure hunt, as exhibits are dotted throughout Pittenweem’s postcard perfect closes and streets.

StAnza is Scotland’s international poetry festival. Let some of the world’s best poets bewitch you with the transportive power and rhythm of verse. A cross-arts festival, StAnza combines readings, workshops, film, music and stand-up comedy to provide a thought-provoking, sensory experience.

Our holiday houses to rent near Elie are under 25 minutes from St Andrews and Pittenweem is just 5 minutes away from The Arches. Perfect for a revitalising holiday of culture and brisk sea air.

7. Fife Jazz Festival & East Neuk Festival

Get your dancing shoes on, it’s time to move your body! Shake, twist, tap and jive at Fife Jazz Festival and East Neuk Music Festival.

The East Neuk Festival is a vibrant event that takes in a range of locations from the usual – St Monan’s, Crail, Kilconqhuar, Kilrenny and Cellardyke – the strange – Scotland’s Secret Bunker, gardens, caves, dells and Leuchars RAF air shelter.

Wherever you end up, it’s bound to be a lively night.

8. Elie Watersports

If you like the thought of cresting a glittering wave with the wind in your hair or becoming master of the sea in your own yacht, Elie Watersports is your first port of call.

Get your blood pumping with a range of water-based activities, from windsurfing, sailing, water skiing and inflatable rides. Elie Watersports’ experienced and qualified staff can cater to all levels and abilities.

Did you know, it’s the Year of Coasts and Waters in Scotland? It seems like there’s no better time to catch a wave in Elie! Head to the Visit Scotland website to find out more about the Year of Coasts and Waters.

9. Beautiful Coastal Walks (and a challenge for brave hearts)

If you’d rather keep your feet on dry land, a bracing coastal walk will still put a flush on your face.

Elie is part of the Fife Coastal path (117 miles in total) and well placed to take in Fife’s stunning seascape. Try a ramble from Elie to St Monan’s – beginning at Ruby Bay (so-called for its famed red garnet gemstones) follow the signposted path, stopping for a detour to Elie Lighthouse and Lady Tower (built as a summer house for Lady Jane Anstruther in the 1760s).

For adventurous spirits, try the Elie Chain Walk. A unique feature of the Fife coast, chains are built into the cliff west of Elie village and hug the cliffs along Kincraig Point and Shell Bay. Intrepid walkers use the chains to scramble over the rocks and tough terrain, while staying alert for the incoming tide.

Please check Fife Council’s website for safety guidance if you plan on attempting the Chain Walk.

For more walks suited to all abilities, there’s plenty suggestions on Fife Coast & Countryside and Walk Highlands.

10. Practise Your Swing

An Elie holiday rental is a haven for golf lovers. It’s home to one of the finest and oldest links in Scotland – Elie Golf Course.

If you’re not quite Ryder Cup level, Elie Sports Club offers a 9 hole course, driving range, 18 hole and putting green with 2 bunkers and a 50 yard pitching fairway.

Of course, you’re also only 10 minutes away from St Andrews – the home of golf.

Have we convinced you to try a revitalising, luxury self catering break in Elie, Fife?

We’d love to have you as a guest at our spacious and luxuriant Lundin Links and Anstruther holiday cottages.

Spacious Arddan House has plenty room for entertaining. With an airy, open-plan kitchen/living area and gorgeous bedrooms to retreat to at the end of the day, this self catering on the Fife coast is ideal for hosting a large family, groups of friends or a golfing party.

The Arches, our self-catering between Crail and Anstruther, is packed with elegant period charm and modern luxuries and boasts mesmerising sea views.

We’d love to welcome you to the hidden gem of Fife’s East Neuk.

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