We needed a break, and we needed a good one. I love living in the city, but with a beautiful country like Scotland at my doorstep, I regularly need to escape the urban buzz and explore somewhere quiet and relaxing. An invitation to spend a weekend at the Cosy Vegan B&B in Fife sounded like the perfect excuse to return to this quiet part of Scotland and see what it’s like to stay in fully vegan accommodation.
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When I turned vegan, I knew it would be easy to do in Glasgow, with all its vegan restaurants and vegan-friendly special menus. But I had no idea what it would be like to travel Scotland as a vegan. Luckily, the people of Scotland are very aware of different dietary requirements and there is now even a variety of vegetarian and vegan B&Bs offering carefree relaxation. It’s always nice to be accommodated by an omni restaurant or hotel, but there is nothing quite like being 100% sure that your host knows exactly what you need as a vegan.
Ironically, we decided to have our vegan getaway on the exact same weekend as a big vegan festival in Glasgow – this goes to show, that Scotland is in fact a brilliant vacation spot for vegans!
I had visited the Kingdom of Fife before, so when Robin and Fran from The Cosy Vegan B&B got in touch, I was all ears. The B&B lies in a small village outside Dunfermline, ideally located to explore the rest of Fife by public transport or with your own car. Here is what we got up to!
Staying at Cosy Vegan B&B
The Cosy Vegan B&B has two rooms – or 1.5 rooms as Fran likes to say. The larger room has a nice double bed and is semi en-suite with a sink and toilet. The second room is smaller – cosier – and not en-suite. The shared shower facilities are down stairs, while both rooms are on the first floor up.
Our room was so colourful and full of personality, like you rarely see in hotels or B&Bs around Scotland. There were enough books to browse for an entire winter and art work decorated the bright blue walls. I felt immediately at home – like visiting a friend and being offered to stay in their master bedroom.
Fran and Robin had prepared our room with lots of different little treats. Of course there was a kettle and coffee & tea to make whenever we wanted. The little fridge was filled with a variety of plant milks and fruit juices, yogurts and even a bottle of non-alcoholic fizz. On the wooden table was a plate of sweeties, which we quickly inspected after arrival. The toiletries by the sink are all vegan-friendly, and down by the bathroom stood a basket with even more toiletries and bamboo tooth brushes, should you have forgotten to bring anything.
My favourite little detail though was the lavender pillow spray which sat on the bed. For many people – me included – sleeping in a new bed can be quite difficult. The soothing scent of lavender on my pillow though, made me fall asleep no bother. I had never seen a B&B or hotel offer this before – what a genius idea!
Getting to The Cosy Vegan B&B
The Cosy Vegan B&B is very easy to reach by public transport. From Glasgow the direct Stagecoach buses to Kirkcaldy (X27), Leven (X26) or St Andrews (X24) all stop in Crossford, about 5 minutes from the B&B. The return ticket costs £19.50 and is valid for one month.
From Edinburgh you can take a bus to Dunfermline or Halbeath Park and change onto one of the many buses that take you west to Crossford. There is a train station in Dunfermline with connections from Edinburgh as well, but it’s a good 15-minute walk from there to the bus station.
By car it takes about an hour to get to Crossford from Glasgow or Edinburgh, and there is plenty of on street parking available near the B&B.
Food at The Cosy Vegan B&B
Breakfast can be one of the biggest challenges for vegans in Scotland, especially when you stay at a traditional B&B or hotel, where they are not so sure about how to substitute the typical eggs, bacon and sausages for vegans. Breakfast is exactly why I loved to stay at a vegan B&B – where the host knows exactly that a vegan breakfast is more than just a normal breakfast minus the bacon and eggs.
The breakfast at Cosy Vegan B&B was delicious. Traditionally, the first breakfast course is porridge with some toast, and this was hand-down one of the best porridge I’ve ever eaten – super creamy and the right amount of sweetness.
The second course of our breakfast at the vegan B&B was a big fry up: sausages, homemade haggis, tofu scramble with mushrooms and tomato, baked beans, hash browns, a tattie scone and some more toast. As I never tasted homemade vegan haggis before (most brands of shop-bought veggie haggis are actually vegan too), I was most excited about this!
The breakfast was huge – too big to finish actually – and gave us enough energy to go without more food most of the day. Of course, no food should go to waste, and so all left overs go to the Cosy Vegan B&B’s very own flock of rescue chickens and Sandy, the dog!
