East Neuk treasures

A few days ago, on a beautifully sunny morning, delightful assistant no.1 and I tootled off to the Fife coast.

We made first for Crail, a small fishing village in the East Neuk (‘neuk’ is a Scots word for ‘corner’, referring in this case to the north-east corner of the county of Fife).


Crail harbour

Sitting on a bench watching people enjoying the small sandy bay next to the harbour, we felt as as if we were on our holidays.


As with the village of Culross, which lies at the western end of the county, Crail is full of interesting buildings that have been very nicely restored by the National Trust for Scotland.

Crail house with flowers

Crail houses

Crail building near harbour

Quite a few of those near the harbour are holiday cottages available to rent, such as this one with the unusual name of ‘Peppers’.


Across the road from Peppers is a small house squeezed in between two taller ones. Curiously, it appears to have two front doors, one above the other.


The nameplate above the lower door reads ‘Lobster Cottage’. Very fittingly, above the topmost door, two lobsters cling to the panelling around a dormer window.


Like the other East Neuk villages, Crail is known for its seafood and there is a fish and chip shop in the main street that was doing a roaring trade when we went there for lunch.

Delightful assistant no.1 ordered a small portion of breaded haddock with chips and peas, and I ordered the battered version.

Shortly after we arrived, a group of foreigners sat down at the next table. When the waiter came to take their order they asked him to explain the difference between breaded and battered fish. He did his best, but because of the language barrier it was difficult for them to understand. We offered our plates to them for inspection, which appeared to assist them in their decision making.

breaded haddock

Breaded haddock: white fish coated in breadcrumbs and grilled.

battered haddock

Battered haddock: white fish coated in batter and fried.

After lunch we enjoyed a leisurely mooch around the village before heading for our next refreshment stop, a coffee shop called Simpatica in the village of Kingsbarns a few miles away. It had an attractive postbox outside it.


The left hand side of the building contained a few tables, while the right hand side was given over to an antique shop.


After resisting the temptation to buy a small bookcase in the shop, we sidled over to the coffee shop and inspected its wares.

Delightful assistant no.1 plumped for a pot of English Breakfast tea and a slice of fruit loaf.


I chose a bit of nutty ginger chocolate traybake and a pot of Lady Grey tea.


The china was of the mismatched vintage variety, and I was fortunate to get an abundantly floral teacup and saucer.


Still feeling quite well filled after lunch, I had thought I might wrap up some of my cake to take home. Somehow or other, however, it completely vanished in the tearoom.

It’s been a while since I’ve written about a tearoom on this blog, not because I haven’t been to any recently but because it’s been some time since I’ve been to a particularly good one. I’m delighted to say that Simpatica got a big thumbs up from me and my delightful assistant, and we’re looking forward to another visit.



18 thoughts on “East Neuk treasures

  1. What a terrific day out! Only thing missing appears to be a decent scone at the coffee shop but I’m guessing you wanted a cake for a change – and who could blame you!

    • Thanks David, it was a lovely day out. I’m not sure that there were any scones, I don’t remember seeing any. It was quite late in the afternoon so perhaps they’d all gone. I was in the mood for something chocolate so I was very pleased to find that delicious chocolate ginger item.

    • That cake was delicious, Darlene. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was very pleased with it. The cottages are indeed beautiful, and with the lovely weather it was a real treat.

  2. What an an adorable place and no rain I noticed . How on earth did you manage that 😀 . We have been to many parts of Scotland but never the east coast …all those fishing villages appeal.
    A beach , fish and chips , antique shop and mmmmm …nutty ginger chocolate … A day of completeness 😉

    • The East Neuk has an unusually good climate, I think. It often gets sunshine when other bits of Scotland are dull and grey. As you say, all the elements needed for a good day out were present and correct.

  3. You’re kind people 🙂 and very quick-witted and practical too (re the demonstration). It’s great to see historic buildings being given a new life!

  4. Mmm, love that cup and saucer! And once again, I wish I had time to make a drawing from one of your photos. I should probably start with my own, though. I’m way behind on projects of my own these days.

  5. What a lovely day out! You have a gift for finding the most delightful places to eat. That tearoom at Kingsbarns looks wonderful, and I love the vintage china. We’ve been to Crail and I agree that it’s a charming little place. Culross jumps even higher up my list!

    • Thank you, Jo. It was a stroke of luck finding that tearoom. There are definite similarities in the buildings of Crail and Culross, and I’m sure you’re going to love Culross. 🙂

  6. What a lovely place, and weren’t you lucky with the weather! Wonderful. It was very good of you to show the tourists the battered vs. breaded fish. I can imagine it would be difficult to explain in words. The tearoom looks great, and your tea must have been particularly good drunk out of that beautiful teacup!

  7. What a quaint and adorable place…and looked like beautiful weather too. How special that you get to toddle off for the day with your very special assistants…those must be the best days ever for each of you!

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