The Backpacker’s Guide to Planning a Trip to St Andrews, Scotland


When people think of St. Andrews, the jewel in the Kingdom of Fife, they don’t automatically think ”backpacker.”

This quaint Scottish town is known as being the ‘home of golf’ as well as home of the university that has educated Will’s and Kate and enlightened thinkers such as John Knox. So it doesn’t sound much like a backpackers destination, right?


A trip to St. Andrews is entirely affordable on a backpackers budget. There are many free and cheap attractions, and with St. Andrews Tourist Hostel located in the heart of the town- you can spend a weekend in St. Andrews for as little as £11 per person!

St Andrews is also a great place to celebrate St Andrews Day. The town puts on a variety of activities each year to celebrate Scotland’s patron saint.

planning a trip to st andrews guide

How to get to St Andrews

By car

If you drive to St Andrews from Edinburgh, you have the choice to drive the more direct in-land route, or the more scenic Fife Coastal Route.

The in-land route is quicker, taking around 90 minutes, and the Fife Coastal Route takes at least 2 hours, not including stops. There is plenty to observe along the coastal route, including castle ruins and a lighthouse!

By train

The closest train station to St Andrews is Leuchars Rail Station, which is on the East Coast main line linking London, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Leuchars is located 10 minutes from St. Andrews, so you will need to catch a taxi or the bus into the town. Public bus services to St Andrews meet all train arrivals and there are usually taxis waiting just outside the railway station. 

By bus

There are buses that run from Edinburgh to St. Andrews, however you are often required to change buses in either Dundee or Dunfermline. It is much easier to catch the train.

If travelling from Dundee, there are regular buses that run. Visit the Stagecoach website for more information.

planning a trip to st andrews guide

Budget accommodation in St Andrews

St Andrews Tourist Hostel is the only hostel in St. Andrews. Rooms are very affordable starting from only £11 per person, per night. Groups are also welcome.

Save money on transport. St Andrews is an extremely walkable Scottish town. St Andrews Tourist Hostel is located in the centre of the town on St. Marys Place, the main attractions such as St. Andrews Cathedral and St. Andrew’s Castle are only a 10 minute walk away.

Eat on the cheap. Save money by buying food from the local Tesco and cooking dinner in the fully-equipped kitchen.

Cheap Restaurants in St Andrews

The Criterion has affordable hot breakfast rolls for only £2.95. For lunch they have soups, sandwhiches and wraps ranging from £4.50-£6.50.

Taste of Scotland on the Bell street corner has delicious soya soup, handmade cakes and sweet higlands buns at great prices.

The Vic is a popular student hangout that has hearty meals for a fair price and some great deals on meals during the week.

Cheap restaurants in St Andrews

Nightlife in St Andrews

Did you know that St Andrews has the most bars and nightclubs per square mile in the UK?

There are over 30 bars and pubs in this town that has only a population of roughly 16,000.

For a budget night out we recommend relaxing in our lounge with a bottle of wino, or heading down to Molly Malones for a pocket-friendly pint.

Whether you want a casual drink or to dance until the wee hours of the morning, The Vic is also great for a night out in St Andrews. They have a jam-packed calendar of events including a pub quiz on Sunday’s.

If you’re wanting to drink with the locals, Greyfriars Inn and The Keys Bar are popular choices.

Cheap & Free Things to do in St Andrews

Don’t let this quaint town fool you- there is plenty to do here. We’ve picked the three best free or cheap activities.

St. Andrews Cathedral

St. Andrews most famous attraction, and perhaps the most famous ruin in all of Scotland. It is free to explore the ruin and accompanying graveyard. For a small fee, you can climb to the top of St Rule’s Tower for spectacular views across St Andrews and Fife!

St. Andrews Castle

It costs £6 per adult to go inside St. Andrews castle- or if you’re trying to save money, there is a good view of the castle from the small beach next to the castle!

St Andrews Botanic Garden

Stroll through this impressive 18-acre garden set in the heart of historic St Andrews. Take a blanket and a picnic lunch and enjoy the serenity!

Staying a while? Here are 40 more things you can do in St Andrews!

Do you have any tips on planning a trip to St Andrews on a budget? Comment below!


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