Rufflets

What’s on in October

September 28, 2018

A busy month gets underway with the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and Autumn school break in October followed by Halloween. We have included details of all the major events happening in and around St Andrews to help you plan your visit to Rufflets as well as a few that can entertain the little ones during half term.

4th – 7th October. The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship will be played over three courses; the Old Course (St Andrews), the Championship Course, Carnoustie (near Dundee) and Kingsbarns Golf Links (10km south of St Andrews). There is free entry on Thursday, Friday, Saturday at all three venues (Old Course St. Andrews, Kingsbarns, Carnoustie) and a firework spectacular on Saturday 6th October at 8.25pm.

13th & 14th October. Bowhouse Food Market at Balcaskie Estate – St Monans. Held over two days between 10am and 4pm food lovers get an opportunity to taste and buy local produce, watch cookery demonstrations and enjoy live music. Entrance is free.

17th October. At the Ravenscraig Walled Garden in Kirkcaldy, kids can get outdoors in the park for Spooky Play to discover the mysterious woodland and scavenge for curious ingredients and bits and pieces from nature to make spooky masks and potions. Back in the cabin they can whip up potions and make creepy cakes. There will be dressing-up clothes and face paints to try out with the masks and an opportunity to play games and get messy. Ideally suited for children aged 5-10 years who have a sense of adventure. Booking is required as spaces are limited.

25th– 28th October. For music lovers, St Andrews Voices – Scotland’s Festival of Vocal and Choral Music, is hosted in St Andrews. The festival runs during the day and night and includes family concerts, opportunities to sing-a-long and get involved, as well as free events to enjoy while relaxing with a drink. Tickets are on sale from the Byre Theatre and more information here.

26th -31st October. Don’t miss lots of family fun during Halloween at Cairnie Fruit Farm. You can pick your own pumpkin from a bumper harvest and hand over to the team to carve or take it home and unleash your own creativity! Children can enjoy the fun yard till 5pm, face-painting and all things spooky! There is a farm shop and tearoom as well as ticketed entry to the Halloween torchlight maze. Book tickets here

27th October. Craigtoun Country Park hosts the annual Halloween Event. There is a fancy dress parade and lantern competition as well as lots of activities for the family to enjoy and a disco. 4.30pm-8.00pm. Tickets are £7.50 and need to be purchased in advance. Tel: 01334 472013.

Throughout October at the V&A Dundee. Discover how ocean liners became one of the most powerful and admired symbols of 20th century modernity. Book tickets for Ocean Liners: Speed & Style and experience life on board the world’s greatest ocean liners in one of the museum’s unmissable opening shows. Also, during October don’t miss the Scottish Design Relay. Entrance is free.

Rufflets

Tis the season for Foraging

September 21, 2018

In the current climate of excessive food packaging and unacceptable food waste, the trend towards foraging seems particularly significant with the added attraction of eating locally and seasonally.

Daily foraging trips to our own garden and woodland is not a new concept for the kitchen brigade at Rufflets, while for many of us collecting and eating wild fruit on childhood walks is perhaps our only experience of foraging.

At its most basic level, foraging is the act of finding and harvesting wild foods and for many it’s simply gathering wild food for free. Although foraging has gained more popularity in recent years championed by celebrity chefs such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall at River Cottage and Jamie Oliver, for our distant ancestors it was a way of life, hunting and gathering food from their natural environment.

Use sloe/blackthorn berries to make sloe gin – but remember they are best after the first frost, as this helps the skins break open more easily

The countryside is alive with edible wild fruit, flowers and plants throughout the year but if you go for a walk in September or October, you can find a wealth of wild food ready to be transformed into jams, soups, cordials, and liqueurs. Autumn is the best time when the hedgerows and trees are heavy with ripening fruits and nuts and not just old favourites like brambles and sloes but vitamin C-packed rosehips and sweet chestnuts which are great for pestos and stuffings.

 

You can find rosehips from September to November

 

Rosehips are the red and orange seed pods of rose plants commonly found in hedgerows. The rosehips have a fleshy covering that contains lots of hairy seeds. You can use the outer layer which is packed with vitamin C in wines, jellies, jams and also to make a rosehip syrup for cordials or with pancakes or ice cream

Blackberries and raspberries growing wild are one of the most common finds when foraging

 

 

Wild strawberries and raspberries are often much smaller than their cultivated counterparts. Wild they are much more difficult to find in big quantities but the flavour of both is much bolder. Wild strawberries, which can be found in our gardens if you look closely, can be added to creamy puddings like crème brûlée or panna cotta and wild raspberries lend themselves well to sorbets.

