SOMETIMES you just have to stand and marvel.

On the beach at Kinghorn this summer was one of those occasions.

With my kids playing in the tide, I had a rare moment to contemplate.

I looked at the sky, a gorgeous hue with wispy clouds breaking up the blue, I gazed across at the ancient city of Edinburgh and the surrounding hills and then I looked downriver to the three structures spanning the water.

The Northern Echo:

The view from our room in the Bay Hotel

Natural beauty and manmade splendour side by side.

It was enough to take the breath away.

That we were staying just a few hundred yards away and could see this particular view on a daily basis was all the more pleasing.

Pettycur Bay Holiday Park, in Fife, Scotland, could not be better located in terms of vistas.

Whether your stay is at the Bay Hotel or in one of the static holiday homes, then you are virtually guaranteed to open the curtains of a morning to a beautiful sight.

Both are situated on an escarpment separated from the sweeping beach by the A921 and the Fife Circle Line railway.

Ideal for families or people who just want to get away from the pressures of modern day life, they offer peace and tranquility, yet are just a relatively short drive away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

What you need after a long drive up the A1, evading speed cameras, solving arguments and listening to the interminable monotony of a certain commercial radio station, is a welcoming sight and Pettycur Bay does not disappoint.

There's nothing worse than trekking several hundred miles for a relaxing break only for your heart to sink as the location hoves into view.

Driving alongside the Firth of Forth, having crossed the mighty Queensferry Crossing, we were counting down the miles on the sat nav as we passed through rolling countryside.The fields ended as we reached the Royal burgh of Burntisland, clean, tidy and typically Scottish.

Just a couple of miles further along the road was our destination. The first thing you see are the caravans, perched seemingly precariously on the hill top, overlooking the shining water. Arranged in tiers, they appeared far removed from those on the 1970s sites I visited as a child.

Below them and pointing directly at Edinburgh across the water is the Bay Hotel - a modern, glass fronted building that had stood up well to the elements, showing none of the wear and tear you might expect of somewhere so exposed.

The Northern Echo:

Ethan Westcott on the beach opposite the Pettycur Bay Holiday Park, in Fife, Scotland

We arrived with the sun beating down and the welcome at the reception was equally as warm. Arriving a little later than expected and unannounced, our key was produced promptly and we were directed clearly and concisely to our caravan.

I have stayed on sites with a little more space between plots, but there was still enough room to ensure a little privacy. Whether or not the caravan itself was new or not, I don't know but it certainly looked it. Spacious with thoughtfully designed decor, it was not what you might describe as 'just somewhere for sleeping'.

After our journey, we needed something to eat, but we decided to eschew the restaurant for now in favour of what was on offer locally. In truth, we would have been better staying where we were because a drive to Kirkaldy a few miles down the road drew a blank with little or anything to tempt our tastebuds.

We ended up retracing our steps and heading back to Burntisland where we found what turned out to be a fine fish and chip shop, eating our supper on the green. Just beware of the gulls which are persistent to the point of intimidation.

The following morning, with the weather still set fare, we drove the 40 minutes or so to Edinburgh. A city for those who enjoy walking, whether it's history, culture or food - or for us, all three.

The Northern Echo:

Harvey and Ethan Westcott at Edinburgh Zoo

Other days were spent at Edinburgh Zoo – another place where you will need your walking shoes – Deep Sea World, Scotland's National Aquarium in North Queensferry – expensive, but still worth a visit and, when the weather took a turn for the worse, bowling at Fife Leisure Park. All of these were in addition to exploring the countryside, something just as satisfying and, perhaps more importantly, free.

Of a morning we took advantage of facilities on offer at our base, the Bay Hotel's swimming pool a good way of keeping the kids entertained while myself or my wife got ready for the day ahead.

Additional if you are staying at the holiday park, a dip and a sauna are complimentary for residents of the hotel.

If it looked appealing from the outside, our opinion was further enhanced on being shown to our room.

On two levels, a bedroom above overlooking the main room below, it led to an outburst of collective 'wows' from all us. Sliding glass doors opened out onto a veranda with table and chairs overlooking the beach. If we didn't think our stay could get any better it just had.

The Northern Echo:

Ethan Westcott having some fun at dinner in the Bay Hotel

On our final evening, we were treated to a delicious three-course meal in the hotel restaurant. Sitting and watching the sun sink slowly over the horizon might have been the highlight of the night.

But no, the highlight came after the evening's entertainment when the staff, who had been brilliant throughout our stay, allowed my 12-year-old son to play the piano in the lounge bar to those still gathered.

Listening to him tinkle the ivories in such lovely surroundings and with such pleasant company was a fitting way in which to end our stay.

The Northern Echo:

One of the desserts from the Bay Hotel menu


Bay Hotel

From £159 to £189 per night for an executive suite – rates can vary, search online for best prices or call hotel on 01592 892 222

Rate includes full Scottish breakfast and complimentary access to the swimming pool, including sauna and steam room.

Pettycur Bay Hire Rates 2018/19

Luxury Caravan Holiday Homes

Weeks (Friday-Friday), weekends (Friday-Monday), part-weeks (Monday-Friday)

The park offers off-peak, weekend and mini breaks with reductions for senior citizens in the spring and autumn. Executive and deluxe caravans, mostly brand new, can accommodate up to six people. Customers are advised to book online for best rates.

As an example, a seven-night Friday to Friday break in September costs from £375 to £504 depending on rating of caravan.

Weekends, Friday to Monday from £198 to £357.

Four nights, Monday to Friday, from £265 to £383.