Leven is a town on the coast of Fife in central Scotland, with a population in 2016 of 9040. It was industrial during the 19th and 20th century, merging into the neighbouring towns of Methil and Buckhaven to create the conurbation of Levenmouth; it's struggled to re-invent itself since the coal mines closed. Leven is far from scenic but has a good beach, and to its northeast the industrial strip ends, with golf links and better scenery towards the East Neuk of Fife.
Stagecoach Bus X4 runs hourly from Glenrothes via Markinch and Windygates, taking 30 min to Leven. Bus 43 / 44 also runs frequently and takes 40 min.
From Glasgow and Cumbernauld take X24 (heading for St Andrews) and change at Glenrothes.
1 Leven bus station is just off High St.
Trains to Leven were axed in 1969, but the line remained in use for freight until 2015 and the route is intact. It's now planned to re-open it, with work starting in 2022 and Fife Loop Trains calling from 2024.
Leven is a small town that you can walk around. The bus gets you to Lundin Links and Largo. For Falkand Palace change buses in Glenrothes.
Taxis wait by the bus station. Operators include Taxi Centre Fife +44 1333 300300, Page's Taxis +44 1333 425000, Bob's +44 1333 304050 and Magnum +44 1333 422333.
- 1 Fife Heritage Railway, Kirkland Sidings, Leven KY8 4RB. Sa 11:00-17:00. Collection of standard-gauge locomotives (occasionally in steam) and rolling stock that served the Fife coalfields in the 20th century. Every heritage railway society dreams of extending its track, but this lot should be more careful what they wish for - their line is be reclaimed for the Fife Loop trains.
- 2 Letham Glen is a small council-run park and gardens. You enter though an arch that's somewhere between triumphal and funereal.
- 3 Silverburn Park is in the middle of the links, with parkland, a walled garden, disused flax mill and campsite.
- 4 Lundin Standing Stones are three unsculpted stones 4-5 metres tall that were once part of a large circle. They're hidden away on the links behind Leven Rd, resembling a Pictish golf hazard.
- 5 Robinson Crusoe statue stands on the promenade at Lower Largo. This village was the birthplace of Alexander Selkirk (1676–1721), who was marooned for over four years on a Pacific island and inspired the novel by Daniel Defoe. He was put ashore there at his own request, correctly insisting that his ship was unseaworthy.
- Upper Largo half a mile inland has a parish church dating from 1623 and the shell of 18th century Largo House.
- 6 Largo Law rises above Upper Largo. It's a steep but simple path to the top at 290 m / 950 ft, approach from the south through Chesterstone Farm.
- 7 Pitcruvie Castle now adjoins modern farm buildings. It's the ruin of a late 15th century tower house.
- 8 Aithernie Castle is not worth seeking out, only a gnarly finger of masonry remains of this 17th century turret.
- 9 Macduff's Castle is on the coast at East Wemyss, midway between Leven and Kirkcaldy. It was founded by the 11th century Macduff (oppressed by Macbeth in the play) but the present building is a 14th century tower house, once home to the Wemyss family. It's utterly tumbledown and fenced off as unsafe.
- Falkland Palace - see Glenrothes for this ruined but charming palace on the edge of the Lomond Hills.
- Levenmouth Leisure Centre is on the promenade next to the bus station. It has a pool, gym and fitness classes.
- Cinema: The Kino is on Commercial Rd in town centre. They have a similar cinema in Glenrothes.
- Golf: two clubs share Lundin Links on the coast just east of town, Leven Thistle and Leven Golfing Society.
- Scoonie GC[dead link] play on the North Links adjacent, which are more park-like.
- Lundin GC play from the eastern far end of the links, and Lundin Ladies GC[dead link] play on a 9-hole course 200 yards north of that.
- Watch football: East Fife FC were relegated in 2022 so they now play soccer in Scottish League Two, the games' fourth tier. Their home ground is Bayview Stadium, capacity 2000, in Methil half a mile south of Leven across the river.
- Highland Games are held in June at Markinch (John Dixon Park, next is on Sun 5 June 2022) and in July at Thornton (Memorial Park, next is probably on Sat 2 July 2022).
- Sainsbury's by the bus station is the main store, open daily 08:00-22:00 and with an ATM.
- Other ATMs are at 60 High St and at Beachcomber on the promenade, both 24 hours.
- Agenda, Scoonie Rd, Leven KY8 4SE (By jcn with A915), ☏ . M-Th 10:00-00:00, F Sa 10:00-01:00, Su 12:00-00:00. Lively informal restaurant with good selection.
- Takeaways in town include Bodrum[dead link], Taste of China, Imries Fish Bar and New Indian Express.
- Upper Largo Hotel, 4 Main St, Upper Largo KY8 6EJ (By jcn of A915 and A917), ☏ . Food served daily in their golf-themed restaurant in an old coaching inn. In 2021 it's simply a restaurant and doesn't offer rooms.
- McPhails, North St, Leven KY8 4LY. Su-Th 10:00-00:00, F Sa 10:00-01:00. Decent inexpensive drinks.
- Caledonian Hotel, 81 High St, Leven KY8 4NG, ☏ . M-F 07:00-23:00, Sa Su 08:00-23:00. A Greene King pub with food. They have rooms, but guests don't much rate them.
- Others in Leven are The Windsor, Molly's, The Crown, and Station Bar.
- Cameronbridge Distillery 3 miles west of Leven produces grain spirits for blending into the likes of Haig whisky, Smirnoff vodka and Tanqueray gin. It's owned by Diageo, no tours.
- Silverburn campsite is within Silverburn Park and open all year. They also have a few campervan pitches but no facilities for tourers.
- Woodland Gardens is a campsite one mile north of Lower Largo, open Apr-Sept. Dogs welcome.
- Dunclutha Guest House, 16 Victoria Rd, Leven KY8 4EX, ☏ . Simple comfy B&B in a Victorian Rectory. B&B double £80.
- Lomond Guest House is a pleasant B&B at 6 Church Rd by the beach.
- Forth Bay Guest House on the promenade also gets good reviews.
- Caledonian Hotel at 81 King St has rooms but is more a place for eating and drinking.
- 1 Old Manor Hotel, 55 Leven Road, Lundin Links KY8 6AJ, ☏ . Clean welcoming hotel overlooking Lundin Links golf courses. B&B double £100.
As of Oct 2021, Leven has 4G from all UK carriers, but the signal from O2 is patchy. 5G has not reached this area.
- The East Neuk has a line of picturesque fishing villages along the coast: Elie, Pittenweem, Anstruther and Crail.
- Kirkcaldy is built-up but has a good beach.
- St Andrews is an attractive medieval university town.
- Kinross is where you find Loch Leven and its castle, at the head of the river that flows out at Leven.
- Robinson Crusoe Island is the largest of the Juan Fernández Islands in the Pacific 670 km west of Chile. It's difficult to get there, and sometimes even harder to get away.