Crail has many historic houses and cottages and is best explored on foot to capture the quiet atmosphere of an East Coast Fishing Village. The most outstanding building around the harbor is the large, white, crowstepped, Customs House, built in 1690. East of Crail is the Balcomie Links of the Crail Golfing Society which is one of the oldest golf club in the world. Visitors are always welcome to a round of golf.
Crail is ideally located for easy trips to St Andrews, Dunfermline, Culross, Perth, Edinburgh, Falkland Palace, and all of historic Fife. Crail is the oldest East Neuk Burgh, and became a Royal Burgh in the 12th century. In 1310 Robert the Bruce granted permission for Crail to hold markets on Sunday. The markets, which were once among the largest in Europe, were held in the Marketgait where the 17th century Mercat Cross stands.
Crail is possibly the most attractive of all the East Neuk Villages. Best to leave the car in the upper village and explore on foot. Early morning or near sunset in winter gives a stunning quality of light attractive to photographers and artists. Still a working harbour, crail offers both interest and solitude when visiting or staying. Be sure to visit to small teashop near the harbour for tea and home-baked scone with Fife jam. Scotland was described by James VI as 'a beggar's mantle fringed with gold' - the gold being the chain of little Fife ports from which merchant ships, smuggling vessels and fishing fleets plied their trade over the centuries. Crail is most definitely part of that beautiful gold chain.
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