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Anstruther

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Anstruther is a fishing village on the East Neuk (corner) of Fife on the east coast of Scotland. With a population of 3600, it's the largest of a series of villages along the coast: east through Crail to the tip of Fife, and west through Pittenweem and St Monans to Earlsferry, all covered on this page. Further west the coast becomes industrial and is described as part of Leven, while the area to the north is described as part of St Andrews.

Understand

Anstruther is first documented in 1225, when already its fishing was important enough to be the basis of a feud with the monks of Dryburgh Abbey. The Pope himself had to intervene, possibly the first involvement of a pope in a fish fight since the "miracle of the loaves and the fishes". "Struther" comes from Gaelic sruthair, a stream, referring to the Dreel Burn which divided the community into Anstruther Easter (the larger) and Anstruther Wester. These grew together in modern times, but after 1936 the shoals of herring disappeared from traditional fishing grounds. Anstruther never had the industry of the more westerly villages, and was too far from the cities to become a commuter town, so its picturesque centre was never re-developed on a large scale. For most of a century it's been an attractive resort with small-scale fishing and leisure boating.

Get in

By bus

  • Stagecoach X58 or X60 runs about once per hour from Edinburgh to Anstruther, via Kirkcaldy and Leven, and continues to St Andrews, although you may have to change in Leven for evening journeys.
  • Bus 95 follows the coast south from St Andrews through KingsbarnsCrail, Anstruther, Pittenweem, Elie, Upper Largo and Lower Largo to Leven. It runs hourly, daily.

By train

Get around

Anstruther can readily be explored on foot, see above for bus details if your are travelling around the area.

See

  • 1 Scottish Fisheries Museum, St Ayles, Harbourhead, Anstruther, KY10 3AB. Apr – Sep: Mon – Sat 10:00AM – 5:30PM Sun 11:00AM – 5:00PM Oct – Mar: Mon – Sat 10:00AM - 4:30PM Sun noon – 4:30PM. Museum tracing fishing back to the days of sail, including exhibitions on engines, fishing gear and fishermen's houses. The museum has 18 boats. Adult £9. (updated Apr 2019)
  • 2 Cellardyke harbour. (updated Apr 2019)
  • 3 Anstruther Harbour and Chalmers Lighthouse. Harbour built between 1866 and 1880, with a 9m concrete lighthouse. The lighthouse was named after Thomas Chalmers (1780 – 1847), a founder of the Free Church of Scotland, who was born nearby. (updated Apr 2019)
  • 4 Pittenweem Priory, Cove Wynd, Pittenweem. A priory dating from 1318, with St Fillan's Cave, which is fitted out for worship. Ask for the cave key from the Cocoa Tree Cafe. (updated Apr 2019)

Do

  • 1 Anstruther Golf Course. Anstruther Golf Club was founded in 1890. 9 hole course on sandy soil. The Rockies restaurant is open to visitors (high tea £12.50). summer green fees £30 for 18 holes, £20 for 9 holes. (updated Apr 2019)
  • East Neuk Open Studios. 2 weekends in late June, and also a weekend in November. Visit 50 artists in their studios scattered around the East Neuk, including several in Anstruther and Cellardyke. (updated Apr 2019)
  • 2 The Isle Of May, ☏ +44 1334 654038, +44 7919 994951. Small island lying in the entrance to the Firth of Forth, approximately 5 miles off the Fife coast. National Nature Reserve owned and managed by Scottish National Heritage. Seals can be seen all year round, whales can be spotted in late July and August. Notable for its many seabirds, especially puffins, which can be seen in their thousands from April to July and are the island's main attraction. 
    • Anstruther Pleasure Cruises, ☏ +44 7957 585200. Boat trips on the 'May Princess' (100 passengers, small snack bar and toilets) leave once a day (except some weekdays in April and May) from Anstruther's middle pier from April 1 to September 30. Tickets can be purchased from the small kiosk on the pier from which the boat leaves. Note that sailings can be cancelled at short notice depending on the weather conditions. The entire trip takes 4.5 to 5 hours which includes 2.5 to 3 hours on the island. £24 adult, £20 concession (over 65, student, 16-17 years), £12 child (ages 3 - 15), £60 family ticket (2 adult + 2 children). 
    • Isle of May boat trips, ☏ +44 747 363 1671. Trips almost daily from April 1 to September 30. Two types of tours are offered on a 12 passengers RIB boat. One includes some time on the island and takes 2-3 hours in total. The other tour takes 2 hours but there is no possibility of getting on the island. Tour with time on island: £25 adult, £20 student, £18 child (15 or under). Tour without landing on island: £20 adult, £15 child. 
  • Elie Sea Safari, Elie Harbour. One hour trips on a RIB / Zodiac to look for seals, dolphins and other wildlife. (updated Mar 2020)
  • East Neuk Festival is a classical music festival, with events in Anstruther and elsewhere nearby. It's held in June / July with the next event 29 June - 4 July 2021.

Buy

  • 1 Co-op Supermarket, St. Andrews Road, KY10 3JS. daily 6AM - 11PM. Mid - sized supermarket (updated Apr 2019)
  • 2 The Pop In, 1 Backgate, Pittenweem, KY10 2LG. Antique shop and art gallery. (updated Apr 2019)

Eat

  • 1 Anstruther Fish Bar. Takeaway and sit-in restaurant. Wide selection of fish served in batter with chips, and the usual alternatives like sausage or haggis. There can be a queue on busy days. haddock supper £7.50, sit-in £10. (updated Apr 2019)
  • 2 The Haven Bar and Restaurant, 1 Shore Street, Cellardyke, KY10 3BD. (updated Apr 2019)
  • 3 The Larachmhor Tavern, 6 Mid Shore, Pittenweem, KY10 2NJ. (updated Apr 2019)
  • See St Andrews for the exceptional Peat Inn at Cupar, Fife.

Drink

Sleep

  • 1 Silverdyke Caravan Park, Windmill Rd, Cellardyke, KY10 3FN. Mar - Oct. Check-in: 1PM - 5PM, check-out: 11:30AM. Caravan and motorhome site with 31 touring pitches, but no tents. There are also some static caravans on the site, but these are individually owned weekend retreats. from £25 per night. (updated Apr 2019)
  • 2 The Bank, 23-25 High Street, KY10 3DQ. Hotel with bar and restaurant (mains from £10). from £50. (updated Apr 2019)
  • The other little villages along the coast all have accommodation. The standout is The Ship Inn in Elie.

Connect

The nearest council public library is in St Monans.

  • Pittenweem Community Library & Information Centre, Old Town Hall, Cove Wynd, Pittenweem, KY10 2LE. M: 2PM - 6PM, W: 1:30PM - 5PM, F: 9:30AM - 1PM, Sa: 10AM - 1PM. Volunteer run library, public computers and local information. (updated Apr 2019)

Go next

  • North to St Andrews, the home of Golf, with a cathedral and university.
  • The coast further west is industrial and worth missing, so head inland to Falkland Palace, the Lomond Hills and Lochleven Castle.

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