Hi everyone! I wanted to take some time to write a bit about St. Andrews. During my work trip to Scotland, I was able to visit this small town (about 30 miles Northeast of Edinburgh) for the day.
St. Andrew’s is probably most famous for its golf course. However, even if you’re not a fan of golf, there are a few other charming qualities about this place that make it worth a visit. Check out our top 5 reasons to make your way to St. Andrews!
1. Golf Course
Since I’ve already mentioned it, I thought I might as well start here. St. Andrews is known worldwide as the home of golf. There are a few reasons for this. Since 1754 the Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews exercised legislative authority over the game (up until 2004). Secondly, St. Andrews links is arguably one of the most beautiful courses in the world (as well as one of the most difficult to get a tee time). If you’re looking to golf at St. Andrews – don’t hold your breathe. It is actually a lottery system that you have to put in an application for in advance. Once a year (on 10/31) the tee times are distributed and those who applied find out if they will be able to play this famous course. For more information on how this process works – check out this helpful article here.
St. Andrews is also home to the British Golf Museum. The Golf Museum costs 8.50 pounds to visit. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about the history of this beloved sport. Tickets cannot be bought in advance, only at the door. Currently, their website is offering a 2 for 1 entrance voucher. (You can print the voucher here. ) For hours of operation, click here.
2. St. Andrews University
St. Andrews University is the third oldest (following Oxford & Cambridge) in the UK. It was founded in 1413 by Augustinians. In more recent times, Prince William & Catherine – Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, met at University and graduated together in 2005. The campus itself is beautiful, and worth a stroll through while making your way to the main street. (There is also a small chapel you can visit for free on campus as well).
Walking distance from the University, there is a quaint downtown area of St. Andrews. Here you can find restaurants pubs and golf shops. This is the perfect area for a nice fish & chips lunch.
4. St. Andrews Cathedral
At the end of the main road, you can find St. Andrew’s Cathedral. Similar to Melrose Abbey, this Cathedral is now in ruins. The church was originally built in 1458 and is said to have been the biggest ever built in Scotland (even to this day). Once the head of the Catholic church in Scotland, it was eventually abandoned in the 16th century when Catholic mass was outlawed during the Scottish reformation. Today you can only visit what remains (structural ruins). It is haunting, yet beautiful.
It costs 6 pounds to visit the Cathedral. Although you can pre-purchase your tickets online, it’s not necessary. You can also buy them when you arrive day of.
5. St. Andrews Castle & Coastline
Lastly, make sure you follow the coast (back towards the golf course) in order to find St. Andrews castle. The views along the road of the coast are incredible and allow you to soak in the salty air of the North Sea. Similarly to the cathedral, this castle fell into despair during the Scottish reformation. It was originally the home of the bishop of St. Andrew, but later was used as a fortress and then even as a prison! It costs 9 pounds to enter, but if you are planning to visit both the Cathedral and the castle, you can bundle your ticket and pay 12 euros instead. For more information on visiting, click here.
Although it didn’t make the top 5 for me – St. Andrews is also home to an aquarium. It’s worth an honorable mention if you have a bit more time in this area or are traveling with kids.
Overall, the magnificent coastline and views from the Cathedral, castle and golf course made this trip worthwhile to me. It was great getting away from the bustling city of Edinburgh for a bit, in order to enjoy a quieter side of Scotland.
Stay tuned for our upcoming Edinburgh City Guide!