A Home Away from Home
You’re spoilt for choice for things to do during your stay at No. 26 in Elie, Fife. Whether you want a day at the beach, a round of golf, or a stroll around one of our many historical sites, there is something for everyone.
The main beach is picture perfect – it’s fun when it’s busy with holidaymakers and dogs of all sizes - and equally as satisfying when you have the beach to yourself. A delightful beach, it links the historic burghs of Elie and Earlsferry. At low tide, this is one great expanse of flat sand. When the tide is in, the water comes right up to the Elie houses, and the only way along the shore is via the main street. At the Earlsferry end, there is always sand whatever the tide.
Elie Harbour beach is a sheltered beach, with car parking and a food kiosk. The beach is famous for its cricket matches (held at low tide on alternate Sundays between May and September), the harbour, (with the former granary now flatted) and Elie Watersports. Here, you can do a range of courses and activities including boats, canoe, kayak, and even mountain bike hire. Overlooking the beach is the ever popular Ship Inn and beer garden. There are 2 other beaches – Ruby Bay near the harbour and lighthouse, and Shell Bay, the sweeping sandy beach in Earlsferry.
Elie has an 18-hole course for more experienced golfers, and a 9-hole course for children, beginners, or a quick round. The 18 hole links course has been enjoyed since 1875, and given the panoramic views and superb setting, it is little wonder the course has established itself as such a firm favourite for visitors all year round. Peter Thomson, 5 times winner of the Open Championships, said of the course in Elie “It’s quirky and it’s the most enjoyable course I know. If I had my way I’d build Elie’s all over the world.”
The 9-hole course at Elie Sports Club is open all year round. The course is lovely to play with superb views overlooking the Firth of Forth. The 9-hole course is an easy walk, and is considered one of the better 9-hole courses in Scotland.
St Andrews is renowned worldwide by golfers as the “Home of Golf”. The Old Course at St Andrews Links is a golfing treasure, where the game was first played 600 years ago. Jack Niklaus (twice Open Champion) famously said of the course “I fell in love with it the first day I played it. There's just no other golf course that is even remotely close”. Steeped in history and tradition, it is one of the six other courses governed by the St Andrews Links Trust.
Find out more about the other St Andrews Links courses here: https://www.standrews.com/play/courses including The Castle Course (the newest addition in 2008), New Course (the oldest ”new” course in the world built in 1895), Jubilee Course (considered by many the most challenging course on the famous Links), Eden Course, Strathtyrum Course and Balgove Course.
Owned by the Old Course Hotel, with a spectacular setting above St Andrews, the championship course at The Duke's gives magnificent panoramic views over the surrounding countryside to the sea, and it is highly regarded as one of the finest heathland championship courses in the British Isles.
There are two links courses at The Fairmont St Andrews, just south of St Andrews – the Torrance (designed by Sam Torrance) and The Kittocks. The Fairmont has been recognized as one of the best golf resorts in the world by Conde Nast readers’ polls and Golf Digest.
Other golf courses nearby:
Another course steeped in history going back to the 1700s, a recent addition to Fife’s championship courses, the Dunhill Links Championship, is held here every October.
An open qualifying course, north of St Andrews, on the banks of the Firth of Tay,
If pure parkland courses are more your bag, then you’ll find the perfectly formed Ladybank is a beautiful course, flanked by heather, pine and silver birch. 40 minutes and you’re there.
This charming links course with stunning sea views is a regular final qualifying course for the Open Championship at St Andrews.
This is a lovely 9-hole course (where both men and women can play) and it is the oldest ladies’ club in Scotland.
Elie Parish Church is set within a stone boundary wall. It was constructed on the orders of Sir William Scott of Ardross Castle in 1639, and the octagonal clock tower was added in 1726 by Sir John Anstruther.
The Lady’s Tower was built around 1750 as a summer house for Lady Anstruther who was quite a character – she liked to bathe naked in the bay below and reportedly sent a bellman around Elie to warn the villagers to keep away while she was bathing! The cave set in the rocks below is reportedly where she hid if need be should someone unexpectedly pass by! Elie lighthouse can be seen across Ruby Bay (the beach between the harbour and the lighthouse) and a path leads from a parking area near the headland to the lighthouse, which was built in 1908 by James Laurie.
