If St. Andrews were a gem, it would be a diamond; filled with cute cafes, boutique shops, majestic castles, this sleepy seaside town on the east coast of Scotland is a must-see.
Are you planning a visit to St. Andrews? There are plenty of things to do in St Andrews whether you’re visiting for just one day or a week. Relax with a pot of tea and a scone in one of the many cafes that Wills would take Kate to, explore the ruins of St Andrews Castle and the cathedral, or play a round at one of the many world-renowned golf courses.
St Andrews is a short drive from the capital city, Edinburgh, but you’ll need more than one day to tick off all of these activities! St Andrews Tourist Hostel offers budget accommodation in the centre of town, and is unique being the only hostel in St. Andrews. Rooms start from only £11 so you can spend less and experience more Scotland!
Ancient St Andrews
1. West Port. Built in 1589, West Port is one of the last medieval city gates remaining in Scotland!
2. St Andrews Castle. This castle ruin has been by turns a stronghold, palace and a prison. Explore the infamous ‘bottle dungeon’ and the underground mine and countermine.
3. St Andrews Cathedral ruins. You can’t visit St. Andrews and miss the spectacular site that once bore the largest church in Scotland. The ruin is free to visit, but you can buy a ticket to climb St Rule’s Tower and visit the museum on site.
4. St Mary’s Chapel on the Rock. This chapel was built in the late 1300s on the site believed to be the original location of St Andrew’s relics. It was ruined after the Scottish Reformation, but the foundations are still visible.
5. Martyrs’ Monument. Visit the monument erected in 1842 in memory of the Protestant reformers who were executed in St Andrews some 300 years earlier during the Scottish Reformation.
6. Blackfriars Chapel. Now a ruin, the 16th century chapel was part of a monastery operated by Dominican friars. Visit when it’s lit up at night!
7. University of St. Andrews. This university is the third oldest in the English-speaking world and the oldest in Scotland. It is also where Prince William met Kate Middleton!
8. St Salvator’s Chapel. One of two collegiate chapels belonging to the University of St Andrews, it was founded in 1450, by Bishop James Kennedy. It was built in the late Gothic architectural style.
St. Andrews Castle
Things to do in St Andrews for Golf Fans
9. Walk The Old Course. Play a round or visit the birthplace of golf and the oldest course in the world!
10. The Himalayas Golf Course. This golf course is situated beside the Old Course and is suitable for all levels- even beginners!
11. Alfred Dunhill Links Championship 2018. The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is one of the world’s leading golf events. Keep an eye out for celebrities, who play alongside the professional golfers! Entrance to the championship is free on the first three days. The championship will take place from October 4th to 7th this year.
12. British Golf Museum. The award-winning British Golf Museum takes you on a tour through time of the development of the game. The roof-top cafe offers spectacular views over the nearby golf courses and beaches. A must-visit for any golfing fan!
Tea, Coffee & Whisky
13. Northpoint Cafe. Have a tea and a scone at the cafe known as the place ‘where Wills met Kate…for coffee.’
14. Kingsbarn Distillery and Visitor Centre. Once a semi-derelict farm steading, the Kingsbarn Distillery was carefully transformed into a whisky distillery! In 2018 they unveiled their first single malt Scotch whisky. Slàinte!
15. Eden Mill Distillery and Brewery. Book a tour of this craft distillery and brewery and sample some of the best best beer, gins and whiskies in Scotland! You’ll sample their craft range along with some of their unique brews in the Aristeuein range and Oak Wood series.
16. St Andrews Brewing Company. A local favourite, this craft brewery has a range of Fife-made ales, stouts, and IPAs.
Fife is home to cute and colourful architecture
17. Museum of the University of St Andrews (MUSA). This musuem has four galleries which features the 600-year history of the university. Upstairs, there are panoramic views of the West Sands.
18. St Andrews Preservation Trust. This 17th Century museum is located in a house on North Street. It features re-creations of old St Andrews shops and buildings, and has a lovely sheltered garden to enjoy.
19. The Scottish Fisheries Museum. This museum is situated in a historic building on the harbour of the beautiful fishing port in Anstruther. The museum tells the story of fishing in Scotland, and the people involved in the industry, from earliest times to the present.
