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14 reasons to take the train to Levenmouth in 2024

03 March


For the first time since 1969 Levenmouth will once again welcome visitors by rail, when services start on 2nd June. And here are 14 reasons why you should take the train to Leven by travel blogger, Robin McKelvie.

1 .

Walk this Way

The Fife Coastal Path, Scotland’s longest coastal trail, is quite simply one of the world’s great walks. The sections that sweep through Levenmouth are spectacular. Head west from the new train station in Leven and you are straight on the Fife Coastal Path pushing through the massive new green energy projects of Methil and on to Buckhaven, where it dovetails with a community trail. A section of old railway track opens up castles, Pictish caves and the charming East and West Wemyss villages. Push east and the sands take you off into a world of big sky, big sea and big beach in search of the East Neuk. En route Lundin Links and Lower Largo charm, as do a flurry of golf courses.

2 .

Wonder at the wildlife

Levenmouth is a paradise for nature lovers. Follow the salty air from Leven’s new station and you’re on the beach with the gulls, oystercatchers and curlews. This whole coastline is alive with wildlife, from myriad birdlife – hulking sea eagles (the flying barn door of the Scottish ornithological scene) through to cute puffins in summer – and the waters are alive not only with curious seals, but also porpoises, dolphins and fairly regular visiting whales. On land there are the likes of squirrels, badgers and deer too. A less wild but thrilling family experience comes courtesy of Claireville Alpacas and The Farm at Wellsgreen where wee ones can not only meet these gorgeous animals, but take them on a wee life-affirming walk.

3 .

Meet the Picts

The Picts once held sway over Levenmouth and they have left their indelible, tantalising legacies, most notably at the Wemyss Caves by East Wemyss. This is Scotland’s finest collection of Pictish cave art, a sheer joy to behold, especially if you’re accompanied by an expert guide from the Save Wemyss Caves Society. The carvings lie in a dramatic spot in the hulking caverns down by the Firth of Forth. The twin highlights are the Court Cave and Jonathan’s Cave, with their impressive galleries of carvings. As we know so little about the Picts there is no right or wrong answer in deciphering the symbols, so you can let your imagination run wild no matter your age. A brilliant experience.

4 .

Discover the Lair of the Thane of Fife

Thought Macduff only existed in the pages of Shakespeare and that Scottish play? Think again as Macduff, the Thane of Fife, did exist and is thought to have been contemporaneous to the real life King Macbeth. Macduff’s ghost swirls around the cliffs and the ruined castle just above the Wemyss Caves, making visiting both together easy. The castle is a deeply dramatic ruin enjoying a strategic setting peering out over the Firth of Forth.

5 .

Enjoy the Fife Riviera

Leven used to be famous as a resort town with thousands of Glaswegians flocking here every year for their traditional beach holidays. Leven’s beaches are still gorgeous – today you can still unfurl a towel, or join the wild swimmers. The Fife Riviera nostalgia lives on at not one, but three amusement arcades. Recently revamped Beachcomber overlooks the beach and sports a second floor café with views. There is real romance here on the beach – no wonder local artist Jack Vettriano was inspired to create his seminal ‘Singing Butler’ painting. How about a dip with a warming sauna afterwards? Elie Seaside Sauna are on hand with their brace of saunas in Elie – they’re looking at installing a sauna by Leven’s beach too.

6 .

Explore Leven

Leven is far more than just a beach. The coming of the train has brought new blood with businesses opening in the centre. Together Levenmouth Hub is symbolic of this local drive and passion, run by local charity Brag Enterprises. This creative space is alive with things for people to do, to engage them, from a brace of escape rooms, through to an indoor crazy golf course and the Hub Café. A new gaming centre is planned for the basement to further engage local young people. Wandering the streets you will come across Khee, which stocks good taste gifts and the kind of esoteric furniture and lifestyle items you just don’t find on the internet. Back down on the waterfront is the city’s most famous resident, ‘Postie’. This giant strikingly colourful Scottie dog started life as part of a temporary art project, but the community loved him so much they clubbed together to secure him a permanent home here.

7 .

Hop on a Heritage train

The Fife Heritage Railway is a life-affirming gem run by volunteers right next to the new railway station in Leven. The cracking team maintain and run a fleet of diesel and steam locomotives. There is a model railway, a wee café and a bookshop too. To celebrate the coming of the new rail line they are running monthly events with the chance to ride the rails back through the years. They plan on moving into larger premises where Network Rail were based during the construction of the Levenmouth Rail Link, so watch this exciting heritage space.

8 .