Breakfast can be served in your room, but we much preferred eating in the light conservatory at the side of the house from where we could see the chickens!
Apart from breakfast which is included in the room price, you can also stay for dinner at the Cosy Vegan B&B. The menu is flexible, but at the time of our stay we had the choice between “Mac&Cheese”, risotto, pizza, bean burger or haggis burger.
We decided to have dinner on our second night, after a long day out in Falkland. My partner ordered the mac&cheese, which was served with garlic bread, and I went for a pizza which was topped with garlic paste, porcini mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and olives. A huge side salad made it a perfectly balanced meal. Both the mac&cheese and the pizza were delicious – homemade food that could easily be served in a restaurant.
And for pudding, Fran had picked up some cakes from Mimi’s Bakery at the vegan festival in Glasgow!
While you’re here: A Day in Dunfermline
The Cosy Vegan B&B is a great home base if you want to explore more around the region of Fife. The most obvious choice for a day trip from the B&B would be Dunfermline, Scotland’s old capital, which is just a 10-minute bus ride away.
The first record of Dunfermline is from the 11th century, when the King of Scotland, Malcolm III, married his wife Saint Margaret here at a church in town, making it the de facto capital of Scotland. Margaret later established a new church which evolved into the Abbey which you can still see today. The graveyard outside the abbey became the place where Scotland’s kings and queens were buried, right up until King Robert the Bruce who was buried here in 1329.
Today, Dunfermline is home to about 50,000 people, making it the largest town in Fife. One day is a great amount to get an overview of the main sights in town and explore a bit of the local vegan cuisine.
The High Street
Start your walk from the bus station down the High Street. Along here you can see the town’s beautiful City Chambers, the Market Cross with a unicorn on its top, and several other picturesque buildings and narrow lanes (wynds) leading deeper into the historic core of the town.
Soon you will inevitably reach Dunfermline Abbey and the surrounding graveyard. From here you get great views south towards the Firth of Forth and the Forth bridges crossing over towards Edinburgh. The church is free to enter, but consider leaving a small donation which contributes towards the running costs of the building. Inside the church is a small exhibition explaining everything about the discovery of King Robert the Bruce’s grave in 1818 and the 3D-reconstruction of his tomb in 2014. At the centre of the church, you can see the brass monument that marks his grave to this day.
Pittencrieff Park is the western boundary of Dunfermline and was established on the land of Pittencrieff estate. It is cut through by a beautiful wild glen, which makes for a brilliant little walk away from the noise of the town. We escaped here after a nice meal at a Spanish restaurant, before exploring more of the town and finally ending the day with a pub crawl and more food.
Vegan restaurants in Dunfermline
While there are not actual fully vegan restaurants in Dunfermline, there are quite a few options to choose from.
Tapas Ducal | This Spanish tapas restaurant is a surprising little gem that is well worth making your way to Dunfermline for a day trip, even from further afield. The owner’s daughter is vegan, and so the choices on the tapas menu go beyond the already vegan spicy potatoes, bean stew or veggie paella. Choose from a variety of “meat” dishes, such as “beef” strips in a creamy coconut potato sauce, quorn “chicken” with spicy veggies, and veggie balls with more vegetables. Our favourite vegetable dish was without a doubt the garlic mushrooms!
Khushi’s | This typical Indian restaurant has lots of vegan-friendly options and your waiter will be happy to help you choose something from the menu. We went for a spinach potato curry (one of the best we’ve ever had) and a creamy veggie curry with loads of rice, chapatis and pakora. The restaurant is BYOB and has a deal with the bar across the road to sell bottles of wine at reduced prices.
Other vegan-friendly options which we haven’t tried include: Everest Inn (Nepalese cuisine), Ciao Italia and Carlucci Restaurant (Italian), the cafe at Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries, Grill 48 (burger), and Cafe Wynd (cakes).
After a few drinks and a late dinner, we simply took the bus back to Crossford and slipped into our comfy beds at the Cosy Vegan B&B. 3 scooshes of the lavender pillow spray later, I was already fast asleep, looking forward to awaking for another day in Fife!
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All photos by Kathi Kamleitner.
*Rates at The Cosy Vegan B&B start at £45 for double occupancy and £35 for single. Evening meals start at £5 for a main course.