Things to do in St Andrews for Adventure Seekers
20. Skydiving. For the ultimate thrill why not jump out of a plane with SkyDive St Andrews? They are located 40 minutes from St. Andrews, in Glenrothes, by Fife airport.
21. Surfing. East Sands is where all the local surfers hang out, so grab a board and ride some waves!
22. Swimming. Scotland isn’t known for its beach swimming, but if you’re feeling brave many spots near the town are safe spots for a paddle. There is also an indoor pool at the East Sands Leisure Centre, together with a steam room, spa bath, gym, squash court and cafe.
23. Running. Go on a running tour with St Andrews Running Tours. They offer a 5km scenic running tour of the town, with stops for information and photos.
24. Hiking. The Fife Coastal Path is a walk that is becoming very popular and is a great way to experience Fife’s beautiful beaches and villages. For other hikes in the area, check out the WalkHighlands website.
25. Water Sports. Blown Away, East Neuk Outdoors and Elie Watersports provide many adrenaline-inducing water sports including windsurfing, dinghy sailing, canoeing, pedal boating, and water-skiing.
26. Cycling. Hire a bike from Spokes Bike Shop and explore the coast and countryside! There is a large selection of cycling routes that make up the Kingdom of Fife Cycleways network. Check out their website for more information on the available routes!
27. Guided Walking Tours. There are many guided walking tours in St Andrews including tours by Medieval Murder Mystery Tours, Mystical St Andrews, Official Old Course Walking Tours, St Andrews Phototours, St Andrews Ghost Tours, St Andrews Witches Tours, Scot Free Tours and Witches and Martyrs Tours.
28. Horse Riding. Barbarafield Riding School have horse riding lessons and treks for all levels spanning over 300 miles of farmland.
St. Andrews Cathedral
Other things to do in St Andrews and Fife
29. Hill of Tarvit. One of Scotland’s finest Edwardian mansionhouses, Hill of Tarvit is home to a vast collection of antiques, furniture, Chinese porcelain and paintings by Sir Henry Raeburn, Allan Ramsay and eminent Dutch artists. The house is surrounded by 279 acres of gardens, woods, open heath and parkland. Within the grounds is the 9-hole Kingarrock Hickory Golf Course.
30. Spot the wildlife. Go birdwatching at the Cameron Reservoir or the Eden Estuary or seal spotting at the local beaches!
31. St. Andrews Aquarium. See seals, reef sharks, piranhas, seahorses, lionfish and even some land-based species including penguins, alligators, reptiles, spiders and meerkat.
32. Craigtoun Park. Pack a picnic and rediscover your inner child at Craigtoun Park, St Andrews most visited attraction, complete with a modern children’s play area, gardens, Fairy Glen, zip wire, trampolines and the famous miniature railway.
33. Kellie Castle. Once home to the Earls of Kellie, this castle dates from as early as the 14th century and has a garden with acres of woodland walks, a bird hide and organically grown fruits and vegetables.
34. St Andrews Botanic Garden. Stroll through this impressive 18-acre garden set in the heart of historic St Andrews.
35. St Andrews Highland Games. Held on the last Sunday in July, the St Andrews Highland Games features events including running, cycling, heavy weights, tug-of-war, solo piping, and highland dance.
36. Scotland’s Secret Bunker. Hidden beneath a Scottish farmhouse, a tunnel leads to secret accommodation which is the size of two football pitches one on top of another, 100 feet underground!
37. Fife Farmers’ Market. Buy a unique gift at the St Andrews Farmers’ Market. It takes place on the first Saturday of every month from 9am-1pm at the North Car Park on Argyle Street.
38. The Scottish Deer Centre. Their collection includes 13 species of Deer from around the world, Fife’s only Wolf pack, Otters and other rare Scottish species including the Wildcat!
39. The Byre Theatre. Known as the focal point for arts in Fife, the Byre Theatre offers many events, shows, concerts, and much more. Visit their website to see what’s on.
40. Jannettas Gelateria. St Andrews is also known as the Home of Gelato, thanks to Jannettas! The family run business has been selling ice-cream for over 100 years. Their hand-made gelato is world-renowned!
Explore St. Andrews university, where Prince William met future wife, Kate Middleton