Meet the Real Robinson Crusoe

Alexander Selkirk, the real life inspiration for the world’s most famous castaway, hailed from Lower Largo. Daniel Defoe immortalised him as Robinson Crusoe. Today you can make a pilgrimage to the statue dedicated to the man who became a castaway in 1704 for over for over four years an uninhabited island in the South Pacific Ocean. Handily it lies right on the Fife Coastal Path. To continue the Crusoe theme enjoy lunch at the nearby The Crusoe – you can even stay the night in considerably more comfort than Robinson Crusoe was used to on his desert island home.

9 .

Embrace the Caring Community Park

The charity behind Leven’s Silverburn Park are truly inspiring. They have resurrected this old park in the woodland behind the dunes. Today you can walk its trails, stay in one of their wooden pods, camp here and enjoy what many regulars reckon are the best scones in Levenmouth in their café. A tireless bunch, the mental health roots of Silverburn come across in the positive projects that aim to ‘grow minds’ in their gardens. Look out for their huge ongoing project to breathe new life into the old flax mill here as a community-focused events, cultural and social hub. Letham Glen is Leven’s other lovely green lung.

10 .

Enjoy Great Food

With so much superb produce from the coast and the hinterland you eat very well in Levenmouth. In the town itself at stylish Base (think more East London than East Neuk) tuck into fresh steamed mussels, sourced just along the road in the fishing village of St Monans. At the Old Manor Hotel in Lundin Links the beef steaks star, alongside a more unusual lamb steak, with a decent bottle of Burgundian Pinot Noir on hand to wash them down. The Ship Inn meanwhiles offers fresh fish from the East Neuk and culinary creation with an unbeatable beach view to the east in Elie.

11 .

Shop for Great Food

Levenmouth and its surrounds are paradise if you’re looking for fresh local produce. Lose yourself amongst the fresh vegetables and fruit at Ardross Farm Shop (they’ll even give you wooden picnic cutlery to take away), or pick your own soft fruits at Blacketyside Farm Shop. The café is superb here too with daily special alongside delicious sandwiches and old favourites. Glorious homebaking too. Bowhouse brilliantly brings together a sweep of local producers with regular foodie events. Then there are the flurry of fresh fish merchants that line the A917 road in the village of St Monans.

12 .

Bed Down in Style

Levenmouth overflows with great places to stay. In Leven Silverburn has glamping pods. Just along the coast in Lundin Links the Old Manor Hotel is a stately dame overlooking a golf course and the Firth of Forth. Book a room with a terrace for an unbeatable view of water, beach and big sky. Even further east in the East Neuk the Ship Inn is a legendary hideaway. Make sure to book a Forth view room. The décor is local maritime mixed with New England and it’s a deeply characterful place to bed down. Great restaurant and bar too.

13 .

Get Active

It’s seriously easy to get active in and around Levenmouth. The Fife Coastal Path sweeps right through and Fife is, of course, the world-famous Home of Golf. Leven sports its own superb links and there are also acclaimed courses in the likes of Lundin Links. The newer Dumbarnie course opened in 2000 and is highly rated too. Watersports are popular, from wild swimming and stand up paddle boarding, through to a new favourite – e-foil.

14 .

Into the East Neuk

The new Levenmouth Rail Link opens up a world of possibilities, not least a much easier way into the East Neuk. Step off the train at Levenmouth and buses await to scoot you off into this postcard-pretty collage of wee whitewashed towns and villages. Or just walk east on the Fife Coastal Path from the Largos and Elie provides a sort of ‘East Neuk in Miniature’. Enjoy the beach and look out for cricket on the sands in summer. Or take a refreshing dip, followed by a warming session in that Elie Seaside Sauna. Afterwards fresh local produce awaits in the legendary Ship Inn. Further east picturesque twins Pittenweem and St Monans tempt, as does bigger Anstruther, with its famous chippies and the Scottish Fisheries Museum.

Stations on the new line at Cameron Bridge and Leven open up a wealth of opportunities for visitors, whether you’re a sightseer, or want to check out the area’s remarkable flora and fauna. Maybe you’re a serious foodie relishing Levenmouth’s world-class produce, a family looking for beach-kissed fun, or even a retired couple just looking to rekindle summer holiday memories of those same hallowed sands.

The new sustainable Scottish Government £116m Levenmouth Rail Link really opens up something for all tastes, and everyone can get there easily, whether you want to come just for the day, or enjoy a longer break. There are coastal towns and villages like joined-at the-hip Leven, Methil and Buckhaven, both East and West Wemyss, and Lower and Upper Largo. Plus fellow coastal charmer, Lundin Links. Then inland you have the likes of Balcurvie, Bonnybank, Coaltown of Wemyss, Drumeldrie, Kennoway and Windygates. Here are 14 reasons to take the train to Levenmouth in 2024.

For more information on Levenmouth, visit Welcome to Levenmouth.

This content is part of a project funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

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