At Chapel Green, you will see the remains of the ancient chapel, where carved into the gable is the date ‘1093’ – this atmospheric ruin commands the best and completely unobstructed view of Earlsferry and Elie, the harbour, the lighthouse, the May island, and the islands and southern shores of the Firth of Forth. On a clear day, you can sometimes spot porpoises and dolphins playing.
At the end of West Bay is the start of the Chain Walk, which is a series of chains built into a section of the cliff west of Elie, round the cliffs around Kincraig Point and Shell Bay. The route follows eight chains, which run vertically or horizontally. The route takes around an hour depending on ability, and is a distance of roughly 0.5km. It is important to check tide levels - this route can be dangerous to attempt if you are not prepared or very fit.
The Fife Coastal Path (www.fifecoastalpath.co.uk) is a wonderful route for walking, running or biking, stretching for 117 miles from the Firth of Forth in the south, to the Firth of Tay in the north. There are many beautiful coastal paths for running, walking and cycling – you can hire bikes from Elie Watersports https://www.eliewatersports.com/
At the harbour you will find Elie Watersports, where canoes, windsurfers, dinghies, and pedal boats can be hired – you can also hire wetsuits and bikes. Sailing, waterskiing, and windsurfing classes are also available. My nephews love the speedboat trips around the bay and inflatable rides (doughnut and banana) – hours of fun can be spent here, and in summer you can see children throughout Elie and Earlsferry bombing about in wetsuits.
The Beach Cricket in summer is fun and the beer garden at the Ship Inn is always packed with spectators. The season runs May to September.
The McLarens have run The Pavilion since April 1999, and use locally sourced and produced ingredients to offer up a fantastic menu during the day, and in the summer months, they open in the evening, too. The food is amazing and portions are generous. They have a great selection of home bakes and ice-cream.
Elie Sports Club and Pavilion has a 9-hole golf course, driving range, putting green, tennis courts, and a bowling green – there is a Pro shop where you can buy and hire equipment and arrange lessons.
The Famous Elie Deli
Carol’s Ice Cream Shop
Elie also has a bakery, a newsagent, and a well-stocked chemist. There are a few gift and coffee shops in the village (Appleton’s has a fantastic range of unique gifts, and Harbour House is always good for a browse followed by a coffee and cake).
A big shout out to the Elie Deli which sadly burnt down in 2016 – they quickly relocated a few doors down so they could continue to support the many locals and holidaymakers who rely on their fantastic produce, and they’re now back in their original refurbished premises, bigger and better than ever. Their range is excellent, and every visit you will leave with far more than you went in for! They have a coffee shop too.
Ardross Farm Shop is an award-winning farm shop 2 miles outside of Elie with a varied range of everything you could possibly need, and a few you probably don’t need… but will buy anyway! Fresh fruit and veg, meats, home cooked ready meals, all kinds of snacks, and unusual drinks – this shop is the ultimate temptation.
Balgove Larder is another lovely farm shop, near St Andrews with its own restaurant.
The Steak Barn - Find Out More
Bowhouse is a fantastic covered market just outside St Monans. Bowhouse replaces a missing link in the food chain from farmer to consumer, by providing dedicated space for producers where customers can meet producers and growers, and taste their food including top quality local meat, fish, fruit, veg, and preserves. Well worth a visit if you’re lucky enough to be over when it’s on.
You can buy seafood direct from the warehouse of G&J Wilson in St Monans and they will get fresh lobster to order for you
All the fishmongers in Pittenweem and St Monans offer fantastic fresh seafood, and at Crail Harbour, you can buy dressed crab and both live or cooked lobsters.
Langoustine the Box is a fresh shellfish delivery business, in order to re-connect locals with the amazing seafood you can find off Fife's coast! You can order fresh, locally caught langoustines, lobsters and crab, and have it delivered to your door (in the East of Fife only) the following week, to allow for weather conditions.
St Andrews has some bigger food stores including Tesco, Morrisons, and M&S Food, plus, and there is a big Co-op in Anstruther.