Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Autumnal delights

As the leaves change colour and the nights grow darker there are still lots of great things to do in the East Neuk, St Andrews and the surrounding area. Here are four of the best things I've been up to this autumn:

1. Rory mania

Following world no. 1 golfer, Rory McIlroy around the Old Course, as he teamed up with his dad to compete at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship 2014 (, was a must this October. Rory and some of his fellow professional golfers, such as Victor Dubuisson, were fresh from the European team's Ryder Cup win at Gleneagles. 

For more on what the Dunhill Links is all about and why it's such a great event see my Dunhill blog:

2. Day trip to fabulous Falkland

Just half an hour or so from St Andrews is the picture perfect village of Falkland. Most visitors go for the National Trust of Scotland's Falkland Palace (

The palace is well worth a visit for a glimpse into Scotland in days of old, when the Stuart monarchs travelled around with all of their furniture and tapestries so that their quarters in the next castle or palace could be made to look exactly like the last one! It was also a favourite place of Mary Queen of Scots.

The palace gardens are also lovely, though inevitably not as splendid in Autumn as they must be in Spring and Summer. 

A unique feature at the bottom of the garden is the stone royal tennis court - which is not the same as tennis as we know it. 

Falkland is not just about the palace though - its a very scenic and quaint place for a wander around, popping into enticing little gift shops, galleries and caf├ęs as you go. Even the more industrial old mill is attractively vintage, though apparently soon to be knocked down. With more time you could also explore the very pretty surrounding countryside, which looked great for walking, cycling etc.

3. Proof that Anstruther dining is finer than just fish 'n' chips: The Cellar

We'd been huge fans of The Cellar restaurant in Anstruther ( were disappointed when it closed in tragic circumstances. It's now open again and the new management, including Anstruther-born head chef Billy Boyter, have managed to put their own spin on it whilst keeping the charm. It's a highly atmospheric historic building, which you reach through a pretty courtyard area. You can then quaff an aperitif in one of the elegant seating areas before being shown to your table in the cosy, romantic restaurant. 

Once seated you can expect to be treated to a series of courses lovingly created with care, precision and creativity from the best seasonal local produce. 

For its combination of accomplished fine dining, friendly staff and a very atmospheric and romantic setting I would highly recommend The Cellar for a special occasion meal out or if you are simply treating yourselves (we went to celebrate Mr ENB's birthday). Book ahead though, particularly at weekends as the restaurant is quite small. 


Twice a year Cambolicious (, the East Neuk's popular craft beer festival, comes to the Cambo Estate near Kingsbarns (in May and November) and I am a festival regular. It's small in scale but big in charm and appeals to children and adults alike. This time around there was lots of fun to be had with the outdoor games, including table tennis in a posh tent with a chandelier and various retro games which involved throwing skills (I was hopelessly bad at all of these!). Foodie delights included juicy steak burgers with a mountain of trimmings, freshly pressed apple juice and deliciously naughty sweet and savoury crepes. 

But really people love Cambolicious for all the craft beers, ciders and gins, with their weird and wonderful names, from around Scotland. 22 types were on tap this time around. The Fresh Root Ginger cider from Borders-based Thistly Cross was a sell-out again and for good reason. It's still my favourite cider ever. Of the beers Biology Girl loved the Spiced Pumpkin Rye from the St Andrews Brewing Company and Legally Brunette enjoyed the Staple Pale from the Top Out Brewery.

Never shy of a bit of dressing up, I got into the festival spirit and enjoyed making my own natural headgear at the stand for this. Here's my less than perfect attempt (well it was made in the dark!):

Sadly I missed out on the face painting, which was not just for kids - various adults were sporting Halloween-type designs, whimsical leaves or wood nymph-esque designs. Throughout there was the highly enjoyable and sometimes impromptu music from some of Fife's most talented musicians that I've come to expect from Cambolicious. Unfortunately no King Creosote or Lidh sets this time round but Emporium ended the event on a high. As ever at Cambolicious I didn't want to leave.

World famous sports stars, fantastic sight-seeing, fine dining and craft beer festivals - what's not to love about the East Neuk and St Andrews in Autumn?

Text and photos copyright Sara Scott 2014

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