Kingsbarns is a beautiful and exceptionally well preserved conservation village close to the east coast of Fife some six miles south of St Andrews and three miles north of Crail. Historically the village grew as an agricultural settlement. The name came from the barns used to store grain here prior to transport to the Royal Castle at Crail and the Palace at Falkland.
Golf was played on part of the estate of Cambo House to the south of the village as early as 1793, and in 1815 the Kingsbarns Golfing Society was formed there. Only seven years later in 1822 a school was built in Kingsbarns which today serves as the primary school and is the oldest active school in Fife.
Being less than half a mile from the coast, it was natural for residents to look to the sea for their transport and to supplement their food supply. In 1810 a pier was built by the Earl of Kellie to provide shelter for the vessels used to transport grain and potatoes as far afield as Newcastle and London, and to bring in coal and tiles. In 1861-3 a local farmer extended the existing pier and built another to create a harbour. The stones used in the contruction were placed vertically (like in so many Fife harbours) in the belief this made it more difficult for the sea to lift them out of position.
The harbour that resulted could berth ships of up to 100 tons, but it rapidly deteriorated, and by the end of the century was only usable by small fishing boats. Today you can see the remains of the harbour walls on the sands of Cambo Bay.
Kingsbarns itself is focused upon its unusually large square, whose end is formed by the main coast road. On one side is the village church, originally built in 1630 but extensively altered in 1811. The 1811 additions included the dominant upper levels of the tower which as a result can seem a little out of proportion with the church it serves. On the west side of the main road by The Square is Station Road, harking back to the years between 1887 and 1965 when Kingsbarns had a station just over a mile to its west on the single track railway that linked Crail and St Andrews.
Just to the north of the church is the village pub, the Barns at Kingsbarns. Until early 2004 this was known as the Cambo Arms Hotel, but after a period during which there were plans to convert it to a house and its future at the heart of the village community looked in doubt, a change of ownership and name signals a brighter future.
In 2000 the area's golfing tradition was updated with the opening of the Kingsbarns Golf Links on land leased from the Cambo Estate to the south-east of the village. The golf course that emerged from a heavy programme of investment is regarded by many as a classic and has rapidly established itself on the "must play" lists of golf tourists coming to Scotland to experience the best of our links courses. An even more recent addition to the area's visitor attractions is the superb Kingsbarns Distillery and Visitor Centre, which opened in late 2014.