What to see in Scotland

St. Andrews

Vacations to Scotland

Tourist attractions St. Andrews

St. Andrews is synonymous with two things: golf and its famous university, the latter of which is one of the oldest universities in the English-speaking world, dating back to 1413. Situated on the east coast of Fife, just south of the city of Dundee, St. Andrews is known as the ‘home of golf’ as it has some of the most prestigious golf courses in the world and frequently hosts the Open Championship, a popular golfing competition. The Royal & Ancient Gold Club is home to the Old Course, one of the oldest courses on earth, making St. Andrews a paradise for golfing enthusiasts. 

The town of St. Andrews has its roots back in medieval times. It is thought to have been named after Saint Andrew, whose relics were brought to the town all the way from Greece by Bishop Saint Rule. St. Andrews soon became an ecclesiastical capital of Scotland and remained of great spiritual importance until the Scottish Reformation.

Aside from fascinating history, legendary golfing and its prestigious university, St. Andrews boasts a beautiful setting on the North Sea coast and is filled with traditional stone architecture, and atmospheric streets and is surrounded by rolling green countryside. If you visit St. Andrews you’ll find plenty of sights to explore and you’re sure to fall for the old-world charms and beautiful natural setting of this treasure of Fife.

Things to do in St. Andrews

Dominating the landscape of St. Andrews are the imposing ruins of St. Andrews Cathedral, the largest cathedral in the country and one of the most important things to see in St. Andrews. Part of the site dates back to the 12th-century when it was the centre of the Catholic Church in Scotland and the seat of Scotland’s leading bishops. As well as wandering throughout the well-preserved ruins, if you visit St. Andrews Cathedral you can admire the sculptures and relics in the on-site museum and climb to the top of St. Rules tower for unforgettable views across the town, coastline and out across the Fife countryside. 

A stone’s throw away from the ruined Cathedral, lies St. Andrews Castle, also in ruins. This spectacular castle has served as a royal residence, a bishop's palace and a state prison over its 800-year history, and the ruins sit on top of a rocky cliff, overlooking a small beach and the North Sea. If you visit St. Andrews Castle today you can enjoy the dramatic views and explore the gruesome ‘bottle-shaped dungeon’, where Protestant martyrs were imprisoned in the early days of the Reformation. 

Any golfer will dream of travelling to St. Andrews in order to visit the Old Course, said to be the ‘home of golf’ and the birthplace of the beautiful game. The Old Course is one of a number of courses in St. Andrews, but it will always be the most popular due to its prestigious history and as the site of plenty of memorable Open Championship victories. You don’t have to play golf to be able to enjoy visiting the Old Course as there are public tours of the 1st, 17th and 18th holes, where you can walk in the footsteps of golfing legends and soak up more than 600 years of golfing heritage. If you travel to St. Andrews you cannot miss out on a tour of the Old Course.

A trip to St. Andrews would be incomplete without a stroll along the idyllic West Sands, a 2-mile stretch of uninterrupted golden coastline, just a 15-minute walk from the town centre. One of the most beautiful things to see in St. Andrews, this vast beach became famous as the setting for the iconic opening scenes of the movie Chariots of Fire. Popular with walkers, runners and swimmers alike, there’s nothing like taking in the picturesque sea views from this little slice of paradise when you visit St. Andrews. 

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