Tourism campaign to highlight Fife's '˜hidden gems'

It's the county that likes to call itself a kingdom, a reflection of its ancient role as the seat of Scotland's royalty.

Kingsbarns beach near Crail in Fife. Picture: Jerzy Morkis

Now a major tourist drive has been launched to encourage more visitors to explore Fife and its numerous historical attractions.

There are around three million visitors to Fife each year, bringing almost £439 million into the local economy, but tourism bosses believe there is scope to grow both figures.

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VisitScotland is masterminding a campaign as part of the Scottish Government-baced Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, itself part of the wider Tourism 2020 Strategy which aims to grow national tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020

The £12.4 million expansion of Dunfermline's historic Carnegie Library opened in 2017. Picture: Contributed

Fife is home to such well-known destinations such as the university town of St Andrews, the preserved 17th century village of Culross, and Dunfermline Abbey, the final resting place of Robert the Bruce.

But a campaign unveiled this week is focusing on lesser-known attractions - such as the “misty mountains” of St Modans and the pebble beaches at Kingbarns golf links.

A series of short videos - titled the Fife Five - will encourage visitors to explore the county’s food and drink producers as well as its towns and numerous golf courses.

Manuela Calchini, regional director at VisitScotland, said the campaign was about highlighting Fife’s “hidden gems”.

The £12.4 million expansion of Dunfermline's historic Carnegie Library opened in 2017. Picture: Contributed

He said: “From stunning scenery to fabulous food and drink, outstanding attractions to world famous golf courses, the Kingdom of Fife has so much to offer both visitors and locals.

“The Fife Five is an innovative and exciting campaign that highlights why the area is such a great place to visit. VisitScotland works closely with destinations and businesses to showcase the rich assets, hidden gems and local stories of every region in Scotland.”

The campaign was given a headstart in April when a multi-million pound extension to the world’s first Carnegie Library in Dunfermline was named building of the year in a prestigious architectural competition.

New exhibition spaces, research facilities, a children’s library, a cafe-bar and garden have transformed the look of the historic facility, which dates back to 1883.

It was the first of more than 2500 libraries to be built with money donated by the Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist, who led the expansion of the US steel industry in the late 19th century.

One of Scotland’s leading architects, Richard Murphy, has masterminded the plans for the project since winning a design competition in 2007.

An “architectural promenade” has been created inside the building, which boasts a terrace overlooking Dunfermline Abbey and garden, which has been created on the site of a former car park.

The grade-B listed library building, which sits in the heart of Dunfermline’s heritage quarter, has been left largely unaltered by the project, which has created the first proper museum facility to showcase Dunfermline’s historic collections.

Ann Camus of Fife Tourism Partnership said: “The beautiful scenery and landscape remain firm favourites with both local and international visitors, and it’s not difficult to see why.

“Tourism across Fife will be at its peak over the summer months, and I have no doubt visitors will get a huge amount of enjoyment from the area and upcoming events.”