A local’s guide to a day on Fife’s East Coast

Here’s our itinerary if you have 24 hours in the East Neuk. Make sure you don’t miss these must-see experiences along this beautiful coastline.


  • Start your day with a memorable breakfast overlooking the most famous view in the Home of Golf.
  • Visit the Old Course, St. Andrews Cathedral, St. Andrews Castle and Scotland’s oldest university in the morning.
  • Take in as many of the shops, cafes and museums as you wish in this ancient yet buzzing student town.
  • Head up the coast to Cambo Sands at Kingsbarns for lunch on the beach. Or a restaurant along the coast, with panoramic views of the sea.
  • Visit as many of the delightful fishing villages along the East Neuk coastline as time allows.
  • Learn about the ancient fishing heritage of the area, visit local art galleries with beautiful seascapes for sale.
  • See handmade local pottery being made and pick up a momento to remind you of your travels.
  • Enjoy incredibly fresh seafood in a local restaurant, you are never far from a sea view!
  • Don’t miss the sun setting over the town as you arrive back to St Andrews, after an early dinner in St Monan’s, Elie, Crail or Anstruther – the choice is yours.
  • Complete the day with some live music, cocktails, a theatre show or cinema trip back in St Andrews.



Book ahead and secure a table at the newly renovated Rusacks Hotel in St Andrews for the ultimate view of the Home of Golf over your morning coffee and eggs. The full height windows in their breakfast room offer breathtaking and expansive views across the famous Swilcan Bridge and across to West Sands beyond. West Sands Beach was where the iconic running scenes in Chariots of Fire were filmed and is not to be missed. Ask at reception for a free map of the town, and start to plot your route and get your bearings over breakfast.

For a more informal breakfast try North Point Cafe near the Cathedral, open 7 days from 8.30am. The cafe is across the road from St Salvator’s Halls of Residence, where William and Kate stayed while university students in the town and this was one of their regular coffee stops.


Walk along The Scores to the Ancient Castle and Cathedral


If a game of golf isn’t on the cards for your visit this time, walk up past The Royal and Ancient Golf Clubhouse, past the Golf Museum and Aquarium, and onwards into the heart of the old university town. Make your way along The Scores or North Street which runs straight up through town, until you see the ancient St Andrews Cathedral, St Andrews Castle, and Castle Sands at the top / east end of town.

It only takes half an hour to walk from one end of St Andrews to the other, along one of the four vertical streets that define it. Although, with lots of interesting museums, shops, cafes and architecture along the way, you’ll definitely want to build in more time than that! After taking in the ancient ruins, follow signs to the harbour.


Mid-morning at East Sands


If you follow the path running right along East Sands Beach, you will soon reach a little playpark and St Andrew’s Sailing Club. Check out The Cheesy Toast Shack’s facebook page to check it is running it’s excellent takeaway from just outside the Sailing Club. A short walk back into town along South Street and you will find Janettas Gelateria. It is famous in these parts for making the highest quality ice cream. It’s so fresh they’ll even tell you what time your vanilla gelato was made that day. Four generations have made ice cream, for over 100 years in this family. They also offer top notch coffees, cakes, teas and light bites. Pop in here earlier in the day if you can to avoid the queues!

Janettas Gelateria, South Street, St Andrews, 2022, Kim Cessford / DCT Media.

If the weather is set fair and you want to extend your walk along East Sands beach and not head back into town just yet, the path along East Sands beach can be followed to the end of the beach and then upwards towards the holiday caravan park on the hill. This great little path trails the coastline right along to The Rock and Spindle Clubhouse/Restaurant at The Castle Course, and further along to the Fairmont Hotel.


A Panoramic View back to the famous St Andrew’s skyline


It takes no more than 30 mins on foot to reach the Castle Course from the beach and you will need to cross the Castle Course (carefully!) to locate the Rock and Spindle Restaurant set slightly back from the path. It boasts panoramic views of the sea from it’s clifftop position.

  • Do check restaurants and cafes are open for your visit and ideally book ahead to avoid disappointment.

The onwards walk to the Fairmont takes around another 30-40 minutes at a gentle pace. Its sea-view restaurant is called the St Andrews Bar & Grill and also offers panoramic views plus an excellent menu for an early lunch (Saturday&Sunday only), to reward your efforts if reaching it on foot.

The Bar and Grill is just one building that forms part of the sizeable Fairmont hotel complex which sits nearby. It’s a fantastic five star resort, but it is relaxed enough to welcome golfers, tourists, locals, families and walkers alike for food and drinks in various restaurants on site.

St Andrews Bar & Grill Restaurant, part of The Fairmont Hotel Complex, with views back to the famous St Andrews skyline in the distance

Find the hidden gems along the coast in the afternoon


Having strolled through St Andrews and seen the major sites it has to offer…After lunch either along the coastal walk or in one of numerous places in town…It’s now time to leave medieval St Andrews behind.

If a spotless beach appeals for a swim or a stroll, you can enjoy melt-in-your mouth toasties right on the beach at Kingsbarns beach at The Toastie Shack from March onwards, also known locally as Cambo Sands. It’s just 15 minutes drive from St Andrews and perfect for a spot of rock-pooling, a stroll or a dip. Read our local guide for more information on Kingsbarns here.

  • There is a taxi rank on South Street in the heart of town to pick one up there. If not, your chosen cafe or restaurant will be happy to recommend their preferred local firm.

  • Local taxis are efficient and not as expensive as inner city cabs. If you don’t have your own car, travel by taxi or local bus if you are happy to navigate the bus stops, to one of the gorgeous smaller fishing villages that pepper the East Neuk coastline. They are little hidden gems and each have their own character and things to do.

If you want to experience a light lunch outside of St Andrews, we recommend lunch on the terrace at the beautiful sea-view Harbour Tearoom and Gallery in the picture-postcard village of Crail. It is only 20 minutes from St Andrews to Crail by car, and less than that if you have already walked along the coastal path to lunch at The Rock&Spindle or The Fairmont. Read our local guide to Crail to find out about the local pottery you can see being made, and purchase here.

For more ideas on which of the lovely East Neuk villages you would like to visit in particular, check out our local guides below:

Cellardyke and Anstruther Guide

Elie Guide

St Monan’s Guide

Pittenweem Guide

Find your perfect dinner spot by the sea in one of the East Neuk’s beautiful villages in the list above.

Return to St Andrews for cocktails, the theatre, cinema or live music at dusk.


St Andrews will still be buzzing late into the night if you are looking to make the most of your 24 hours here after dinner. If you can make the journey back to the ancient town from the East Neuk villages by car or cab, you will be treated to glorious sundown view of the town as it comes into view over the hill.

For the many ways to spend your evening in St Andrews, see our guide here for more information on the local cinema, live music and theatre.

For ideas on where to have cocktails or a nightcap see our Bar&Restaurants of St Andrews guide here

If the forecast is not full sun for your day in St Andrews, see our guide to the best indoor ways to spend your time and cosy up away from the elements here.

Our award-winning team look forward to welcoming you to stay in one of our hand-picked properties in the East Neuk.