Experience St Andrews - More than just the Home of Golf

With Saint Andrews day on 30th November, we thought it was the perfect time to shine a light on Scotland - and in particular, the charming town of St Andrews in Fife. Joining the likes of Edinburgh, Glasgow, the Scottish Highlands and Loch Ness on the list of the best places to visit in Scotland, St Andrews has something to offer everyone. Here's why it should be the next place you visit.

St Andrews isn't just for golfers!

You've likely heard that St Andrews is the world-famous home of golf. Golfers from all over the world travel to St Andrews to place on the aptly named 'Old Course' - the oldest golf course in the world.

While many are drawn in by the opportunity to tee off on the same course as some of the world's greatest golfers, the Old Course also offers spectacular coastal scenery. But if you fancy a round of golf, you'll need to book well in advance to avoid disappointment.

Not into golf? The good news is that St Andrews has so much more to offer than the Old Course. Whether you're into your history and architecture or beach and water activities, you'll find plenty to keep you entertained during your trip to St Andrews.

St Andrews Cathedral

If you're into your historic architecture, it's well worth a visit to the ruins of St Andrews Cathedral. The landmark building was erected in the 12th century when St Andrews was the religious centre of the Roman Catholic Church of Scotland. Once Catholic practice was outlawed in the 16th century, the Cathedral fell to ruins.

On the grounds of the Cathedral, you'll also find St Rule's Tower. Despite being built in the 11th century, it's in much better condition than the Cathedral. Head up the stairs to the top of the tower to enjoy outstanding views of St Andrews. Just take extra care as the steps are pretty steep and narrow!

St Andrews Castle

Down by the waterfront, near the Cathedral, you'll find St Andrews Castle. Take the time to learn about the castle's history, which dates back to the 13th century. The visitor centre and exhibition are free to enter.

Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the castle ruins are currently closed for masonry inspections. Check this before you go!

St Andrews Town Walking Tour

One of the best ways to see all of the key sights is to join a St Andrews Walking Tour. These 1.5-hour tours run every day at 11 am and are an excellent opportunity to learn all about the town's history from a local, expert guide. Key sights include St Andrews Cathedral, St Andrews Castle, The Old Course, The University of Saint Andrews and St Salvator's Chapel.

St. Andrews Botanic Garden

Take some time to unwind and relax in the beautiful Botanic Garden. Discover plants from across the world throughout the 18-acre site, and take a sneak peek of the Tangled Bank. They're currently developing this new area of the gardens to showcase the very best of Fife's habitats.

The Botanic Garden is a lovely place for a family picnic in the warmer months. It's also home to lots of wildlife and a great place to spot red squirrels. If you're visiting with children, there are plenty of trails around the garden for them to explore. Plus, there's a new natural play area with lots of fun things for children to climb, walk along and jump off!

St Andrews Harbour

The harbour at St Andrews is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon watching the fishing boats at work. Take a stroll along the stone wall pier for magnificent views of East Sands beach, St Andrews Cathedral and St Rule's Tower. Students at St Andrews University use this pier for their annual Pier Walk tradition before each new academic year.

East Sands and West Sands

Once you've visited the harbour, take the inland path down to East Sands for a stroll across the sandy beach. East Sands is right by the harbour and sailing club, so it's the perfect place to try out some water sports like surfing, sailing, windsurfing and kayaking.

And if you haven't had your fill of adrenaline-pumping activities, be sure to head to West Sands. The 2 mile stretch of sandy beach is just a 15-minute walk from St Andrews town centre and is extremely popular with families, dog walkers, horse riders and runners alike. West Sands is also home to several local companies offering a wide range of beach and water activities. Try your hand at beach Olympics, beach kayaking, land yachting, pedal kart racing, stand up paddleboarding and more!

Fun fact - West Sands at St Andrews featured in the film 'Chariot of Fire.' Spot it in the opening sequence!

Explore the nearby fishing villages

The town of St Andrews is very close to the five fishing villages of the East Neuk of Fife:

  1. Crail - Known for its cobbled streets and tiny, picture harbour
  2. Anstruther - A bustling village with world-famous fish & chip shops
  3. Pittenweem - A charming village with a narrow footpath along the waterfront and old fashioned sweet shop
  4. St Monans - Home to the St Monans windmill and quirky Welly Boot Garden
  5. Elie - A busy village surrounded by sandy beaches

The lovely thing about these Scottish fishing villages is that they each have something different to offer. They're all walkable, linked by the Fife Coastal Path, but you can visit them by car too.

Where to stay in St. Andrews

With plenty of things to see and do in St Andrews, it's well worth booking a short stay to make the most of your time in the Scottish town. Choose from luxury hotels, including:

Fairmont St Andrews, Scotland

Set on a 520-acre estate with stunning coastal views, Fairmont St Andrews guarantees a stay to remember. Enjoy its peaceful setting, breathtaking surroundings and luxury Scottish touches that make it one of the best hotels in St Andrews. Choose from several luxury guest rooms and suites, each promising an inviting and elegantly-designed space for you to relax and unwind in.

Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa

The Old Course Hotel offers a luxury stay, with magnificent views of the famous links courses, West Sands beach and the beautiful Scottish coastline. The prestigious AA 5-Star hotel comprises 144 rooms, including 35 suites, and is considered one of Europe's leading resorts.

Rufflets St Andrews

If it's a luxury home-away-from-home you're after, then look no further than the beautiful country house hotel of Rufflets St Andrews. Rufflets offer a warm welcome to all guests and an idyllic space to reconnect with yourself, loved ones and the natural world.

Nestled in the countryside, most of the hotel's uniquely-designed bedrooms and suites look out onto the garden oasis or wooded front for guaranteed peace.

Book a St Andrews hotel through PlansChange

All of these St Andrews hotels and more are available to book through PlansChange. Simply search for your required dates, and we'll showcase our hotels' availability and best prices.

Are you looking for a hotel in Scotland at a discounted price? Check out our Resale Deals page to see if anyone is re-selling a hotel room they can no longer use. And don't forget to sign up for our emails to get the best deals delivered directly to your inbox!