Treescape is a wonderful place to stay for families, big and small. The house itself has a wide choice of rooms, with single or double beds as well as a bespoke oak bunk. A TV and Blu-Ray player in the bunk room will keep little ones and teens alike entertained. A toy box is filled with stuff for younger ones.
The real treat though are the seven acres of private grounds, shared with the residents of Elie House. With a huge lawn, woods and trails to discover, your children can be outside for hours and never get bored. And they’re nearly always within sight of the house.
Sunny days in the Neuk
When the sun is shining, there can be few better places to be. Elie beach is the longest, most beautiful in the area; the family-friendly Ship Inn has a great menu and there are a number of ice-cream shops to keep everyone happy.
Two other fabulous beaches are the West Sands at St Andrews, famous for the slow-mo running scene in Chariots of Fife, and Tentsmuir. Located in a nature reserve off a single track road, this hard-to-find gem has parking under trees and a walk to the sands over a soft carpet of pine needles. Your rewards are miles of empty beach, dunes and walks in all directions.
And if you love walking, the Fife Coastal Path is a stunning 117-mile trail that hugs the coastline from the Forth to the Tay. If that sounds a little daunting, then the section from Elie to Anstruther or Crail is a great taster.
The coast is also great for activities such as sea kayaking and sailing and the good folks at Elie Watersports, East Neuk Outdoors and Anstruther Sailing Club offer hire, lessons and tours. And if that isn’t exhilarating enough, how about this madness on the West Sands at St Andrews: Blown Away.
St Andrews is, of course, a must-visit for families. And it’s not just golf (though you must try the Himalaya putting green). The Castle and Cathedral are wonderful for exploring, and the shopping, cafes and restaurants a welcome addition to all that worthy history.
Fife is famous for its berry crops and you can go pick your own at the wonderful Cairnie Fruit Farm – and lose the kids in their maize maze which gets built anew every year.
The Scottish Deer Centre, outside Cupar, is great for all ages. As well as 14 species of deer, this 55 acre park is home to a pack of wolves and birds of prey – away from the animals there are indoor barns, play equipment, treetop walks and a great adventure play park.
You’ll find everything from pig racing and grass sledging to pottery and soft play over at Muddy Boots, near Kingskettle.
Amazingly enough it does, sometimes, rain in the East Neuk. And when it does, here are some fun indoor places to keep the family entertained until the sun shines again.
St Andrews Aquarium has everything from reef sharks and piranhas to seals and penguins. Continuing the aquatic theme, Deep Sea World, over in North Queensferry, has a moving walkway that takes you right under shoals of exotic fish, rays and sharks.
The Secret Bunker is home to 24,000 sq ft of accommodation deep beneath an anonymous Fife field. It’s here that the government would have retreated to in the event of a nuclear war. See the ops room and the bunks for 300 people and take lunch in what was the staff canteen.
If a swim appeals but the thought of a dip in the Firth of Forth makes you shiver, head on over to Leven Leisure Centre, only 20 minutes away. This large pool has a wave machine, giant aqua slide flume, exploding water canons and geysers, as well as games hall, sauna and steam room.
A great place to discover some of the heritage of the East Neuk is the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther. This collection of historic buildings on the harbourside has a number of fascinating displays, including fishing boats, and offers a real insight into just how crucial fishing has been to the local community over the centuries.
Historic houses and beautiful gardens
As befits an ancient kingdom, Fife is home to many magnificent country homes, castles and gardens. One of the most beautiful and historic is Falkland Palace, a favourite of Mary, Queen of Scots. The stunning gardens and surviving Renaissance buildings are also home to the world’s oldest surviving real tennis court.
Other historic houses nearby include Hill of Tarvit, one of Scotland’s finest Edwardian mansions, and Kellie Castle in Pittenweem dating from the 14th century. Cambo Gardens in Kingsbarns are a highlight all-year round and are particularly famed for their 70 acres of seasonal snowdrops.