Stay the night: 1 Mid Shore, St Monans, Fife
If sea-gazing, beachcombing and eating fine food are your holiday mainstays, this is the house for you. Its enviable situation overlooking the small harbour of St Monans, one of the quaint fishing villages on the East Neuk of Fife, puts you right on the shore. A previous owner knocked together a fisherman's watering hole and butcher's shop to create an award-winning design: the charming outward simplicity of the house belies the five-star style and comfort that lie within. The high-end kitchen-diner with harbour views encourages stylish self-catering. But the real catch is the first-floor lounge, with its blue-and-white colour scheme reflecting the sea views beyond.
The three spacious doubles (one en-suite) and one twin are furnished to a high standard, with huge comfy beds and Egyptian cotton sheets. If you're first there, nab the room on the first floor, with its harbour views. There's a further bathroom and guests receive indulgent bathroom smellies from L'Occitane.
The food and drink
A delectable welcome pack of Rocco prosecco, chocolates, biscuits and fresh ground coffee awaits you. Then head out and put the area's gastronomic reputation to the test. In St Monans, the Seafood Restaurant (01333 730327; theseafood restaurant.com) won Best Speciality Restaurant of the Year in the Scottish Restaurant Awards 2008. In Anstruther, the eponymous fish and chip shop repeatedly scoops the "Best in Scotland" for its fish suppers.
Explore the local villages, with their harbours and sandy beaches. Pittenweem and Crail hold well-established arts festivals in the summer. Golf lovers will be in their element – St Andrews course is nearby – and hikers can enjoy the Fife Coastal Path, which passes the door.
Not suitable for guests with limited mobility. Pets are not allowed. But dogs are welcome at the Loft House and Skipper's Rest in Anstruther, which are run by the same owner.
Prices start at £395 for three nights (sleeps eight), with a £25 fuel charge from October to March.
1 Mid Shore, St Monans, Fife, Scotland KY10 BJ (07967 566041; coastal-life.com).
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