 

Some freshly-foraged ceps arriving at the Rufflets kitchen this week

Ceps are one of the tastiest wild foods in season in Scotland from the beginning of September for around 3 weeks and found more commonly under beech, birch and Scots pine. Highly-flavoured and versatile they are used by our head chef in a number of different ways. Cep risotto is a dish that guests can enjoy on the market menu at Seasons restaurant or pickled as a starter served with garden baby root vegetables, goat’s cheese and black olive crumb.

 

 

While the countryside and woodlands are great places to find and collect wild food you really need to know what you are picking. Reference books are a great way for novices to identify wild plants and fungi to make sure what you are picking is edible and not poisonous. It’s also important to ensure you can forage sustainably without harming woods or its wildlife. By collecting from areas where the flowers, leaves, fruits and seeds are growing in large quantities it means there is plenty for other foragers and wildlife and allows the plant to produce seeds and continue to grow. Avoid damaging the plant’s roots too.

Some species are protected by law if they are rare. Use a guide to ensure you know which they are and do not dig up or remove plants without the permission of the landowner or occupier to keep you safely within the law.

Have you had any foraging experiences? We’d love to hear where and what you’ve found to eat while exploring Fife…

Rufflets

St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company Celebrates 10 Years

September 14, 2018

The Stewart Family have farmed at Falside in the East Neuk of Fife since the 1930’s and started the St Andrews Cheese Company in 2008. Guests of Rufflets and Seasons Restaurant have been enjoying the company’s award-winning cheeses for many years.

We sat down with Jane Stewart who runs the farm with her husband Robert to find out a little more about their ten-year journey.

When exactly did you begin making cheese at the farm and why?
We started to make our cheese in January 2008 which is when we started the St Andrews Cheese Company, and it is our home bred herd of Holstein Friesians that provide the main ingredient – a real field to plate experience.

Did you know how to make cheese?
No! It all began for us after a ‘crash course’ in Wales, where I stayed with Leon and Joan Downey for a week, helping to make their award winning Llangloffan cheese. Leon showed me the basics – and who could have failed to be inspired by his enthusiasm. Leon was seeking to retire, and we wanted to start up, and so his 1000 litre cheese vat, cast iron cheese presses, moulds and other associated equipment found a new home, and in January 2008, we made our first batch of cheese. Cheesemaking has continued apace for us ever since – we usually make 3 days a week, and we have now upscaled to a 2200 litre Vat which we sourced from Holland (where it had been used to make Gouda near Amsterdam).

Which cheeses do you make?
AnsterRed AnsterMature AnsterSmoked Anster and St Andrews Farmhouse Cheddar.  Our St Andrews Farmhouse Cheddar won ‘Best Dairy Product in Scotland’ at the Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Awards in June and was also Runner up for the ‘Best Product Award’ at the same event. We were thrilled!

What do you think makes your cheese so special/unique?
Our cows are predominately grass fed, but their diet is supplemented with amongst other things – silage, and home grown wheat and barley. These elements of land and sea which are unique to our ‘East Neuk of Fife’ also lend unique characteristics to our cheeses – the complexities of flavour and aroma owe much to the diet of our cows and the balmy east coast climate in which they thrive.

All the cows are born and raised at Falside and when the Heifer calves have produced their first calf and producing milk they join the milking herd. Expert stockmanship is required to ensure that each cow is happy and healthy, and she will give birth to a new calf every year (so that she will continue to produce milk) – but she has a ‘maternity leave’ for 6 weeks before every birth.

We have always loved cheese, so our interest in it comes from a genuine passion for the end product! Currently, there are no other farmers in Fife making artisan cheese using milk from their own, single source, herd of home-bred cows.

What other changes have you made at the farm?
In May of 2008 we opened our coffee shop, built on the highest point of the farm. Customers can take advantage of the views across the fields towards the sea or watch the cheese being made through our viewing gallery window. We offer delicious home baking which includes recipes that I have been baking since I was a teenager, re-created by our kitchen team. The menu always includes homemade soups, cheese scones and other popular dishes such as twice baked cheese souffles and no visit is complete without sampling our Cheeseboard!

