Many travelers frequently choose places which are either capital or the largest city of a particular country. In Scotland, many people choose to visit Edinburgh, Glasgow or Aberdeen, there’s no denying that these cities are wonderful, but aren’t you a bit curious to see something different?
What about spending a day in some non-obvious place? I was wondering about this phenomenon and decided that I would like to present to you a guide on how to spend a great day in St Andrews.
For many people, the choice of this beautiful place may not be obvious, but no one will take away its charm and wonderful historical architecture that makes this town an incredible spot in Scotland.
By telling you about St Andrews, I owe you the introduction of this beautiful town thus, you need to know that St Andrews is located on the northeastern coast of Fife.
The name of this town comes from the name of one of the Apostles that is Saint Andrew. This town is located near to the North Sea and is full of magnificent views and a wonderful sandy beach.
St Andrews is famous for being home to Scotland’s oldest university and one of the oldest golf courses in the world. If this information has aroused your curiosity, I invite you to spend a day in St Andrews.
No matter if you arrived by a car early in the early morning or stayed overnight at a nearby hotel, I suggest you start your trip around St Andrews from a quick glimpse of the sea.
I arrived by car at a car park just beside the beach and the sight of the beautiful sea at sunrise inspired me and gave me a boost of positive energy. That is why I recommend you to begin your journey at the St Andrews car park beside the sea.
Old Course – Swilcan Bridge
Starting from the car park, just follow the main road and turn right along with it and the road will lead you to North Street then just turn left and through Granny Clark’s Wynd, you will reach the Old Course. At the Old Course, you should also see the wonderful little stone bridge called the Swilcan Bridge which enchants with its unique character. Some even call it iconic when it comes to golf sites.
British Golf Museum or St Andrews Aquarium
Visiting this Scotland’s oldest golf course is worth not only to enjoy its green grass and magnificent views but also learning more about golf at the British Golf Museum. This place will take you on a fantastic journey to the beginnings of this compelling sport that goes back to the 16th century. St Andrews is called a home of golf so this museum is undoubtedly a home of the golf’s history.
However, if visiting the golf museum is not your cup of tea, I recommend something completely different which is St Andrews Aquarium. When it comes to animals that you can meet visiting St Andrews Aquarium there are marmosets, octopus, leaf cutter ants, frogs, dwarf crocodiles, fish, sharks, rays, reptiles, meerkats, penguins, arachnids, seals and many others.
If you travel with children, choosing an aquarium will delight them, but the golf museum is equally interesting so it’s totally up to you whether you visit both places or just focus on the one that interests you more. I highly recommend both places.
Another place on the list of objects worth seeing is the Martyrs’ Monument, which dates back to 1842 and was designed by William Nixon. This obelisk is over ten metres high and stands out from the rest of the town’ landscape. The Martyrs’ Monument was created to honour the memory of Protestant reformers who were executed in St Andrews before and during the Scottish Reformation.
It is a remarkable monument created to ensure that the memory of people who dedicated their lives for their religion beliefs never died. A wonderful piece of Scottish history combined with a fantastic view of the coastline.
St Salvator’s College Quadrangle
St Salvator’s College was a part of the University of St Andrews which was founded in 1450 and is considered the oldest university in Scotland. The entrance to St. Salvator’s Quadrangle features cobblestone initials “PH”, which refer to turbulent events dating back to the 16th century.
It was then when 24-year-old Patrick Hamilton was burned at the stake for his Protestant beliefs. Legend says that during the time of the burning he cursed all those who will stop in this spot, so all people and especially students try to avoid these initials at all possible costs. It’s better to avoid bad luck.
After spending a few hours on intensive sightseeing you will probably be starving so I invite you for lunch.
Where to eat lunch in St Andrews
St Andrews delights with the number of unusual and charming places serving delicious meals so it wasn’t easy for me to choose the best ones, but I made my decision based not only on the food but also on the atmosphere of these places so I present to you my list of places where you can eat and let your leg rest for a while.
1. The Grange Inn Restaurant
This restaurant is located in a 17th-century building, the atmosphere of this place will take you on a journey into the past and the food will surely delight you with its modern flavours.
2. The Criterion
If you want to feel the atmosphere of a real pub and eat fish and chips or delicious steak this place is made for you. In addition, the charming building provides the magic of Scottish experiences.
3. St Andrews Waffle Company or Jannettas Gelateria
However, if you are not really hungry to eat a big meal but something smaller and drink delicious coffee or tea, I invite you to these two places. In one place you can eat fantastic waffles in the other – delicious ice cream. What do you fancy?
Once you have rested and eaten, I invite you to continue our journey. This time we are going to see St Salvador’s Hall.
St Salvator’s Hall
If dormitories doesn’t sound like the best place to visit, it’s probably because you’ve never seen St Salvator’s Hall. The building was built in 1930 and is located right next to United College Quadrangle.
Despite its location, this place is extremely peaceful, quiet and charming. The building impresses not only from the outside but also from the inside. You can admire the impressive dining room made of oak panels and a beautiful series of stained-glass windows in memory of the founders and benefactors of the university.
Each room delights with its own atmosphere. It is a traditional but exceptional Hall of Residence for contemporary students.
St Andrews Castle
Unfortunately, there are only ruins left after St Andrew’s Castle, but what ruins they are! The castle is surrounded by the sea on three sides and the moat on the fourth side. St Andrew’s Castle was founded in 1200 and over the next centuries it was successfully expanded.
This place was owned by bishops and archbishops of St Andrews and its location is breathtaking. I am not surprised that wealthy people chose this place to build a castle. However, this castle is not only distinguished by its spectacular views.
There is also one of the most interesting underground mines and a bottle dungeon which is one of the most infamous castle prisons in the United Kingdom.
St Andrews Cathedral and St Rules Tower
Once you have visited St Andrews Castle it is absolutely necessary to see St Andrews Cathedral and St Rules Tower. St. Andrews Cathedral is also ruined but it is not difficult to notice that it was once the largest church in medieval Scotland and probably also the most magnificent one.
The building was built in 1158 and still impresses with its size. St Rules Tower is located next to the ruins of St Andrews Cathedral and from its top there is an unforgettable view of the ruins as well as the panorama of St Andrews. These are completely incredible places!
St Mary’s Quadrangle
It is remarkable that St Andrews is full of beautiful historical places. From St Salvator’s College Quadrangle through St Salvador’s Hall to St Mary’s Quadrangle, each of these places charms with its ancient atmosphere and unusual beauty.
St Mary’s Quadrangle was founded in the 16th century and still impresses with its stunning chambers and garden where it is said that Mary the Queen of Scots planted a hawthorn bush. Surprisingly, this bush still bears fruit in autumn.
Loudon’s Close is an extraordinary place. It is a beautiful narrow alley that is famous for being one of the best preserved old streets in St Andrews. It’s magnificently to walk through it in the sunset.
In a way, the passage through this street can wonderfully wrap up this trip spend in the amazing St Andrews.
After a long day of walking, I recommend going back to the beach where the whole journey began. If you came by car you will have close proximity to the parking place and if you would like to spend some more time in this magical place.
There is nothing better than relaxing on the beach. You can also take some snacks or takeaways and eat on the beach, admiring the wonderful sea that never sleeps. That’s a treat!