Extending south of St Andrews as far as Largo Bay, the East Neuk is famous for its quaint fishing villages replete with crow-stepped gables and red pan-tiled roofs, the Flemish influence indicating a history of strong trading links with the Low Countries. The area is dotted with blustery golf courses, and there are plenty of bracing coastal paths, including the waymarked Fife Coastal Path: tracing the shoreline between St Andrews and the Forth Rail Bridge, it’s at its most scenic in the East Neuk stretch.
CRAIL is the archetypally charming East Neuk fishing village, its maze of rough cobbled streets leading steeply down to a tiny stone-built harbour surrounded by piles of lobster creels, and with fishermen’s cottages tucked into every nook and cranny in the cliff. Though often populated by artists at their easels and camera-toting tourists, it is still a working harbour, and if the boats have been out you can buy fresh lobster and crab cooked to order from a small wooden shack on the harbour edge. You can trace the history of the town at the Crail Museum and Heritage Centre, while the Crail Pottery is worth a visit for its wide range of locally made pottery.
ANSTRUTHER is the largest of the East Neuk fishing harbours; with an attractively old-fashioned air and no shortage of character in its houses and narrow streets, it’s also home to the wonderfully unpretentious Scottish Fisheries Museum.