How is St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company celebrating its 10 year anniversary?
With a competition during Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight. We are inviting budding chefs to submit their favourite recipe using our cheese and including Scottish Produce by Monday 24th September 2018, 12 Noon.  Entries are being judged by young chef, Jamie Mackinnon of the Scottish Culinary Team in this, Scotland’s Year of Young People. (One Entry per Individual). The winning entry will receive a £50.00 gift voucher, second and third will each receive a £25.00 gift voucher to spend with us.  Winning recipes will be posted on our website  www.standrewscheese.co.uk and www.eat-scottish.co.uk

If you would like to enter, it’s very easy. Write or type your recipe and return with an image to fortnight@foodanddrink.scot before 12 noon on Monday 24th September.

Rufflets

Unveiling the V&A Dundee

September 7, 2018

The V&A’s first outpost, outside London and Scotland’s first design museum opens on 15th September in Dundee.

The dazzling building located on Dundee’s Riverside Esplanade was designed by renowned award-winning Japanese architects Kengo Kuma & Associates following an international competition. The vision was to create a building that reconnected the city with its historic riverside which sits at the heart of a 30-year and £1 billion waterfront transformation project which is hoped will draw visitors from far and wide to Scotland’s fourth biggest city.

The impressive 8,000m2 building features curving concrete walls and no straight external walls to create the appearance of a Scottish cliff face and contains 1,650m² of gallery space.

The V&A Dundee will be open seven days a week between 10 am and 5pm with free admissions although some exhibitions and events will carry a separate charge.

 

The temporary opening exhibition will be Ocean Liners: Speed and Style and visitors will be able to discover how ocean liners become one of the most powerful and admired symbols of 20th century modernity. From Brunel’s 1859 steamship, the Great Eastern to the launch of the QE2 in 1969, Ocean Liners: Speed and Style is the first exhibition to fully explore the design and cultural impact of ocean liners on an international scale, focusing on their promotion, engineering and interior design as well as the lifestyle on board.

The city’s newest cultural landmark is within easy striking distance of  Rufflets if you are planning a visit. Ticketed museum entry over the opening weekend of 15th and 16th September is already sold out, but it is still possible to book tickets for Ocean Liners: Speed and Style.

We will keep you updated with what’s on at the V&A in our monthly round up of events taking place and if you are one of the lucky ticket holders for the opening weekend we would love to know what you think. Please comment here.

Rufflets

From Plot to Plate

August 31, 2018

There’s always something to do in the kitchen garden, whether it’s pruning, tidying or sowing, but this month has been exceptionally busy for Phil and his team. The weather conditions we have been enjoying in St Andrews throughout the summer months have created all the right ingredients for growing fresh produce in abundance.

Gathering all the vegetables and soft fruits as they continue to ripen regularly ensures that they will continue to crop and we catch them when they are at their peak – young, delicious and tender. Our beans and courgettes will continue to yield while we continue to harvest them and any surplus produce we are unable to use in the kitchen finds a home at the award-winning Ardross Farm Shop. Located in Elie on the beautiful East Neuk coast, Ardross Farm Shop is a business that shares the same ethos and commitment to supplying only locally grown fresh produce as our own. Read more about Ardross Farm and it’s shop here.

Ensuring that the garden does not grow out of control has been critical this month. Removing the tops of the potato plants means we can keep them a sensible size. The potatoes and courgettes have really enjoyed the recent weather conditions and some of the crop we are digging up have been enormous.

Regularly harvesting the courgettes ensures that they do not get too big and cutting back the herbs will encourage a new flush of tasty leaves that we can harvest before any early frosts. By pinching out the top of our tomato plants we are able to concentrate growth into the fruit that has already formed ensuring the last harvests are just as good as the first at the beginning of the season.

There is also a lot of reorganising to do in the garden as the team begins to make way for plants that will sleep over the winter and appear again in Spring. The gardening team have already begun laying the foundations for salad crops that will grow in the Autumn and Winter months. These include rocket and kale.

