Other highlights in St Andrews
Whilst St Andrews is frequently visited by golf enthusiasts and prospective university students, this captivating town has so much to offer. St Andrews is home to a wealth of fascinating landmarks, interesting museums and exciting attractions offering plenty to keep visitors entertained.
St Andrews Cathedral
Built in the 12th century, St Andrew’s Cathedral was once the largest building in Europe. Left abandoned following the Scottish Reformation, the Cathedral now lies in ruin but remains the largest Cathedral ever built in Scotland. Now a major tourist attraction in the town, the Cathedral grounds are open to the public. The site is a reflective and peaceful location to contemplate the last millennium of history. The grounds feature the gravestones of many notable people in St Andrews history including bishops and golfers. Inside the visitors centre, the famous St Andrews Sarcophagus can be found which is arguably the finest example of Pictish carvings still in existence. The site is also home to St Rule’s Tower which predates the Cathedral and is said to be the burial site of the White Lady of St Andrews who allegedly still haunts the tower to this day.
Entry to the cathedral grounds is free, however, access to the visitors centre and St. Rule’s Tower requires a fee or membership in Historic Scotland.
St Andrew’s Castle
Overlooking the beautiful beach of Castle Sands, the ruins of St Andrew’s Castle sit prominently on the cliffside. Once the home of St Andrews’ Archbishops, the castle dates back to the 13th century. The Bishops’ Palace was witness to many prominent events in St Andrews history, particularly throughout the Scottish Reformation. Visiting the Castle provides a great insight into mediaeval history with an audio tour through the castle grounds including a peek into the bottle dungeon, one of mediaeval history’s most famous castle prisons.
Scotland’s Secret Bunker
Nestled on the outskirts of St Andrews, just ten minutes drive from the town centre, a hidden tunnel beneath an innocent-looking traditional Scottish farmhouse leads to Scotland’s secret bunker, RAF Troywood. Tucked 100 feet underground and spread across two levels, the 24,000 square foot bunker was designed during the Cold War as an underground nuclear command centre to be used by the government and military in the event of attack. A hidden gem below our feet, the bunker was kept top secret for over 50 years before being opened to the public. Explore the dormitories, broadcasting studio and CND deep underground through this immersive and captivating experience. Scotland’s Secret Bunker is one of the most exciting and fascinating visitor’s attractions in the country, a must-visit when visiting St Andrews.
Scottish Fisheries Museum
A unique insight into the Scottish fishing industry, the Scottish Fisheries Museums is an award-winning national museum documenting the fascinating history from early days right up until the present. The fascinating exhibit features genuine boats and fishing gear in addition to photographs, paintings and tableaux to tell the stories of Scottish fishing. Explore fishing technology and how it has developed through history, discover the traditions part of the fishing industry for centuries and navigate the geography and structure of fishing communities. The museum is located in Anstruther, just 9 miles from the centre of St Andrews and is an interesting day out with interactive experiences for all the family.
St Andrews Botanic Garden
One of the most tranquil and idyllic locations in St Andrews, the St Andrews Botanic Garden covers a breathtaking 18 acre site. Home to an ongoing research and conservation project, St Andrews Botanic Garden features plantlife from across the globe, a rock garden, an expansive pinetum and so much more. The unique habitat is also home to abundance of wildlife including red squirrels. Perfect for all the family, the botanic garden features a play area, educational experiences and plenty of open space for little ones to run wild.
The R&A World Golf Museum
Regardless of whether or not you are visiting St Andrews to experience the golf scene, The R&A World Golf Museum offers a great insight into the history and culture of St Andrews. Located opposite The Royal and Ancient Golf Club, the museum occupies prime real estate in the birthplace of golf. The museum is the world’s leading golf heritage centre, mere yards from the world’s oldest golf course, and details the history of the sport through immersive galleries and exhibits.
St Andrews Beaches
Occupying a coastal location, St Andrews is surrounded by a number of stunning beaches. Whilst there are many to choose from, West Sands is the most popular beachfront with two miles of golden sands, a world-famous golf course backdrop and famous for the opening scenes of Chariots of Fire.
Fife Pilgrim Way
Following in the footsteps of pilgrims who navigated this trail between the 11th and 16th centuries. The final leg of the 65-mile trail runs from the charming village of Ceres to St Andrews with a 9.5-mile path to explore and a scenic walking route through the countryside.
