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Things To Do In St Andrews
St. Andrews is a traditional yet gorgeous little town located on the east coast of Fife in Scotland. It is mostly known for being the ‘home of golf’, but St. Andrews’ eclectic reputation doesn’t just end there. The University of St. Andrews, which is the oldest university in Scotland and the third-oldest one in the world, is also located in this intellectually contemporary town. St. Andrews boasts a historically significant culture that can be experienced in its medieval streets and ancient buildings, along with cute cafes and local boutiques that offer the complete vacation package. Check out our guide on some of the top things to do when in St. Andrews.
Guided Walk of the St. Andrews Links Golf Courses
The world knows Scotland as the birthplace of golf, and for decades, St. Andrews has been one of the top tourist destinations in the country for its golfing heritage. Golf as a sport that we recognize today was invented here in the 15th-century and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, which is the oldest golf club in the world, was established here in the year 1750. While the city is packed with numerous golf courses, some of St. Andrews’ most famous courses are owned by the non-profit organisation St. Andrews Links; the oldest golf course in the world, the Old Course, is also managed by them.
An avid lover of the sport would aspire to visit this location and can do so with the help of guided tours available in the city that will take you around not just this one but all the top golf courses in St. Andrews. Visitors can indulge in a round of golf themselves, or simply enjoy a stroll along the cart paths around the famed courses even if playing it is not your cup of tea.
Tour the St. Andrews Aquarium
A fun day to spend with your family and kids cannot be complete without a visit to the St. Andrews Aquarium. The establishment boasts an impressive setting and is situated at a stunning location with views that are surely part of the draw for tourists here just as much as the animals are. Visitors to the aquarium can enjoy observing beasts that include insects, reptiles and countless species of fishes and other marine creatures like sharks, seals, crocodiles and crabs. Kids can participate in fun feeding programs and interact with animals like meerkats, penguins and seals. The aquarium also serves as a sanctuary for seals.
Tour of the St. Andrews University
The St. Andrews University was founded in the year 1411 and is the smallest and also the oldest university in Scotland. Apart from being a great seat of learning in the country, the university grounds make for a fun walkabout and are an impressive place to go on a tour of thanks to its fascinating old architecture. Excellent museums make up part of the university’s grounds, like the Bell Pettigrew Museum that has notable natural history collections, Gateway Galleries with its contemporary art exhibits, and the Museum of University of St. Andrews (MUSA) that showcases exhibits like rare books and manuscripts, 16th-century astronomical instruments and medieval silver maces.
Spend a Day at St Andrews West Sands Beach
West Sands is among St. Andrews’ most famous beaches. After being featured in the 1981 film Chariots of Fire, the beach was immortalized and became a favourite hangout among tourists in the town. The vast sandy expanses of the beach are easily accessible from the town centre and are a great spot to enjoy walks in the mornings and evenings, along with fellow locals who can often be seen walking their dogs here or basking in the light of the setting sun. Taking part in a beach barbecue with friends would also be a great idea.
Experience Local Culture at the Byre Theatre
The Byre Theatre was founded in the year 1933 and has been recently bought and renovated by St. Andrews University. The theatre boasts a full calendar of performances in the form of dance, music, comedy and many more productions that happen all year round. The participation in the theatre is from a versatile group of individuals, ranging from community theatre performances and student productions to professional touring companies.
Family Time in the Gardens
The St. Andrews Botanic Gardens are situated on an 18-acre site in the southern part of the town. The garden features lovely riverside setting and astounding 8000 species of local and exotic plants that are sure to mesmerize every nature lover. The botanic gardens were established in 1889 and have numerous zones that have been dedicated to particular species, apart from a butterfly house, a woodland area and several attractive waterfalls and ponds.
The Craigtoun Country Park is located around 6 km south of St. Andrews and has been built on grounds that were part of a 17th century manor. Families can enjoy picnics in the gardens, boating on a lake, and even hiking on the many trails in the park. Kid-friendly attractions here include an adventure play area, a bouncy castle, and even rides on a tractor and a narrow-gauge train.
Food Tour of St. Andrews
The eateries in St. Andrews take pride in serving their customers the very best of locally-sourced food. The Eat Walk Tour is a walking food tour offered in St. Andrews that explores five of the best restaurants and bars in town as you cover ground from the Old Course to the Cathedral. The tour lasts around 3-3.5 hours and is accompanied by a guide who will regale you with detailed information about different venues as you cross them. Alternatively, you can choose to undertake a self-guided tour of the town’s best eateries yourself. Visit St. Andrews’ top eating spots like Balgrove Larder, local dessert favourites like Jannettas Gelateria and the Fisher and Donaldson bakery, or Forgan’s where you can combine a nice meal with brilliant Gaelic music and dancing.
Follow the Footsteps of William and Kate
Among all other noteworthy attractions St. Andrews is known for, the fact that this is where Prince William and Kate Middleton’s love story began, only adds to the town’s charming persona. Tourists often end up visiting all the spots that were frequented by the Royal couple as part of their tour of St. Andrews. If you plan to do the same, start with the Fairmont St. Andrews Resort where William first noticed Kate Middleton while she was modelling in a charity fashion show. If you want to take a look at where they lived in their freshman year, visit St. Salvatore’s Hall in St. Andrews University followed by 13a Hope Street where they lived in their second year. Other spots that were the couple’s favourite hangout were West Sands Beach, the Northpoint Café and the Indian restaurant Jahangir.