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St Andrews Tourism And Travel Guide
4.2° C / 39.5° F
May to September
2 to 3 Days
Dundee Airport (24 kms)
Leuchars Railway Station (7 kms)
St. Andrews is a small town on the east coast of Fife in Scotland, which is mostly known worldwide as the ‘home of golf’. The modern-day golf is said to have been invented here and in the year 1754, the famous Royal and Ancient Golf Club was established here. St. Andrews University is the oldest seat of learning in the country; this is also where the UK’s favourite royal couple, Prince William and Kate Middleton met while completing their education.
While the town is overrun by golf enthusiasts every summer and students of the university make up one-third of St. Andrews’ population during term season, there is so much more to this versatile region that will appeal to you as you walk through its ancient streets among locals, students and golf tourists alike. Stunning coastlines and historic buildings add to the tourism culture of the town and contribute immensely to its economy. Check out our travel guide to know more about planning a trip to St. Andrews.
How to Reach
The nearest airport from St. Andrews is Dundee Airport, which is around 24 km away. It doesn’t operate international flights; however, travellers from London can fly into Dundee and then catch a direct bus or taxi to St. Andrews. Travellers from overseas can choose Edinburgh Airport or Glasgow International Airport to fly into the country. Buses and taxis are available from both airports, which allow travellers to reach St. Andrews in just under two hours.
The closest railway station from St. Andrews is the Leuchars Railway Station located in the nearby town of Leuchars. It is situated on the East Coast mainline and has links to London, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Leuchars is only ten minutes away and there are buses and taxis available for St. Andrews at the railway station.
There are regular buses available to St. Andrews from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen etc., the journey usually takes around 2 hours. If bringing a car, take the route M90 followed by A91 to reach St. Andrews.
Weather & Best Time to Visit
Summer (June – August):
Summers are the busiest time of the year and with temperatures in the range of 17-18⁰C, also the warmest. Tourists visit in large numbers during this season to make the most of the amazing weather and indulge in some golf. The exceptional number of daylight hours, which means sunsets after 10 pm, also allows for more golfing opportunities and tee times.
Spring (April – May) & Autumn (September – October):
Spring and autumn are shoulder seasons that feature mild weather with temperatures in the range of 7⁰C to 14⁰C. Chances of rain are also minimal during spring. The overall weather remains enjoyable enough during both seasons to enjoy all local attractions, and the vibrant colours of the foliage during the changing seasons make the entire region a delight to explore. It is also a great time to visit for those who prefer to avoid large crowds of tourists.
Winter (November – March):
Winters get very cold in St. Andrews, with average maximum temperatures rarely ever rising above 5⁰C. A lot of hotels shut down for the winter months; however, a few that do remain open offer great deals to travellers who would like to enjoy the winter scene and relax in front of roaring log fires. Very few golf courses remain open in winters too and there are fewer tee times available due to considerably shorter daylight hours.
Things to Do
Guided Walk of St. Andrews Links Golf Courses:
A tour of St. Andrews is incomplete without a visit to its many impressive golf courses. Most of the town’s golf courses are managed by the non-profit organisation St. Andrews Links, including the Old Course, which is the oldest golf course in the world. Fans of the sport can book tee times for themselves, or you could simply enjoy a stroll along the cart paths around the lovely courses.
Follow the Footsteps of William and Kate:
The Fairmont St. Andrews Resort is where Prince William first noticed Kate Middleton during a charity fashion show. Their love story began in this town and all the spots they frequented during their courtship have become tourist hotspots today. Visitors can take a tour of the places they lived during their university years, spend time at their favourite hangout like the West Sands Beach and eat at their favourite restaurants like the Northpoint Café and Jahangir.
Visit the St. Andrews Aquarium:
St. Andrews Aquarium boasts an impressive setting in a stunning location with views that draw tourists almost just as much as the creatures here. Insects, reptiles, countless species of fishes and other marine beasts like sharks, crocodiles and seals are what’s on offer here at the aquarium. Kids can also take part in interactive programs with the animals that include a feeding program with meerkats, penguins and seals.
Where to Shop
St. Andrews may not be Scotland’s shopping hub, but there are a number of vintage shops and boutiques here to satisfy your inner shopaholic. The Golf Shop of St. Andrews is the best place to pick up golfing gear if you’re in town to indulge in the sport or would simply like to add to your collection. For some thrift shopping, head to Oxfam; Rummage is a second-hand store perfect for accidental brilliant finds, and visit Sam Brown for cool outfits.
Where to Eat
St. Andrews maintains its heritage and small-town appeal through its many cafes and pubs, which serve delicious local food and drinks. Tailend Restaurant is one of the top choices in British pub food in the town, where tourist favourites like fish and chips and other delectable dished made from locally sourced seafood can be enjoyed to your heart’s content. Northpoint Café is also known for typically British fare but in recent times has grown in popularity when it became known that the café was the favourite hangout spot for Prince William and Kate Middleton during their courtship period.
Head to Balgrove Larder, a café-cum-farm-shop where you can indulge in great coffee, hearty breakfasts and lunch options made from produce that is grown on-site. Maisha, which was once voted one of the top five curry restaurants in Scotland, specializes in authentic Indian cuisine and is the best place to head if you’re homesick for Indian food. The Seafood Restaurante isn’t just the best seafood eatery town but also one of the most picturesque places to eat. Try the lobster, the Shetland Isle mussels and the scallops here.