While we bask in the last of the summer sunshine it is difficult to imagine that Autumn is a matter of days away, but the sight of our brightly-coloured handsome pumpkins in the poly tunnels is a sure give-away Halloween is just around the corner.

Do come and visit the kitchen garden next time you are dining at Seasons. It’s an opportunity to see first-hand what we are growing and learn more about some of the fresh produce that makes its way from plot to plate at Rufflets.

Rufflets

What’s on in September

August 24, 2018

Every month we provide a round-up of what’s happening in and around St Andrews to help make planning a visit to Rufflets stress-free. September is no exception with lots of events taking place throughout the month. Orientation week for St Andrews University begins on Monday 10th September which means it’s a traditionally busy weekend in St Andrews, as under-graduates arrive on 8th and 9th September.

30th August – 2nd September. This year’s Bavarian Beer & Music Festival taking place in Kirkcaldy Town Square will mark 55 years of twinning with the Bavarian town of Ingolstadt. The bi-annual festival includes Scottish and Bavarian food stalls, with live music from both countries and admission is free.

1st – 30th September. More than 800 buildings will open across Scotland for Doors Open Days throughout September. Visitors to Fife will be able to visit hidden architectural gems of all kinds. Venues open in Fife include the Archaeology Room, Bill Pettigrew Museum and Thomson Reading Room at the University of St Andrews, the Fife Folk Museum, Ceres or the Isle of May Lighthouses via Anstruther Harbour. To check specific opening times and venue information this link may be useful.

8th & 9th September. Bowhouse Food Market at Balcaskie Estate – St Monans. Held over two days between 10am and 4pm food lovers get an opportunity to taste and buy local produce, watch cookery demonstrations and enjoy live music. Entrance is free.

15th September. For a family-friendly and highly entertaining event, Kirkcaldy’s Waterfront is the venue for the 4th UK Beach Highland Games. You can expect a full programme of professional Highland dancing, athletic running events and the traditional Heavy events down on the beach as well as children’s races and stalls.

18th September. The last of the summer Balgove Larder Nights promises a programme of live music, crafts, street food and an opportunity to enjoy food and drink from Scotland’s best loved farm shop. Balgove Larder, on our doorstep in St Andrews is worth visiting to stock up on fresh produce from the Balgove Larder’s master butchers and vegetable growers as well as a range of delicacies from other local food and drink producers.

30th September. Hill of Tarvit Plant Sale & Autumn Fair. This long established plant sale is a fantastic opportunity to purchase plants from an enormous selection on offer and take the opportunity to visit one of Scotland’s finest Edwardian mansion houses. Surrounding the mansion house are spectacular gardens designed by Robert Lorimer, woods, open heath and parkland to explore.

Rufflets

Adventure Activities & Adrenaline Sports

August 17, 2018

Very few regions rival the Kingdom of Fife when it comes to dramatic scenery in particular the uplifting East Neuk coastline and the only way to make activities more memorable is to experience them in a place that shouts ‘adventure’.

As you’ve probably heard St Andrews has one or two golf courses, but you might not be aware just how many other adventure activities and adrenaline sports are on offer. We have picked out just enough to create an adrenaline-filled weekend with friends or family.

For newcomers to St Andrews, one of the best ways to explore the city is with Val at St Andrews Running Tours. Her tours are 5k long and last about an hour taking in the University and Cathedral, East Sands beach for the best panoramic views of the Bay, before jogging on to the castle, Royal & Ancient golf course and West Sands beach. Tours are run at a gentle pace with stops built in to chat about some of the landmarks and provide an opportunity to take photos. You can find more details or book tours in advance here.

When the sun is out, the place to head is West Sands beach where you will find Blown Away, a mobile outdoor experience company offering a multitude of beach based activities, each one more exhilarating than the next. Challenge friends or family to a race along the sands using the wind for propulsion. Land yachting combines the gracefulness of sailing with the thrill of motor racing. The wide beach at West Sands is ideal and twin land yachts make it possible for children to join in the fun too if riding with an adult.

