Kinghorn and Pettycur Bay

This pleasant, small sandy beach is  located on the west side of Kinghorn and is a haven of peace and tranquillity. The beach is excellent for walks with beautiful scenery, located between the seaside towns of Kinghorn and Burntisland. Beach Safety Staff patrol the beach during the peak summer season.


Kinghorn is well known as the place where King Alexander III died. He fell from his horse, and was found dead on Pettycur Bay in 1286. This led to the succession crisis and subsequently the Wars of Independence, ending in the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314

If you look above the beach on the cliffs, you can see railings that mark the boundaries of the cemetery. In the rock below, you can see an iron ring. This is known as the Witches Ring. People accused of witchcraft from the surrounding areas were burned on the hill above, after being chained to the Witches Ring, until 1644.

The beach and area surrounding Pettycur played a vital role during WWII. It was key to the defence of the Forth. Still on the pier there are the remains of a searchlight post and Odin Villa was built on another former searchlight post. Above the bay on the cliffs, there was a camp housing up to 800, mainly Polish, soldiers. Pettycur House was also used for billeting soldiers and up Pettycur Road there is evidence of gun emplacement

Natural Space

The beach has some small sand dunes backing it, which distances the beach from the road and habitants surrounding the beach. Pettycur Bay is long and backed by Sandhills Caravan Park. The area is friendly and busy with locals and tourists visiting the historical village.


From the beach you have a beautiful view of the Firth of Forth and land beyond it. If the tide is far out you can walk along to Burntisland Beach. Pettycur Bay is only 4miles (6km) to Kirkcaldy and it is close to the Forth Bridge for access south.

Getting There

Access to Kinghorn is via the A921 by car/bus and 5 minutes walk from the train station.

Water quality information

This beach is a designated bathing water site. Further information about water quality at this site can be found on the SEPA website. Please observe local signage and only swim where it is safe to do so.

Contact details

Fife Coast and Countryside Trust

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