Travel Review: Burntisland, Scotland

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There is something magical about gazing out onto water. And when your viewpoint allows you to drink in the goings-on of Scotland’s mighty Firth of Forth – there’s nothing better.

Couple this with fantastically quiet and golden beaches, a town which boasts old-fashioned seaside fun and you have all the ingredients for a spectacular May Bank Holiday weekend.

LOOKING OVER TO THE SUBSTANTIAL REMAINS OF ABERDOUR CASTLE- DATING FROM THE 14C WITH 16C/17C ADDITIONS AND FORMER HOME OF EARL OF MORAY, ON THE NORTH SHORE OF THE FIRTH OF FORTH, FIFE.'PIC: P.TOMKINS/VisitScotland/SCOTTISH VIEWPOINT'Tel: +44 (0) 131 622 7174  'Fax: +44 (0) 131 622 7175'E-Mail : info@scottishviewpoint.com'This photograph can not be used without prior permission from Scottish Viewpoint.

LOOKING OVER TO THE SUBSTANTIAL REMAINS OF ABERDOUR CASTLE- DATING FROM THE 14C WITH 16C/17C ADDITIONS AND FORMER HOME OF EARL OF MORAY, ON THE NORTH SHORE OF THE FIRTH OF FORTH, FIFE.'PIC: P.TOMKINS/VisitScotland/SCOTTISH VIEWPOINT'Tel: +44 (0) 131 622 7174 'Fax: +44 (0) 131 622 7175'E-Mail : info@scottishviewpoint.com'This photograph can not be used without prior permission from Scottish Viewpoint.

Ruaridh (6) had luckily won a three night stay in a deluxe caravan in the wonderfully named Burntisland (pronounced Burntisland, but easily confused as Burntis-land by the English part of the family!).

The generous break came courtesy of Ruaridh’s lovely school secretary Mrs Christine Johnson. She is the owner of a beautiful caravan just outside the main town, which apart from being more like a penthouse than a caravan, also has the most magnificent views of the Firth of Forth.

Had I not had Ruaridh and Flora (3) and husband Kenny in tow, I could have happily spent the whole break sitting and taking in the view and watching the busy shipping lane which saw cruise ships and tug boats merrily pottering up and down. The caravan looks down on Pettycur Beach, itself the winner of a Seaside Beach Award and no wonder. Its stunning, secluded and a child’s paradise, as is the neighbouring Kingshorn beach. And in the background is the equally impressive Forth road bridge.

And they themselves speak volumes for the national tourist board Visit Scotland’s 2013 campaign to promote the Year of Natural Scotland. If you have the right weather (which we did) then there is no where better to go for your holidays.

The only way we could prise the children from the beach and me from the penthouse was the lure of the seaside fun beckoning in the high street of Burntisland.

The town is well-known as a day-tripper’s paradise and its annual Highland Games in the summer attracts thousands of visitors. It has all the good fun you had as children and from the end of May until August the funfair comes to town and there are the intoxicating smells and tastes of candy floss and freshly cooked fish and chips to enjoy as you tackle the showground rides.

The front is dominated by the beach and a brilliant leisure centre which boasts the Beacon Tower which houses twister and bullet water flumes and a wave machine, something which Ruaridh told me he “dreamed of having fun on’’.

Just a few miles up the road is Aberdour Castle. Cared for by Historic Scotland, this is an impressive ruin. Parts of it date back to 1200 and make it one of the oldest standing castles in Scotland. It started off as a modest hall and was built upon with stunning architecture and the highlight, the walled garden and splendid terraced grounds, which were the brainchild of Douglas, Earl of Morton.

Burntisland is just a part of the wonderfully named Kingdom of Fife and a half hour drive takes you to the up market seaside town of St Andrew’s, home to golf and of course the spot where Prince William met his princess, Kate.

The town oozes class and money, but also the Secret Bunker, which is what we had gone to see. You walk down an 150 metre entrance tunnel through hermetically sealed three ton blast doors into a place which is dark and historic.

This nuclear bunker is fascinating and the museum gives an insight as you tour the dormitories which housed the workers, who had the unenviable task of sleeping for six hours and then swapping with another staff member in what was dubbed “hot beds’’.

Along with military personnel, there was a fully equipped BBC studio and many staff had to stay underground for three months without washing as uncontaminated water was too precious.

We didn’t want to stay underground for too long, so it was back to Burntisland and that view which eptimoises natural Scotland and does much to soothe the soul!

• The Royal Burgh of Burntisland stands proudly in the equally impressively named Kingdom of Fife. For more information on accommodation and what’s on, log onto www.burntisland.net

• Aberdour Castle is tucked away in a beautiful village which is a finalist in this year’s Scotland in Bloom competition. Log onto www.historic-scotland.gov.uk

• Have military fun in the Secret Bunker in St Andrew’s via www.secretbunker.co.uk

• Celebrate the Year of Natural Scotland with a website packed full of advice via www.visitscotland.com