BEACH COTTAGE is located right on the sand dunes of the famous Elie and Earlsferry Beach (‘the main beach’). We like to think we’ve got the best location on the beach, with direct, level access from the front gate and private lawn to the dunes and beach itself.
Elie and Earlsferry is surrounded by beaches. As well as the main beach, it is only a short walk from BEACH COTTAGE to West Bay looking across the Firth of Forth to Edinburgh and a stunning spot to watch the sunset. Over the point from West Bay, is Shell Bay. Shell Bay is accessible by road or by walking over the point, or via the [in]famous Chain Walk for those who dare (please heed all warning signs and check on tides before attempting).
At the other end of the main beach (near the Ship Inn) is Ruby Bay where countless hours have been spent seeking out the rubies that gave the beach it’s name. Farther along is the Light House and Lady’s Tower beach, and the coastal path links the endless beaches of Fife all the way to St Andrew’s.
BEACH COTTAGE is less than 500m/4 mins walk from Elie and Earlsferry Golf Course, the brilliant Tom Morris/James Braid designed historic 18 hole course, with ‘The Wee Course’ (9 holer) also available for practice, children and beginners, or a quick social round.
BEACH COTTAGE is the perfect base for a golfing tour of The East Neuk of Fife: the ultimate golfers’ paradise. St Andrews, the Home of Golf, is only 11 miles from BEACH COTTAGE. There are now 10 golf courses in St Andrews itself, including the famous Old Course where the game was first played. All details of the 7 St Andrews Link courses are available on www.standrews.org.uk. In addition to the 7 courses within the St Andrews Link Trust, there are 2 courses at The St Andrews Bay Club – the Kittocks Course and The Torrance Course, which is also a British Open qualifying course. The 10th course sits above St Andrews – the championship Dukes Course.
WALKING, RUNNING AND CYCLING
The Fife Coastal Path (www.fifecoastalpath.co.uk) goes right past the front gate (literally) of BEACH COTTAGE. This is a fantastic route for walking, running or biking. The path is marked from The Forth Road Bridge all the way to the Tay Bridge, covering 81 miles and meanders along the Fife coastline past unspoilt beaches, castle ruins, local villages and golf courses.
We highly recommend a walk (or run) along the main beach to the harbour and beyond to the Lighthouse and The Lady’s Tower (left out the front gate!), and to Chapel Green and beyond to West Bay (right out the front gate!).
The Lady’s Tower was built around 1750 as a summer house for Lady Anstruther who liked to bathe naked in the bay below. It is reported that a bellman was sent around Elie to warn the villagers to keep away while she was bathing! Below the Tower ruins itself, if you look closely you can find a wee cave dug into the rocks below where the Lady could hide if needed should an unexpected passerby happen across her naked bathing ritual!
Elie lighthouse has now shone every day for over 100 years and celebrated its centennial anniversary in October, 2008. You will see the light passing the kitchen and living room windows at BEACH COTTAGE every evening. The beach between the Harbour/The Ship Inn and the Lighthouse is called Ruby Bay and you can still find Elie rubies in the sand (or are they garnets?). Sadly despite almost 40 years of searching, BEACH COTTAGE’S owner has yet to find any and settles for collecting sea glass instead.
Chapel Green dates from 1093 and the site offers the best view back along Elie beach to the harbour, lighthouse and the Lady’s Tower beyond.
At the end of West Bay is the start of the chain walk, which is a series of chains attached to the rockface of Kincraig Point that takes you around the point to Shell Bay that stretches to the villages of Upper and Lower Largo. Please check all tides, read and heed the warning signs and seek local and online advice before attempting.
There are many cycle paths both on road and off road around Fife.
OTHER SPORTING ACTIVITIES
Elie Harbour is a centre for WATER SPORTS: canoes, windsurfers, dinghies and pedal boats can be hired. Sailing classes are also available for all ages. Speedboat rides and inflatable rides (we like the wing!) are also available: http://www.eliewatersports.co.uk/index.php
In addition to the 9 hole golf course, Elie Sports Club and Pavilion has TENNIS courts, a BOWLING green, a golf driving range and putting green: www.thepavilionelie.co.uk. The pro shop stocks and rents all necessary equipment and attire. Golf and tennis lessons are also available for all ages, year round; with special group classes for kids run throughout the summer months.
Cricket on the Beach
Throughout the summer there are cricket games held on the beach below The Ship Inn at low tide (play stops when the tide comes in), the timetable is available from The Ship Inn: http://www.shipinn.scot/cricket/. Reportedly The only pub in Britain to have a cricket team with a pitch on the beach.
Fife is known as Scotland’s larder given its fertile soils and more frequent sunshine! Elie High Street offers shops stocking all your provisions with a local baker, deli, newsagent, ice cream shop and chemist. There are also a couple of gift and coffee shops in the village. We encourage all BEACH COTTAGE Guests to support the local shops and produce as much as possible during their stay.
