January is the month of cold weather, dark mornings and failing in our New Year’s resolutions before the first week is over. It is also my birthday month, and let’s just say I am at the age where you don’t look forward to it coming round each year.

So before I could even think of uttering the words “January blues”, I decided to get ahead of the game and spend a few days away. However, things aren’t as simple as they used to be. I am now a dog owner so have my Cavapoo, Max, to factor in when I book a trip away.

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Thankfully, dog-friendly holidays are more widely available these days. We chose Crail in the East Neuk of Fife – famous for its picturesque fishing villages, sandy beaches and craggy coastlines – and stayed at Sauchope Links Holiday Lodge and Caravan Park.

The site offers a host of options with touring pitches, camping and glamping as well as lodges and cabins.

It features an outdoor swimming pool (during the summer), a recreation room with pool table and table football, children’s play area and washing and laundrette facilities.

I am not keen on camping but I was intrigued with the Glamping Domes. Complete with a double bed and two camping mattresses, each dome can sleep up to two adults and two children.

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Outside there is a picnic bench and private open fire. The domes are set high up on the site to make the most of the views, and each features a wood-burning hot tub. (One pack of firewood is included in the cost.) As no electricity or bathroom facilities are available within the domes, you have access to the camper’s kitchen and toilet block.

A three-night stay costs only £170 for a family of four, making this option well worth a try. But if camping is a step too far, the site also offers great value at just £40 per night in one of the beach huts, which feature electric heating, television, a microwave and small fridge. These are also pet-friendly.

We stayed in the Serenity Lodge, a modern two-bedroom lodge with hot tub and spectacular panoramic views across the Firth of Forth. With two bathrooms and a spacious living area, the lodge was finished to a high standard and was spacious with a great decking area that makes the most of the views. Although the hot tub was a welcome addition, sadly the weather was a bit wild during our stay so we didn’t venture into the bubbles.

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Once we had settled in, we took a stroll into the historic fishing village of Crail, just a short walk from the site. It may be small but this is a quaint town with some historic buildings and a little harbour. There is a heritage centre (closed for the winter but due to re-open for Easter 2023), local shops as well as local eateries. A bank and convenience store are also available.

We stopped at The Golf Hotel for a pub lunch. The 16th-century graded A-listed building serves food daily, including locally caught fresh seafood and locally sourced meat. It was lovely to warm up next to the open fire in a pub that is also dog-friendly.

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After lunch we wandered down to the harbour, which is reached by walking along steep, cobbled streets. We even saw some wild swimmers braving the cold and windy weather to take in an afternoon dip.

If golf is your game, Crail Golfing Society has two golf courses: Craighead Links and Balcomie Links, with the added bonus of a sea view at every hole. And of course, the famous St Andrews Golf Course is just a 15-minute drive away.

A short drive from Crail is Anstruther, the largest of the fishing villages along this stretch of Fife coast. Of course you can’t visit that village without tucking into a quality fish supper from the Anstruther Fish Bar, which has won a number of awards including UK Fish and Chip Shop of the year.

For anyone interested in history and heritage, The Scottish Fisheries Museum is well worth a visit. This multi award-winning national museum tells the story of Scottish fishing from the earliest times to the present.

During spring and summer (April-September), you can set sail from Anstruther on the May Princess, a passenger boat offering pleasure cruises to the Isle of May in the Firth of Forth. The island is home to an incredible array of wildlife, with up to 200,000 seabirds nesting on its shores, including 90,000 Puffins as well as large colonies of guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and shags. (The best time to see puffins is from April to mid-August).

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On dry land and back at Sauchope, we took a walk along the Fife Coastal Path, which can be assessed from the site. The path runs from the Forth Estuary in the south, to the Tay Estuary in the north and stretches for 117 miles. This waymarked path can be explored in small sections and passes by Crail and other fishing villages including Elie and St Monans. History is everywhere, from the winding gear of the former coal yards to ruined castles and the Pictish and prehistoric carvings adorning the Wemyss caves.

Despite the wet and windy weather, we managed to enjoy the best of what the area had to offer and we will definitely be back in summer to take in more.

 

Travel facts:

We stayed in the two-bedroomed Serenity Lodge with hot tub. Prices from £200 per night.

Special offers: Save up to 20% on 2023 holidays when you book by February 28. Also, pets go free in all pet-friendly accommodation at all locations.

For further information visit www.largoleisure.co.uk or contact 01333450 460.