St Andrews Aquarium
Step into the underwater world without dipping your head below the surface at St Andrews Aquarium. Home to fascinating marine life from across the world, the aquarium invites you to explore the vibrant and incredible underwater kingdom with over 120 different species to discover. In addition, you can see the cheeky meerkats, feed the penguins and learn all about poisonous frogs with interactive experiences for all the family. A centre for education as well as entertainment, St Andrews Aquarium is one of Scotland’s most impressive aquariums.
St Andrews Museum
At home within a stunning Victorian mansion, St Andrews Museum takes visitors on a journey through the town’s magnificent history. The permanent exhibition offers a great introduction and insight into the history of St Andrews whilst rotating temporary exhibits showcase the talent of local artists.
Hill of Tarvit Mansion House & Garden
Owned by the National Trust for Scotland, Hill of Tarvit Mansion House is one of the finest manor homes in Scotland. Perfectly positioned in the Fife countryside, just 9 miles from the heart of St Andrews, the house was built in the 17th century and extensively renovated in 1906 by Sir Robert Latimer. The Edwardian mansion house was redesigned for Mr F B Sharp to suit his art and furnishings collection. The result is an eclectic melting pot of European influence with French furniture, Dutch paintings and Flemish tapestries. For additional eccentricity, the mansion house also boasts exquisite Chinese porcelain and bronzes in addition to regular exhibitions by local artists bringing a contemporary touch to the house. Heading outside of the captivating mansion house, the formal gardens boast beautifully manicured lawns where visitors can enjoy lawn tennis, croquet and the only dedicated hickory golf course in the UK.
Is St Andrews worth visiting?
St Andrews is one of Scotland’s most beautiful, diverse and historic towns. Renowned as the birthplace of golf, home to the world’s third oldest university and boasting breathtaking architecture, St Andrews is bursting with history and heritage. The town also features the ruins of the largest Cathedral ever built in Scotland and the ruined St Andrews Castle which dates back to the 13th century. In addition, St Andrews is one of Scotland’s most unique and exciting shopping destinations, has a wealth of thrilling attractions and features a magnificent coastline with a selection of beautiful beaches.
How do I spend my day in St Andrews?
An eclectic town with many faces, St Andrews is a destination that would appeal to a wide range of visitors. As the motherland of golf, the most popular way to spend time in St Andrews is to enjoy a game on one of the impressive courses of St Andrews Links. The historic town is also packed with fascinating museums, beautiful architecture and iconic landmarks that are captivating to explore. In addition, St Andrews is one of the best shopping destinations in Scotland with a wide range of outstanding small businesses, independent retailers and boutique stores. St Andrews also has a number of beautiful beaches and a tranquil botanical garden.
How long do you need in St Andrews?
The length of time you spend in St Andrews depends on exactly what you are visiting the town for. If you would like to explore what St Andrews has to offer alongside golfing, multiple days are required to get the most out of a visit. If you are not planning to golf, shopping and sightseeing can be completed in a day or two but to truly appreciate this charming town, it is advised to spend more time in St Andrews.
What to do in St Andrews if you don’t golf?
Whilst golf is a popular attraction in St Andrews, the town has plenty to offer non-golfers. As a beautifully historic town, St Andrews is overflowing with heritage featuring many museums to explore, beautiful architecture to discover and captivating points of interest to visit. The surrounding coastline is peppered with stunning beaches and breathtaking coastal trails. The town is also an incredible shopping destination offering a unique and diverse shopping experience.
The Home of Golf
You owe it to yourself to experience, at least once in your lifetime, the commonly accepted birthplace of golf – St. Andrews. St Andrews Golf Links has six beautiful courses.
Where To Stay
St Andrews has a range of quality accommodation, from hotels to guest houses. Here we recommend accommodation for you to book in order to fully enjoy your stay in Fife.
What makes St Andrews & Fife great?
About St Andrews has visitor information for accommodation in St Andrews, things to do when visiting and enjoying the spectacular selection of world famous golf courses in Fife, Scotland.
Education At St Andrews University
St Andrews is Scotland’s 1st University and the 3rd oldest in the UK, upholding academic excellence.
Exciting Outdoor Activities
A wide range of activities in St Andrews keep adults & children occupied and content.
St Andrews has a range of quality accommodation, from hotels, guest houses and self catering.