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» St Andrews & the Fishing Villages of Fife - Small Group Day Tour from Edinburgh

'A day out with lots of free time in the medieval city of St. Andrews, home of golf, and the picturesque old fishing villages in the East Neuk (corner) of the Kingdom of Fife'


Depart from central Edinburgh at 09.30am, and travel north to South Queensferry. At the same time as William I conquered England Scotland was ruled by a powerful Celtic King, Malcolm Canmore and his Saxon wife Queen Margaret. While Malcolm ruled with a fist of Iron, and was constantly at war with either Norway or England, his wife dedicated her life to changing the social welfare of the people, particularly the church, earning her the title 'Saint Margaret of Scotland'.

North of Edinburgh there were two very important churches - St Andrews and Dunfermline, but getting from Edinburgh across the wide Firth of Forth was difficult, so Queen Margaret established a ferry across the narrowest point for the pilgrims, hence 'Queen's Ferry'. The ferry remained in existence until the opening of the Forth Road Bridge in 1964 by the present Queen.

From Queensferry we drive up and onto the Forth Road Bridge, and this giving you a great view across to the eighth wonder of the world - the Forth Rail Bridge. At over a mile and a half (2300m) long, the bridge was completed in 1890, and until recently was the longest Cantilever bridge in the world. It is a true testament of Scottish engineering.

St Andrews
Scottish Highlands

Once over the bridge we enter the Kingdom of Fife. This is so called due to the unique geography of the area, bounded to the south by the wide Firth of Forth, to the north by the Firth of Tay and to the east by the North Sea. To the west lie the rolling Ochil hills. So, Fife is pretty much cut off from the rest of Scotland, and so remained semi-independent for longer than other parts. Central Fife used to be very poor, until the discovery of coal, while the towns and villages along its coastline were rich from all the trade across the North sea, hence the description of the area as a 'Beggar's mantle ringed with gold'. Shortly before Dunfermline, childhood home of Andrew Carnegie, we head east towards Kirkcaldy, birthplace of another famous 'fifer' Adam Smith, who wrote the 'Wealth of Nations'. This book is recognised as the 'bible' of Capitalism.

From Kirkcaldy we enter the area known as the 'East Neuk', from the Scottish word 'Neuk' meaning corner, and its small picturesque fishing villages hugging the coastline, infamous in the past as a paradise for smugglers. We pass Upper Largo, birthplace of Alexander Selkirk, a sailor marooned on the desert island of Juan Fernandez, inspiring Daniel Defoe to write 'Robinson Crusoe', before stopping for a short while in the quiet village of Crail. From Crail it is a short hop to the medieval town of St Andrews. St Andrew is the patron Saint of Scotland, and according to legend his remain were washed up on the Fife coast. Whether true or not, St Andrews has been the capital of the Scottish Church for the best part of a thousand years. As a testament to its power and the power of the Roman Church the Canmore Kings built a huge Norman Cathedral, the biggest in all of Scotland. During the upheavals of the Reformation, which pitted the Catholic Church against the Protestant New Order (the Church of Scotland), this symbol of Papal authority was destroyed, leaving only its huge eastern tower and a few stumps. It is well worth the visit to imaging what it must once have been like.

St Andrews is also home to the oldest University in Scotland. At nearly 600 years old, St Andrews university is one of Scotland's 4 Ancient universities, a number that few other counties, with 10 times our population can boast. Currently, St Andrews University has a famous student in Prince William. St Andrews is most famously the home of golf, with the Old Course just off the town centre, next to the long sand beach, which itself was used in the opening credits of 'Chariots of Fire'. We give you 3 hours to explore this unique town.

From St Andrews we take a pleasant drive through the rolling countryside of central Fife, with its small villages and patchwork of farms, to Falkland. Falkland Palace dominates this old village, and was one of the main residences of the old Royal family of Scotland, the Stewarts (Stuarts). It's gardens are well worth a visit. After an hour here we cross the Lomond hills past Loch Leven, where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned by her Protestant nobility. And then it is straight back to Edinburgh.

Return time - Approx 6.00pm

Adult Price: £40
Child Price: £37 (3 - 16 yrs)

A Small Groups are more fun!

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SCOTTISH DAY TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
title-line

~ Forth Bridges
~ Anstruther
~ Eastern Fife’s fishing villages
~ St. Andrews Cathedral
~ Castle and Old Town
~ The Old Course
~ Historic Village of Falkland

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This full day tour departs every day from Central Edunburgh 9.00am - 6pm.
This tour normally ends by 6.30pm
Adult Price: £40
Child Price: £37 (3 - 16 yrs)
 

Why choose these tours

On this tour you will be travelling with no more than 16 other people - guaranteed! Our purpose-built minibuses have large windows, good air circulation and clear PA systems so that your professional guide can escort you comfortably through our wonderful country. Our itineraries are carefullly planned (with many years of experience) so that you discover as much as possible, without spending too much time on the road.

As we travel in smaller vehicles, we normally use the most scenic routes, where large coach are prohibited from travelling. Additionally, as our group sizes are smaller we are able to more time out of the vehicle. We also employ a the very best driver/guides


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I went on the St. Andrews tour on September 6. It was the first time I had tried Rabbies so I was not sure what to expect. The guide, Shelby, was excellent, with a great sense of humour and a detailed knowledge of the places we visited. Her story telling, especially on the way back to Edinburgh, was worthy of an award, it was a performance that reflected knowledge of the history of Scotland as well as a love of the place. The tour was so enjoyable that I booked another the following day.
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