I know that St Andrews was on my list of Day Trips From Edinburgh, and I maintain that it’s a lovely place for a day trip! That said, I love St Andrews a lot. There’s a ton of cute walks, cafes, restaurants, and loads of things to see and do! So, I think if you have the time it’s well worth a whole weekend in St Andrews. The added bonus is that it’s not too far from Edinburgh so you really cut down on the travel time! Pretty much the opposite of a weekend away in Shetland. If you’re visiting Scotland from abroad, it’s definitely a weekend trip to consider because it’s so easy to get to and there’s still a lot of sightseeing opportunities!
Your Weekend In St Andrews: How To Get There
By Train + Bus
From Edinburgh (and pretty much every other major city in Scotland) you can easily get a bus to St Andrews. Most people opt for this because they don’t realise there’s a train stop right outside the town. The train station in St Andrews was closed decades ago, but you can easily get a train to Leuchars. In fact, if you go in and speak to someone at the train station to buy your ticket, you can buy one directly to St Andrews. You’ll just get off the train at Leuchars, and then use your train ticket as your bus ticket from Leuchars to St Andrews. The train is about 45 minutes, and the bus is about 15. The bus comes every 10 minutes or so, it’s not an arduous journey at all!
Where To Go?
The big sightseeing spots are the castle, the cathedral, the golf course, the university, and the city walls.
St Andrews Castle
The castle is pretty cool as far as castles in Scotland go. It’s 9GBP to enter, which gets you into the museum, ruins, and mines. It’s pretty much in ruins, but it has a really comprehensive guide to its history. It’s right by the seaside so it’s very picturesque too! My favourite bit was going through the tunnel they dug during an attack, I have a soft spot for caves and going underground, don’t ask.
St Andrews Cathedral
The St Andrews Cathedral is fairly accessible. You don’t have to pay anything to wander through what’s left of the cathedral and graveyard. You can spend as much time as you want looking around there. But, if you want to visit the tower and the relics, you need to pay an entrance fee of 6GBP. Naturally, my fear of heights and disinterest in religion has led me not to do this. If you are interested, it’s probably worth doing though!
The Old Course
I am not a golf fan, let’s get that out of the way. But, as it’s such a historic course that so many pros have played on, it’s worth visiting the Old Course. Even if you just walk around it, because let’s face it, if you hate golf you’re not paying to play there. I, personally, love people-watching the rich tourists around the course, what can I say? Plus, if you’re there on a Sunday the course is open for you to walk on! You can go over the famous Swilken Bridge. And, you can walk along the grassy rolling hills right next to the seaside, so it’s nice.
University of St Andrews
My boyfriend went to the University of St Andrews so I got quite the tour. It was a lot of pointing at random buildings saying and “this is where I went to x lecture!” Me, nodding silently. Some of the buildings are rather pretty, so if you’re interested in architecture, have at it! Or I suppose if you have some need to visit the University… Ahem, those of you who want to see where royalty lived, go right ahead! But otherwise you’ll get as much by walking around St Andrews as you will by specifically going to different university buildings.
The City Walls
I’m going to be honest: the first time I went to St Andrews I didn’t notice the city walls. Whoops. There’s not that much to see, but there’s a nice walk along them by the seaside! I think, at the end of the day: go to what you want to go to, but don’t miss out on a few good leisurely walks through the town! St Andrews is small, but it’s got some really nice angles that you’ll miss out on if you’re always just walking from point A to point B.
Where To Stay?
St Andrews has a ton of places to stay at a variety of costs. Airbnb’s tend to be a bit mid-range, though lovely. Hotels can range from very fancy, to cute little B&Bs. Usually on a weekend away we pick the latter. B&Bs and guest houses tend to be the highest quality, most affordable option. Plus they have a homey feel that I just love.
Where To Eat?
The big, famous cafe in St Andrews is North Point Cafe, where Prince William and Kate Middleton went on their first dates. I’ve been, and it’s alright! But St Andrews has a lot of really nice cafes, and that one is (obviously) often overrun with tourists. As a tourist hub in the summer, and a big student city during the school year, there are loads of new cafes and restaurants popping up all the time. My best advice is to walk around until you find something you think you’ll like. My favourites are I.J. Mellis, an Edinburgh cheese-maker with a storefront in St Andrews, and Gorgeous. Gorgeous is a 1940s themed cafe/restaurant that has the decor of my dreams. Seriously. I want to live there.
Where To Shop?
St Andrews has a few of the standard, common shops like H&M. They also have a ton of those smaller gift shops where they sell the sort of stuff your mom would love. And about a million and one golf shops, of course. The one place I always like to stop in is Oliver Bonas, but that’s just because I really love it there, and their shop has a cute set-up! Topping & Company Booksellers is another shop you can’t miss.
Day Trips From St Andrews
A weekend in St Andrews doesn’t leave ample time for a day trip but you could easily hop on a train further North to Newport-On-Tay, or even Dundee. You could also head a bit further South to Anstruther and get some world class fish and chips. I’ve never been to either, because I think it’s tough to pack both into one weekend! One time we took a bus to Crail, which is a lovely, small seaside town. It took about 20 minutes on the bus, and it was perfect! It’s very quiet, and we got to walk around the cutesie little seaside while popping into the quaint pottery shop, and stopping for fish and chips along the way! I’d love to go back.
There you have it! Your guide to a weekend away in St Andrews. If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to leave a comment. Or just if you want to talk to me. Or if you have literally anything to say. Please. No one ever comments.