Using a one-bladed paddle and standing on a specially designed longer and wider surfboard, stand up paddleboards (SUPS) originated in the Hawaiian Islands and is one of the newest and fastest growing water sports in the world. It doesn’t take too long to master the technique before you can cruise the waters of beautiful St Andrews and take a trip from West Sands to East Sands watching out for seals and checking out the rock pools or instead learn to surf the waves. For groups the huge super tanker paddle boards can take up to eight and with the help of the experienced Blown Away instructors, it’s not long before you can navigate flat water before turning to wave riding and scenic wildlife coastal and estuary tours and for larger groups, a fleet of the monster stand up paddle boards means you can all be out on the same session. You can find lots more information on the activities available and even videos here.  You are provided with all the equipment including a wetsuit, buoyancy aid and helmet.

When it comes to extreme activities, nothing beats the high octane thrill of motor racing. If you’ve always dreamt of getting behind the wheel of a racing car, a Ferrari F430, an E-Type Jaguar or an Aston Martin, an unmissable experience is Knockhill Racing Circuit near Dunfermline. It is the only internationally graded racing circuit in Scotland where you can get to grips with the impressive 1.3 mile long track and test your driving skills on the twists, climbs and drops.

Whether you are in to Touring Cars, Superbikes, Scottish bike racing, car racing or rally events there is also a great selection of car shows built around their own Super Lap Scotland meetings which means you can watch all the action from a spectator’s seat! You can find more details or book here.

At Cluny Clays in Cluny by Kirkcaldy, Fife just 40 minutes drive from the hotel you can discover a raft of activities for the whole family. There is clay shooting and archery with taster sessions of both for beginners and even air-rifle taster sessions for adults. Most of the activities are available to book as individuals or tailored for families or group/team events.

An adventure park awaits children along with 27 holes of Footgolf which looks far easier than it is to kick a soccer ball into a cup in as few shots as possible. There are 18 holes to navigate on the big course and 9 holes on the wee course.

The Scottish Clay Shooting Centre is one of the leading clay grounds in the country, just 10 minutes drive from the hotel and caters for everyone from complete beginners to seasoned professionals and  small hen parties to large corporate days. You can find more details and book here.

And if it’s less adrenaline and more adventure you are seeking, the beauty and diversity of the Fife coastline offers the perfect backdrop to enjoy miles and miles of mountain biking and cycling trails or explore the East Fife coastal path on foot at far more unflustered pace!

Our concierge team can help you with more information on these and any activities. Just click here to send an enquiry ahead of your stay.

Rufflets

The History of Rufflets

August 10, 2018

Have you visited Rufflets and ever wondered what the initials ABG carved on the keystone above the door to the South gardens represented?

Did you know that our hotel has played host to some of the most famous legends in golf?

Do you know that our longest-serving member of staff has been working at Rufflets for 28 years?

Rufflets has a long history dating back more than half a century. We are recognised as one of the oldest-established St Andrews hotels and also one of the first country house hotels in Scotland. The original house was built in 1924 as a private home for Mrs Anne Brydon Gilroy, the widow of a prominent Dundee jute baron, and was designed by a well-known Dundee architect, Donald Mills.

It’s Mrs Gilroy’s initials, ABG 1924, that are engraved on the key-stone above the door leading to the formal south garden. Until 1924 the ten acres of Rufflets grounds had been used as agricultural land. Local records going back as far as 1642 indicate that the land was owned by the Priory of St Andrews as part of the Priory Acres and it was known as the “Ruch (pronounced”ruff”) Flets”, which in the old Scots tongue, meant “rough, flat lands.” So, although Rufflets has only been a privately owned hotel for six decades, the name goes back for well over 350 years!

The Gilroy’s have an interesting history as well. Mr Gilroy had been in the jute industry in Dundee in the early part of the 20th Century. His business flourished and he became very successful. The original family home was across the water in Broughty Ferry. Sadly, two of their sons and a son-in-law were killed in the Great War, and Mr Gilroy, understandably devastated, died of what was described by the family as a broken heart in 1921. It was then that his wife decided to sell the family home, and build a new one outside St Andrews. The Gilroys commissioned an oak rood screen in memory of the boys which can still be seen in St James’s Church in Cupar, 8 miles to the west of Rufflets.

The turreted mansion house has been privately owned and managed by three generations of the same family since 1952 when the seven bedroom house was bought by George and Margaret Cook and business partners, Anna and James Meldrum, who converted the house into an hotel. The two women were sisters and the men, lifelong friends. Both couples sold their respective businesses and homes to raise the capital for the purchase. The joint venture was seen as quite a risk, as in those days country house hotels were almost unheard of and Rufflets Hotel was regarded as somewhat unique, not just in Fife, but in the whole of Scotland. Fortunately, the risk paid off and the business grew and flourished – a tribute to the hard work and entrepreneurial spirit of the founders.

