The Essential Guide to Fife and Angus

The county of Fife and the northeastern district of Angus are both a short distance from Edinburgh. Fife boasts royal connections and the iconic St Andrews Links, while Angus is home to the up-and-coming city of Dundee, which has recently emerged from its postindustrial strife to become a hub of innovative art and design.

St Margaret's Street, Dunfermline KY12 7PE, UK
Founded as a priory by Queen Margaret in the 11th century, Dunfermline was turned into an abbey by David I and later became a royal mausoleum. It’s believed that Robert the Bruce is buried here, along with seven other Scottish kings. Following the Protestant Reformation of 1560, Queen Anna of Denmark built an imposing palace on the site, with the abbey complex at its center. It was here that Charles I—the last Scottish-born British king—was delivered in 1600.

Today, visitors can explore the abbey remains, admiring the impressive nave and towering monks’ refectory. You can also wander through the palace, checking out the refectory floor and kitchen area, before heading outside to admire the breathtaking views across the glen.
Abbey St, Arbroath DD11 1EG, UK
If Scotland has an equivalent of the Magna Carta or the U.S. Declaration of Independence, it’s the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath—a letter sent by nobles to the pope swearing their independence from England. The document was signed here in this magnificent abbey, founded by William the Lion in 1178 in memory of the martyr Thomas Becket. Complete with a stunning, twin-towered church facade, the abbey remained one of Scotland’s grandest monasteries for nearly 400 years. Today, travelers can visit to soak up the atmosphere of a site long associated with Scotland’s sense of independence. Step inside one of the most complete abbot’s residences in Britain, then gaze up at local landmark the “Round O,” a circular window that was lit nightly to guide mariners home. Also keep an eye out for the impressive marble effigy, thought to depict William the Lion.
East Port, Falkland, Cupar KY15 7DA, UK
Built in 1500 by King James IV as a royal hunting lodge, this Renaissance palace was a favorite residence of Mary Queen of Scots, who took advantage of the vast estate to pursue falconry and play games of tennis on what is now Britain’s oldest court. Tour the palace to view intricate wood paneling, impressive painted ceilings, and beautifully carved furniture, then head to the south wing, where you’ll find twin, three-story gate towers with a unique mix of Gothic, Corinthian, and Palladian architecture. Visitors can also stroll through the formal gardens and orchard, complete with a living willow labyrinth.
Bruce Embankment, St Andrews KY16 9AB, UK
A St Andrews standby for several years, this glass box of a restaurant overlooks the sea, where many of the kitchen’s ingredients are sourced. The menu leans Italian, with dishes like wild mushroom risotto, pumpkin agnolotti, and monkfish with truffle gnocchi, but also includes a selection of local seafood, from Cumbrae oysters to Shetland mussels. Come for the delicious fare, stay for the panoramic views over St Andrews Bay and West Sands Beach.
17 Main St, North Queensferry, Inverkeithing KY11 1JG, UK
Across the Firth of Forth from Edinburgh, in the town of North Queensferry, the Wee Restaurant has remained a Fife standout for more than a decade. As its name implies, it’s a small spot with just 40 seats, but the close quarters create a relaxed, intimate atmosphere. Here, husband-and-wife team Craig and Vikki Wood offer simple food like char-grilled sirloin steak and smoked haddock with potatoes alongside a carefully considered selection of wines. In addition to à la carte dishes, the restaurant serves a seasonal “Menu du Jour” at lunchtime Tuesday through Saturday and in the evening from Tuesday through Thursday. It’s perfect for lighter appetites and offers great value, with two courses for £16 (around $21) or three for just £20 ($26).
24 E Green, Anstruther KY10 3AA, UK
The coastal town of Anstruther has a few fine eateries, but The Cellar has been a standout since opening in 1982. Current head chef and owner Billy Boyter comes from just up the road in Cellardyke and did his training in Edinburgh’s finest restaurants. At this Michelin-starred spot, he offers a single tasting menu, inspired by seasonal Scottish produce and locally foraged ingredients. Expect dishes such as North Sea halibut with onion-and-garlic-shoot broth, and Gartmorn Farm duck with pear and Jerusalem artichokes, served in a cozy space with exposed beams and stone walls.
22-26 Exchange St, Dundee DD1 3DL, UK
Located near Dundee’s now-thriving waterfront, the Michelin-starred Castlehill Restaurant serves sophisticated Scottish cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients. In the elegant dining room, guests enjoy a seasonally changing menu of modern dishes, like Scrabster hake with roasted garlic purée, and pork belly with chorizo, butternut squash, and crispy monkfish cheek. A wine list curated by specialist merchants rounds out the offerings, providing the perfect complement to Scotland’s natural larder.
122-124, Brown St, Dundee DD5 1EN, UK
After opening in 2012, Collinsons quickly became a favorite in the fashionable village of Broughty Ferry, just three miles east of Dundee. Here, high-quality dishes feature seasonal produce and local ingredients. Choose from options like pan-roasted deer loin and fried guinea fowl, perfect for pairing with a reasonably priced selection of house wine. Diners can choose from two- or three-course menus, but will want the latter for such decadent desserts as sticky date-and-ginger pudding with toffee-pecan sauce and vanilla ice cream.
484 Perth Rd, Dundee DD2 1LR, UK
A former Scots Baronial mansion, Taypark House was built in 1863 on serene garden grounds. The panoramic views across the Dundee Botanic Garden remain, but now the property also features 14 individually designed rooms, many with exposed stone walls, tartan armchairs, and freestanding bath tubs. The original library and drawing room have become an impressive café and restaurant, serving fresh fare, gourmet sandwiches, and homemade baked goods, while the old dining room functions as a fashionable gin bar, complete with craft cocktails and a roaring log fire. Just a mile outside the city, Taypark House offers the quiet of the countryside within walking distance of downtown. Thanks to its gorgeous gardens, it’s also a popular spot for weddings year-round.
Culross Palace, Culross, Dunfermline KY12 8JH, UK
Culross is Scotland’s most complete example of a 17th-century burgh, featuring white-harled houses, cobbled streets, a hilltop abbey, and an ocher-colored palace. Visitors can wander along the charming streets, once filled with the hustle and bustle of a thriving port on the River Forth, then explore Culross Palace, with its tiny rooms, connecting passageways, and painted ceilings. You can even buy freshly grown herbs, fruits, and vegetables from the organic palace garden while visiting with the rare Scots Dumpy hens. One of the most picturesque villages in Scotland, Culross has served as a regular shooting location for the TV series Outlander.
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