The seaside town of St. Andrews is known for its magnificent 12th-century cathedral ruins and elite university, which was founded in the 15th century. Both Prince William and Kate Middleton attended the school. St. Andrews is also a pilgrimage site for golfers, who come to try out the famous Old Course, which dates back some 600 years.
Though golfers come here in droves, you don’t have to be a fan of the sport to enjoy St. Andrews. Many travelers come to the town on day trips from Edinburgh, exploring its historic university buildings, cobbled streets, and the medieval ruins of the Gothic cathedral, as well as nearby white-sand beaches, such as West Sands.
Many day tours from Edinburgh combine St. Andrews with other destinations in Fife, such as the history-rich former capital of Scotland, Dunfermline, and the Renaissance-era Falkland Palace.
Things to Know Before You Go
- St. Andrews is a must-visit for golfers, history buffs, and beach lovers.
- Wear walking shoes, so you can comfortably explore the cobbled streets of the town on foot.
- Several sights in town, including the visitor centers at St. Andrews Cathedral and St. Andrews Castle, offer ramped access for wheelchair users.
How to Get There
St. Andrews is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of Edinburgh. Regular trains depart from Edinburgh Waverley and go to Leuchars train station, which is about 6 miles (10 kilometers)—or a 15-minute taxi trip—from St. Andrew town center. Most tours from Edinburgh include round-trip transport.
When to Get There
St. Andrews receives most tourists in July and August when temperatures are at their warmest. If you plan on golfing in summer, book a spot well in advance as tee times fill up quickly during peak season.
What to See and Do in St. Andrews
Wandering St. Andrews’ medieval streets is one of the great joys of visiting this town. Find the bulk of architectural eye candy around North, Market, and South streets, which run west from the ruins of St. Andrews Cathedral. North of the cathedral sit the evocative ruins of St. Andrews Castle, overlooking the coast. When it comes to golf, the go-to destination is the Links, with seven public courses, including the world-renowned Old Course.