Good times, discover The Ship Inn, the number 1 place to stay in Elie

the ship inn elie beach

All shipshape at the beachfront Ship Inn, Elie

You will find the Ship Inn in Elie, a quiet coastal village in the East Neuk of Fife. With its glorious beach, a stone’s throw away from the hotel, bar and beer garden, The Ship Inn is ideally situated for a seaside break.


Elie is on the The Fife Coastal Path which runs through the village and it’s a perfect base to tour the nearby coastal villages of St Monan’s, Pittenweem, Anstruther and Crail. St Andrews is also only another 13 miles up the road. The Ship Inn looks out over the bay towards the neighbouring village of Earlsferry.

You’ll find it on a road named ‘The Toft’, which is an old name for a homestead, especially one in an exposed area. If you carry on walking down The Toft, it juts out into the sea with a beach on either side and you will certainly feel exposed on a wet and windy day – so all the more reason to see what’s on offer inside…

the ship inn elie outside

the ship inn elie view from beer gardenView from the Beer Garden at The Ship Inn, Elie.

the ship inn elie sign


In the bar area you’ll find a welcoming and cosy bar. It was a very windy and wet day when we arrived, so we were grateful to warm up beside a real open fire. There are maritime and nautical touches throughout, but not too much that it looks kitsch. There is a balance of traditional and modern decor letting the history of the building shine. Did we mention the log fire (oh yes, we did!)?

the ship inn elie bar

the ship inn elie bar 2

New England style decor with a nod to the sea outside with seaside colours. There are six rooms each with king-sized beds, Egyptian cotton bed linen, Nespresso coffee machine, flat-screen TV and WiFi. The Admiral room is the showcase with big windows for stunning beach views and roll top bath.

We stayed in one of the Captain rooms which had Elie bay facing views and an ensuite with shower but no bath. There are dog friendly rooms named Seadog which are on the ground floor for easy doggo access.

the ship inn elie bedroom

the ship inn elie bedroom window

the ship inn elie bathroom

Food and Drink

You can eat downstairs in the bar, in the smaller side restaurant or upstairs in the main restaurant, where we dined.

the ship inn elie downstairs restaurant
The downstairs restaurant
the ship inn elie restaurant tables
The larger restaurant upstairs
the ship inn elie aa rosette
The restaurant has held an AA rosette for a number of years

Menu at The Ship Inn

the ship inn elie restaurant menu

The menu is geared towards gastropub grub with an emphasis on Scottish seafood. On the menu, you will find dishes such as Cullen skink, steak, Isle of Mull mac & cheese, and fish & chips etc.

We ordered Arbroath smokie pate to start.

the ship inn elie starter pate

Alongside ham hock and smoked Brie arancini.

the ship inn elie starter arancini

For mains, a whole roasted sea bass with a Pontchartrain sauce – this is a spicy, creamy creole sauce from Louisiana named after the lake that New Orleans sits on.

the ship inn elie main course sea bass

And steak and Elie ale pie with bone marrow giving off Desperate Dan cow pie vibes!

the ship inn elie main course steak pie

Desserts were apple, brown butter and Frangelico crumble served with berry compôte and vanilla ice cream; and a tiramisu with Kahlua mascarpone and whipped white chocolate.

the ship inn elie dessert crumble

the ship inn elie tiramisu

As you can see, hearty and flavoursome food. Ideal after a day wandering around the coast. Thankfully we didn’t have far to go for our after-dinner peppermint tea!


Breakfast is served in the upstairs restaurant

the ship inn elie restaurant breakfast time

the ship inn elie breakfast menu

At breakfast you can start with fruit, yoghurt and cereals and then move onto a hot breakfast. Options include full Scottish breakfast, smoked haddock omelette, poached eggs and avocado.

the ship inn elie breakfast

the ship inn elie breakfast omelette

Other details

There is a special menu available for doggy guests, aptly named the ‘Bone Appetit Menu’ which is available in the bar, as well as in the beer garden.

the ship inn elie dog menu

The Ship Inn operate a courtesy bus which collects and drops off in a 5-mile radius of Elie on Thursday, Friday & Saturday evenings.

The East Neuk coast with the Fife Coastal Path is on your doorstep here.

The Crusoe Hotel is operated by Graham and Rachel Bucknall who also own The Crusoe and The Bridge Inn.

Overall verdict

Sea views and good food, were just what was needed. Friendly staff and a warm welcome make this a great place for a comforting lunch, a pub visit or as a base to discover the East Neuk.

There are lots of walks for when the weather is good, or be like us and walk down to the harbour and get soaked! The Ship Inn is right on the beach so has all of the bonus points of this.

Our room was spacious and comfortable at the same time. Toiletries were from Laura Thomas Soap Co who are based in North Berwick. (Special shout out for her Citrus & Herb lotion, gorgeous). It was a windy day and night in Elie, however we were cosy in our room, and even cosier under the plush duvet.

Dining in the upstairs restaurant was atmospheric, looking out to the dark bay. This will be some view in the summertime, so book that window table now for the perfect place to wave watch. The food was hearty and gastropub in nature, to a high standard.

We enjoyed our stay at The Ship Inn and would happily return for a pint, a meal, a stay or just a coffee beside the fire.

We were invited to review on a complimentary basis and reviewed as if visiting independently or Frankie will tell us off.

Frankie sez

Getting there by public transport

The 95 bus runs between Leven and St Andrews hourly, while X60 buses from Edinburgh to St Andrews are roughly hourly.

Get up to date travel information here.

Parking at The Ship Inn

There is free on street parking available.

Book a room or a table at The Ship Inn

Click here to visit The Ship Inn Website.

Where is The Ship Inn?

The Toft, Elie and Earlsferry, KY9 1DT




I am Emma and with my husband Mark write Foodie Explorers, which is a food and travel website.

I am a member of the Guild of Food Writers and British Guild of Travel Writers.

We have a wide range of judging experience covering products, hotels and have judged, for example, for Great Taste Awards and Scottish Baker of the Year.

Along the way Mark gained WSET Level 2 in Wine and I have WSET Level 2 in Spirits as well as picking up an award with The Scotsman Food and Drink Awards.    

Usually I can be found sleeping beside a cat.

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