Crail is a very pretty fishing village on the East Neuk of Fife coast. It is about 10 miles south of St Andrews and 90 minutes from Edinburgh by car. The village has a long and interesting history, dating back to the Pictish period. Robert the Bruce granted permission for a Sunday market in the village; John Knox delivered a fire and brimstone sermon from the pulpit in Crail Parish Church, and Queen Mary landed at Crail in 1538, to be formally received in St Andrews a few days later. Today there are still lots of historical landmarks in the village, including the Mercat Cross and the parish church, so if you want to learn more about local history in the area, of you are passing through on the Fife Coastal Path, make sure you stop off in Crail for an ice cream or a bun.
Things to Do in Crail
The harbour front is very popular with visitors, who come to have a wander around the narrow streets, enjoy an ice cream on a sunny day, and take photographs of the numerous fishing boats resting in the harbour. Crail is sheltered by towering cliffs and even on a wet and windy day, you will still find plenty to keep you entertained. The village is a pretty stop-off point on the gloriously beautiful Fife Coastal Route, which is a lovely 85 mile tour around the Kingdom of Fife. Crail is also on the Fife Coastal Path, which runs for 117 miles. Explore the footpath at your own speed and stop off in Crail for a rest. The village has an interesting heritage centre, lots of craft shops and art galleries, and some very nice local eateries.
Interesting Places to Visit in Crail
The Crail Heritage Centre offers lots of insights into Crail’s past life, including its seafaring tradition. The village has long been an important local fishing and trading port, but you can also find out more about Crail’s role during both world wars, and its links to one of the oldest golf clubs in the world. There are guided walking tours available during the summer months. These begin at the heritage museum. Crail Pottery is located in the heart of the village. The workshops are open to visitors and there are plenty of lovely hand-thrown pots to admire in the showroom.
The Kingsbarns Distillery is only a few miles from Crail and whiskey lovers will thoroughly enjoy a guided tour around the first single malt whiskey distillery in East Neuk of Fife. Check out the 18th century “doocot” and be sure to taste a “wee dram” before you leave. The Kilminning Coast Wildlife Reserve is a short distance from Crail. This stretch of coastline is a haven for local wildlife. In the summer, listen out for the distinctive call of the stonechat and in winter, you can look out for the male eider duck and oystercatchers. Cambo Gardens on the Cambo Estate is a pretty Victorian walled garden with woodland walks and rare species of plants; the gardens are open daily all year.