Crail might just be a small village, even compared to some of the other seaside towns along the East Neuk, but trust us when we say that there is plenty worth seeing and doing here. However, if you're visiting Crail then you could easily overlook these sights if you don't know where to look. In this guide, we'll be outlining what we believe to be the best things to see and do in Crail for 2023. Let's get into the guide:
Where is Crail?
What is there to see and do around Crail?
We mentioned that Crail is small, but don't be fooled into thinking that means there is nothing to see here. There is plenty, here are some of our favourites:
Visit the museum
Grab a coffee and a bite to eat at the Harbour Gallery & Tearoom
You've got a number of options to choose from when it comes to grabbing a coffee or a bite to eat in Crail, but the Harbour Gallery & Tearoom is a must-visit location. Not only is the food great and the coffee delicious (plus it is always served with a piece of homemade tablet), but you can also enjoy the amazing views across the sea if you choose to sit outside (or if you can get a seat, it fills up quickly!). Plus once you've enjoyed your drink and food, the gallery is full of interesting and beautiful art which you can not only admire, you can also buy to take home with you!
View the menu and learn more here - crailharbourgallery.co.uk
Visit the harbour (& enjoy the views of it from the Castle Walk)
This photo was taken from the Castle Walk, right next to the sundial (which is made from a fossilised tree trunk), and it overlooks part of the harbour. As you can probably tell, the harbour isn't big by any means (it is often described as a 'miniature harbour'), but it is still lovely to visit. What's more, you can buy freshly cooked crab and lobster at the harbour and eat them while you enjoy the views. If you're feeling a little fancy then you could buy a bottle of wine from the Co-op and take it down to the harbour with you! From the high street, if you take a left and head down Shoregate street then you'll reach the harbour, it is a must-visit during your time in Crail.
Have a chippy at Crail Fish Bar
When it comes to choosing chippies in Fife, things can get heated. Anstruther is the popular choice (and the place where the queues happen), and the chip shop in St Andrews is also a popular choice. Many locals even swear by the chippy in Leven. But for us, Crail Fish Bar is worthy of your time and is definitely one of the best in Fife. You probably won't find queues here during the week (weekends can often be a half an hour wait though), so if you're looking for a delicious chippy without the hassle of a long wait, Crail Fish Bar is the best choice in Fife. It's on the high street, you won't miss it.
Crail Fish Bar is open between 4pm and 8pm Wednesday to Sunday, and is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. There is no website so if you want to order something for collection you'll need to call them on - 01333 450159
Explore the local shops on the high street
Crail does have a small Co-op, but one of the great things about the village is all of the small, independent retailers you can still find operating there. For example, J.B Penman Butchers is a wonderful family-run butchers which has been in the village for almost 100 years. The Beehive is a great gift shop, and The Smoke Fired Whole Foods Shop is a health shop which doesn't just have an awesome name, it also has an amazing selection of ethical groceries, ceramics, and clothing. Check them all out!
This small cave is quite a distance from the centre of Crail, but we think it is worth a trip. Located to the side of the Crail golf course you'll find Constantine's Cave, named after Constantine II. It is said to be the place where he was killed here during a battle with the Danes in the 870s. There are some interesting carvings on the walls which are said to date from around 800-1000AD, which are quite fascinating to see. Even if you're not particularly interested in the cave, the coastal walk in the area is really enjoyable to follow.
Explore Roome Bay
You've got lots of amazing beaches and bays to explore in this part of Fife, and if you're looking for something which is big and sandy then Crail isn't the best option. But if you're looking for an area with amazing wildlife, great views of the islands and lots of rockpools to explore, or a place to get on a paddle-board, then Roome Bay in Crail is ideal. Follow the stone path along the bay and take in the various sights and sounds around you.
But the real reason you'll want to keep your eye on the sea is the chance to spot dolphins - yep, actual dolphins in Scotland. They're often spotted off the coast of Crail, apparently because where the North Sea meets the Firth of Forth is a great place for them to catch fish. We once saw more than 20 in a day on our trip to try out a dryrobe alternative!
Things to be aware of before visiting Crail
Maybe the main thing to keep in mind when visiting Crail is that it isn't very big, so don't be scared to do everything we've mentioned in this guide! If you've got a day here you can easily fit all of this in and still have plenty of time to enjoy your well-earned chippy at the end.
Where to stay in Crail?
Crail has some wonderful AirBnBs (although locals are mixed on how they feel about tourists staying in these (and so are we frankly), and also some lovely hotels including the Golf Hotel (a 16th century Grade A listed building) and the newly refurbished Balcomie Links (ideal for golfers).
However, we'd recommend staying at an independent place such as Longskerries (which has a wonderful decked area providing panoramic views of the village), The Old Granary Holiday Apartments (housed in a beautiful converted granary which dates back to the 18th century), or 21 Shoregate, a lovely cottage which is just a stone's throw from Crail harbour.
If you want something a bit more outdoorsy then the Sauchope Links Holiday Park is a good option, as is Silverdyke Holiday Park which is only a short distance away in Anstruther, and Yellowscott Lodges in Kelty which is only an hour away.
If you don't mind staying a little further afield, Rose Cottage in St Andrews is a lovely option with a large private garden, which is ideal for a chilled-out stay.