Several golfing legends have chosen Rufflets as their home during events in and close to St Andrews, returning year after year and enjoying success in majors. You can find lots of photographs and memorabilia around the hotel.

Today the hotel is owned by Mark and Christopher Forrester, grandsons of two of the original founders of Rufflets. Their mother, Ann Murray-Smith, who took over the management of the business from her parents in 1976, remains a Director and acts as an adviser to the business.

Rufflets

What’s on in August

August 3, 2018

If you are planning a visit to Rufflets in August, there are lots of events taking place in and around St Andrews throughout the month. Here are just a few that we think you may enjoy.

3rd August. Sandcastle competition at West Sands commences at 11:00am with judging at 1.00pm. It’s just £1.50 to enter and open to all age groups.

4th August. The St Andrews Farmers’ Market takes place on the first Saturday of every month. There are lots of specialist producers and you can taste the best produce from Fife as well as shopping at craft stalls and enjoying special cookery demonstrations. The market starts from 9am and finishes around 1pm, taking place at the North Car Park on Argyle Street, KY16 9B.

4th & 5th August. Gig in the Car Park 2018. Held at the Greenside Hotel, 12noon – 10:30pm both days with over 40 acts on 3 stages.

4th – 12th August. Pittenweem currently has around 30 artists resident in the village and many more in the surrounding villages set along the lovely East Neuk coastline. The annual Pittenweem Arts Festival hosts an exciting mixture of well-established invited artists, newcomers and resident artists, who exhibit in homes, studios, galleries and public spaces.  Over 9 days, visitors are offered a wide variety of exhibitions, workshops, performances, talks and children’s events, all related to the arts. Free entry to all exhibitions 10am – 5pm daily.

11th & 12th August. Bowhouse Food Market at Balcaskie Estate – St Monans. Held over two days between 10am and 4pm food lovers get an opportunity to taste and buy local produce, watch cookery demonstrations and enjoy live music. Entrance is free.

10th to 14th August. If you are looking for a fun day out, the St Andrews Lammas Market is one of the oldest surviving medieval street fairs in the country and includes attractions for all the family including large and small fairground rides, a continental market, food and drink stalls. You can find it at Market Street, St Andrews.

18th August. A free festival offering a range of activities for young people. Fife is celebrating the ‘Year of Young People’ with Park Fife 2018 – a Fife wide free festival at Lochore Meadows on Saturday 18th August. There are a range of free activities for young people and will be hosted by Capital FM including a DJ set from Capital FM’s Garry Spence, a performance from tribute band ‘Little Mix Magic’ as well as performances by local young musicians, a silent disco and fun fair. Lots of food outlets will be available along with competitions and prizes. For more information or to register for a ticket please visit their website https://www.eventbrite.co.uk

Rufflets

Best Summer Spots to Enjoy in and Around St Andrews

July 27, 2018

St Andrews may be celebrated for its golf but there are many other attractions that can be enjoyed by visitors. The summer months are of course the best time to be outdoors and there are plenty of wonderful places to visit to make the most of the weather. There are also some ideas to help you make the most of unexpected rainy days!

Botanic Gardens

St Andrews Botanic Garden is one of the town’s hidden gems, founded by the University of St Andrews in 1889. It has grown from its original size of 0.25 acres to over 18 acres and is best described as a beautiful living treasure in the heart of historic St Andrews. Glasshouses, woodland, herbaceous borders, water features, a butterfly house, rock garden and exhibits provide a relaxing setting for visitors to explore and enjoy scientifically important plant collections. There are children’s activities throughout the summer along with family craft and activity sessions at no additional cost after garden entry.

Open 10am till 6pm
£6.00 adults
£5.50 concession
Free for under 18’s and students

 

Tenstmuir Forest

A short drive from the hotel towards Tayport, visitors can discover Tentsmuir, a wide expanse of clean sands backed by grassy dunes and Tentsmuir Forest. The mature pine forest offers plenty of trails and cycle tracks, while the beach is popular for walkers. At the north point it is common to see hundreds of seals basking in the sunshine.

