The Kingdom of Fife is crammed with things to see and do. From pretty fishing villages and incredible beaches to historical sites and wonderful culture, Fife has the lot. Our Holiday Home Spotlight falls on Sandford Country Cottages, a lovely place to stay, with cottages and apartments perfect for couples, families, groups of friends for walking, cycling, relaxing and generally chilling out. Set in the countryside, but very close to the coast and to St Andrews and Dundee, Sandford has been restored and completed to a very high standard. We spoke to the owner Evelyn Hardie.
Firstly, can you give us a bit of an introduction to Sandford Holiday Cottages?
We set up the holiday homes business after purchasing Sandford House, a ‘B’ Listed Arts and Crafts house in 2010. It had been lying empty for 3 years and was quickly becoming derelict. We restored the old part of the house as our home and converted the west wing into 4 holiday homes.
We have 2 cottages which have 2 en-suite bedrooms each and 2 apartments that have 3 ensuite bedrooms each. Baille Scott and Valentines Cottages opened in June last year and gained a five star grading from Visit Scotland. Lady Bluebell and The Giddy Limit will be ready for occupation in around 3 weeks time. We designed the holiday homes to fit in with the Arts and Crafts style of the main house – we offer a tour of the restored main house to guests when they are staying here.
Sandford House and the holiday cottages are arranged around a central courtyard, which is available for eveyone’s use, and it has been described as ‘almost mediterranean’ which is no mean feat in Fife!
You’re only 10 miles from St Andrews, what would you recommend people should visit there?
St Andrews is the perfect place for golfers and even if you are not a golfer most people enjoy a visit to the Old Course. The British Golf Museum has recently undegone a major refurbishment and will be ready in time for The Open which is being held at St Andrews this July.
St Andrews is a fabulous place to just wander around – it small enough to walk everywhere from the fabulous beaches, the cathedral, museums, restaurants, cafes, the Byre Theatre to just wandering around the many and varied unique shops soaking up the atmosphere, and there is plenty of that there.
One of the best resources we’ve found for visitor information is Visit Andrews (http://www.visitstandrews.com/)
Fife has a real mixture of different strands of history and heritage, from the Secret Bunker to the fishing ports of Anstruther, Crail and Pittenweem, what would you consider the ‘must-see’ attractions during a stay at Sandford?
The beach and forest at Tentsmuir must be on anyone’s list staying here at Sandford along with our local villages of Newport-on-Tay and Wormit, where there are fabulous views across the Tay towards Dundee where the V&A Museum is under construction. The iconic Tay Rail Bridge and a visit to the local shops, cafes and restaurants. A drive along the east neuk of Fife to sample local fish and chips, seafood and ice cream and if you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of some St Ayles skiffs on the Tay or on the Forth.
Eden Mill Distillery and Brewery has daily guided tours and is only 4 miles away.
We’re very close to Cairnie Fruit Farm which is great for the kids with a fruit farm, a mega maze and Tea Room. Although we are close to St Andrews we’re also only 6 miles from the centre of Dundee where you can visit The Discovery – Captain Scott’s ship, Verdant Works – a working jute mill, the Science Centre or you can sit on the beach at Broughty Ferry and wait for the dolphins passing by in the water.
There’s and awful lot going on with different festivals and events in the Kingdom, can you pluck out some highlights?
Crail Food Festival is worth a visit in June and the East Neuk Festival is on from 27th June – 5th July with music, films, exhibitions, including sand sculptures! One of our favourites is the Pitenweem Arts Festival (1st – 9th August) where local artists allow you into their houses and studios to view and purchase their work. Entry is free and it is a great day out for anyone interested in the arts.