Sitting on the majestic East Coast of Scotland, St. Andrews is an ancient seaside town that sits upon its cliffs. With its university dating back to the early 1400s, its golf course being considered the very birthplace of the sport, and its ancient castle ruins that overlook its stunning West Sands Beach, if you are fascinated by English Heritage and old ruins, St. Andrews is the perfect holiday. A relatively quiet town, you won’t be overrun by tourist groups when gazing at the amazing sites this place has to offer.
1. St. Andrews Castle
Built at the beginning of the 13th-century, St. Andrews Castle has been an age old presence on Scotland’s East Coast. Overlooking the North Sea many have said that its views are beautiful and interesting, as the ruins allow you to sit atop the walls and look out to the ocean. An extremely well preserved castle, it is best to visit during the summer, with tickets around 8 USD for adults and 5 USD for children.
St. Andrews Castle
Address: The Scores, St Andrews, KY16 9AR
Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday: 9:30pm-5:30pm
Website: St Andrews Castle
2. St. Andrews Cathedral
Another fascinating ruin, St. Andrews Cathedral actually holds the very bones of St. Andrew! Said to be Scotland’s former largest church, it provides stunning views and memorable photos, St. Rules Tower being the iconic centerpiece to this beautiful setting. You can visit this amazing piece of local history completely free!
St. Andrews Cathedral
Address: The Pends, St. Andrews, KY16 9QL
Opening Hours: April-September: Daily: 9:30am-5:30pm
Website: St Andrews Cathedral
3. St. Andrew's Botanic Gardens
With over 8,000 species of exotic/native plants and ponds, St. Andrews Botanic Gardens is a small paradise of nature at its peak! Known especially for its extensive and varied greenhouses, you can book a guided walk through the flowers as your guide narrates the different plants and the very history of St. Andrews Botanic Gardens. Seen as a wonderful place for kids to play and discover their own favorite flowers, and gaze in wonder at the gardens very own butterfly experience! Prices will set back adults only 8 USD and is completely free to under 18s!
St. Andrews Botanic Gardens
Address: St. Andrews, KY16 8RT
Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday: 10am-6pm
Website: St. Andrews Botanic Gardens
4. Craigtoun Country Park
A beautiful park full of activity! With free entry to Craigtoun Country Park you can have a BBQ with friends, ride on tractors and see the beautiful sites it has to offer! Many praise the park for being so active that you can easily spend your entire afternoon here, whether playing with your kids in the big open fields or running with your dog along the well-kept paths!
Craigtoun Country Park
Address: Prospect Row, KY16 8NX
Opening Hours: Daily, 24 hrs
Website: Craigtoun Country Park
5. Museum of the University of St. Andrews
The University of St. Andrews is so old, it needs its own museum! Opened in 2008, the University Museum holds over 112,000 artifacts! Being so close to the sea you can walk out onto its balcony and gaze at the ocean! Even though it’s not a very big museum, many have deemed it as a gem of the town!
Museum of the University of St. Andrews
Address: 7 The Scores, St. Andrews, KY16 9AR
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm. Sunday, 12pm-4pm
6. The Swilcan Bridge at St. Andrew Links
For all golf lovers out there, I’m sure you have heard of the Swilcan Bridge which lies inside St. Andrews Links. Many of the historically famous golfers have walked across this bridge and for many golfers, this is an amazing experience. The Swilcan Bridge stands as a symbol for the historic reputation of St. Andrews Links Golf, come visit this 18th-century fairway!
The Swilcan Bridge
Address: The Links, KY16 9JE
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday, 9am-5:30pm. Saturday-Sunday, 9:30am-4:30pm
Website: The Swilcan Bridge
7. West Sands Beach
Used as the opening scene for the famous 1981 film, ‘Chariots of Fire’, West Sands Beach is the most well-known, and popular beach in St. Andrews. With its clean and clear water, it provides a wonderful scenic walk and it looks up to the historical town and cliffs of St. Andrews. You can come here to walk, run swim and even surf the waves of the North Sea! This beach extends for almost 2 miles (3 km) of uninterrupted sand back with dunes and is only a 15 minute walk from the town centre.
West Sands Beach
Address: W Sands Rd, KY16 9XL
Opening Hours: Daily, 24 hrs
Website: West Sands
8. St. Andrews Aquarium
If you come to St. Andrews on a rainy day, one of the best indoor activities would be to visit the St. Andrews Aquarium! A great past-time for the kids, the aquarium has a wide varied selection of sea life and even reptile handling sessions! Prices are very reasonable, for adults it is around 13-15 USD and for children it is only 10 USD.
St. Andrews Aquarium
Address: The Scores, KY16 9AS
Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday, 10am-5pm
Website: St Andrews Aquarium
9. St. Andrews Links Golf Course
As I have mentioned before with the Swilcan Bridge, this historic golf course is seen as the very birthplace of golf and has welcomed many famous golfers to its courses! The gorgeous clubhouse sits near the edge of the cliffs, giving stunning views to all those who visit. You don’t necessarily have to book a course in order to enter the grounds, as you can walk among them outside the peak golfing times. One of the most expensive activities on this list, the golf course has a range of course that are reasonably priced to very expensive, setting you back about 95-190 USD for the Old Course, and its lesser prices courses, averaging between 40-90 USD.
St. Andrews Links Golf Course
Address: St. Andrews, KY16 9SF
Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday, 7am-7pm
Website: St. Andrews Links Gold Course
10. Kingsbarn Beach
The other beach on this list is much quieter and lesser known, only being a 10 minute walk from the village, Kingsbarn Beach has been praised as incredibly atmospheric and peaceful, less likely to be interrupted by other beach-goers, you can have an almost private holiday on this beautiful east-coast paradise!
Address: Skegness, KY16 8SX
Opening Hours: Daily, 24 hrs
Email: [email protected]
Website: Kingsbarn Beach
The old and beautiful!
Whether you want beautiful views or ruins enriched with centuries of history, St. Andrews gives you the best of both kinds of holidays! Take a dip in the gorgeous North Sea, or sit atop the cliffs enjoying the scenery, either way you will gain some wonderful memories from this historic town!
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