 

Cambo Gardens

Now considered to be one of the finest gardens in Scotland, whatever you look for in gardens, you are sure to find it in this iconic Victorian walled garden with a modern twist – inspirational planting schemes designed by Head Gardener, Elliott Forsyth, unusual plants (to see and buy) and woodland walks by a sparkling burn leading to the sea. It’s the perfect place to while away an hour or two.

Open 10am till 5pm
£5.50 adults
£5.50 for concessions
Family £11.00

Kingsbarns Beach

Easy to reach and well worth the visit, the sandy beaches of Kingsbarns stretch for 2 miles and backed by sand dunes which are great for the kids to explore with the many rock pools and burns where they can build dams. The beach is well known for its fossils and at low tide you can discover, amongst other fossils, the fascinating 335 million year old roots and trunks of the Lepidodendron tree.

Once you have enjoyed the time on the beach, try the Cheese Toastie Shack – they have some of the very best toasted sarnies available! 

Carnie Fruit Farm

Not to be missed is the wonderful Carnie Fruit Farm, a family-owned business located in Cupar about 20 minutes-drive from the hotel. The farm boasts 120 acres, 45 of which are used to produce top-quality fruit for picking, as well as a café and farm shop. A fun yard is filled with a go-cart track, giant straw bale climbing fortress, sunken trampolines, a massive sand box, crazy swings and slides but the biggest attraction is the Mega Maze. An artistically designed labyrinth of pathways and blind alleys extends over 6 acres. Like all maize mazes the Cairnie Mega Maze only has a short life before being harvested in October and fed to the cattle. This summer the mega maze is designed on a giant hedgehog and will reach a height in excess of 8 feet.

Open 9.30am till 5.30pm July & August
£6.50 adults
£7.50 children
£5.50 for concessions
Family £27.00

 

 

 

 Hill of Tarvit Mansion & Golf

Fans of Downton Abbey need look no further than Fife to find this wonderful example of Edwardian stately living. Owned by National Trust for Scotland, the Hill of Tarvit was originally known as Wemyss Hall. In 1904, new owner, Frederick Sharp, commissioned architect Robert Lorimer to transform the 17th-century house into a modern 20th-century mansion to display his amazing collection of fine art, porcelain and other items. When the Sharp family moved into Hill of Tarvit, they had electricity, central heating and telephones connecting each room. Lorimer also designed the landscaped gardens, with formal lawns, yew hedging, flowering borders and a sunken rose garden and the Sharps built a 9-hole golf course to fulfill their passion for the sport.

Today, Hill of Tarvit Mansion & Golf is fascinating for the record it preserves of Edwardian life both upstairs and downstairs. Guided tours of the mansion house are available throughout the day and there are lovely walks through the woodlands up to the top of Tarvit hill, from where you can see as far as the Perthshire hills on a clear day.

If you enjoy a game of golf, you’re in for a real treat too. Kingarrock Golf Course is an original 9-hole hickory course, completely restored for all to play with authentic 1920s clubs. Tee times are available to book from March through to October. There are also lawn games including putting and croquet.

Open 11.00am till 4.30pm Saturday to Tuesday (May – October)
£10.50 adults
£7.50 for concessions
Family £24.50
Free for members

Scotland’s Secret Bunker

Ideal for a rainy day, hidden beneath an innocent Scottish farmhouse lies Scotland’s Secret Bunker. 2014 marked the 20th anniversary since the Bunker opened to the public, unveiling 40 years of secrets. Visitors can take a journey down the 450 foot tunnel and through the blast doors to discover the secrets of the bunker, which was built to help safeguard Scotland during the Cold War in the event of a nuclear attack.

The Secret Bunker lies 100 feet underground and is the size of two football pitches, one on top of the other so there is plenty of exploring to do! Discover how Scotland would have been governed from the depths of Fife and how they would have survived a nuclear attack from the most deadly bombs!

Open 10.00 am till 5.00pm
£12.50 adults
£8.50 children (4-16 years)
£11.50 for concessions
Family £33.50

If the rain persists, it’s an opportunity to explore the many museums and galleries on offer in Fife, while attractions like the St Andrews Aquarium and East Sands Leisure Centre have plenty to keep the children entertained.