Elie Deli: unfortunately the Deli was gutted by fire in May 2016, however it is in the process of re-opening in the old Sangster’s restaurant next door: http://www.eliedeli.co.uk
Local Farm Shops
Ardross Farm Shop is an award winning Farm House shop just 2 miles outside of Elie and Earlsferry– www.ardrossfarm.co.uk.
Balgove Larder is another fantastic farm shop, just outside St Andrews which also has a Steak Barn which serves fantastic steaks and seafood Wednesday to Sunday: http://www.balgove.com
A local speciallity and hard to beat! The Beach Cottage team is unashamedly obsessed with locally caught: langoustines (are they a jumbo prawn or a small lobster? The jury is still out!); lobster; crab; and, of course, haddock.
The fishmongers in Pittenweem and St Monans offer great ‘fresh off the boat’ seafood (generally sustainably caught by local fisherman on small boats, but check with the fishmonger and they will advise). It’s also worth a wander down to Crail Harbour to get some freshly dressed crab and live or cooked lobsters from the shack on the historic Crail harbour.
The East Neuk produces amazing fresh strawberries and raspberries and there are many places to pick your own. The Beach Cottage team fondly remembers being threatened with a ‘weigh-in’ and ‘weigh-out’ as children at the local ‘pick your own’ fruit farms. Try Carnie Fruit Farm (also has a fun maze): http://www.cairniefruitfarm.co.uk
Aside from the farm shops, you can also find fantastic local meat at the butcher in Crail: JB Penman, 38 High Street, Crail, KY10 3RB (01333 450 218).
For cheese aficionados, J Mellis Cheesemonger, in St Andrews, is not to be missed (http://www.mellischeese.net).
Janettas Ice Cream Parlour(www.jannettas.co.uk) is another local institution in St Andrews, and Janneta’s ice cream is also sold in many other shops throughout Fife (tablet ice cream is a firm favourite of the Beach Cottage team!).
Supermarkets and Larger Shopping Centres:
The larger nearby towns of Anstruther and St Andrews offer wider shopping, including supermarkets (Tesco, Co-Op, Morrisons, M&S Food), high street retailers and of course, many, many golf shops!
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
An absolute must when in the East Neuk is a “fish supper” from Anstruther. This is a local legend, with countless prizes to its name. Guests can sit in, eat by the harbour or take home. If you are visiting in summer, be prepared to queue for your ‘supper’. To avoid the queues we recommend a late lunch around 3pm or late dinner after 8pm (last orders to sit in at 9.30pm and for take away at 10pm): www.anstrutherfishbar.co.uk.
It’s worth the wait if you do have to queue. There are other local fish and chip shops in Anstruther and Pittenweem, but the Anstruther Fish Bar is just always a bit better (we can’t work out why but it’s something in the batter which is of course a closely guarded secret….).
Local Restaurants and Bars (from fine dining to burgers!)
We’ve provided a selection of our favourites but there are many more to be found. Ask around, hit google and wander to find more.
Elie and Earlsferry:
The Ship Inn: http://www.shipinn.scot
The 19th Hole (also known as ‘The Golf’ or ‘The Gold Tavern’: http://www.19thhole.scot
The Pav: http://www.thepavilionelie.co.uk
Please note that Sangster’s is now closed, as the owners retired. The Local Deli, that was sadly gutted by fire in May 2016, is moving into Sangster’s restaurant temporarily.
The Smoke House: http://www.eastpier.co.uk
Craig Millar @ 16 West End: http://www.16westend.com
The Cellar: http://www.thecellaranstruther.co.uk
The Peat Inn: http://www.thepeatinn.co.uk
The Doll’s House: http://dollshousestandrews.co.uk
Blackhorn Burgers: http://blackhornburgers.co.uk
The Seafood Restaurant: http://www.theseafoodrestaurant.com
The Adamson: http://theadamson.com
Newport on Tay (around 45 mins drive):
Local MasterChef winner, Jamie Scott, formerly of Rocca in St Andrew’s has opened his own restaurant in Newport on Tay:
http://thenewportrestaurant.co.uk. The Beach Cottage team has yet to try it, but it’s on our ‘to eat at’ list.
New to the area in the last few years are a few fantastic distilleries offering both local gins and whiskies, both have visitors centres, tasting sessions and tours:
Eden Mill, Guardbridge: http://www.edenmill.com
Kingsbarns Distillery, Kingsbarns: http://www.kingsbarnsdistillery.com
LOCAL ART SCENE
The nearby villages of St Monans, Pittenweem and Crail have become local arts and craft centres. Crail Pottery is a family owned business that has been operating for more than 40 years www.crailpottery.com and is definitely worth a visit. You’ll recognise some of the Beach Cottage crockery while you are there! The area has numerous small galleries.
The Pittenweem Arts Festival www.pittenweemartsfestival.co.uk in early August has work displayed throughout the village, not just in the galleries but also in local homes and gardens, and features work from over 100 artists.
OTHER PLACES OF INTEREST
There are many places of interest and many local festivals, especially during the summer months. For full up to date listings have a look at:
MUSEUMS, ATTRACTIONS AND DAY TRIPS