Day Trip to St. Andrews, Scotland

St. Andrews was definitely one of our more anticipated days we had planned for our trip.

While I planned (pretty much) all 12 days of our trip, my husband had only one request – golfing in Scotland.

We were able to connect with the friend of a friend, and he was able to get Moose on the Old Course (!!).

We needed to take a 5:30am train out of Edinburgh to Leuchars station. And, as my friends know, I am really, really not a morning person. Consider it a great testament to my love. Some tasty croissants and jam definitely improved the early AM grump bug though! The train to Leuchars took about an hour, followed by a 10 minute taxi ride into town.

The view from hole 1 at the Old Course.

I, being a disgrace to the sport of golf, did NOT play. But I did walk the first two and last two holes.

The Old Course is beautiful and rugged! It’s very different from the manicured, pruned US courses we are used to. We learned that it’s called the Links because it’s the land that links the beach and the farmland, and was basically useless. Therefore they started the game of golf.

St. Andrews is the oldest golf course in the world and where the game of golf was pioneered by Tom Morris (we even got to see his house).

After I left my happy golfer at hole three, I walked over to West Sands – a long beautiful beach directly next to the Old Course.

These were not wild horses, but I am not sure why they were on the beach!

With the exception of a few runners, I had the beach mostly to myself. It was barely 7AM at this point in the morning!

I had fun picking up unusual looking seashells (different from the ones I’m used to on our beaches here) and walking along in the cold morning air. I ended up leaving everything I picked up behind except for one piece of seaglass to add to my collection.

You may recognize West Beach from the famous beach scene in the movie Chariots of Fire.

Then I took a bit of a solo-tour around St. Andrews and happily occupied myself for the next few hours meandering around town and parts of the University of St. Andrews campus. (I needed to see where Kate Middleton met Prince William, obviously.)

At the recommendation of the friend of the friend of my husband, we ate lunch at the Jigger Inn, which is an adorable white house directly on the 17th hole of the Old Course. The Inn dates back to 1850 and provides cozy nooks and open fireplaces to enjoy.

If you walk along the street that hugs the coast, you’ll see all the historic sites in St. Andrews – the ruins of the castle, the cathedral and the tower.

At the end of this road, you will end up at East Sands, where there is a pier from which you can see really lovely views (this was a recommended must-stop by my friend Carrie).

St. Andrews was definitely our cup of tea – small, quiet and coastal. It reminded us of one of our favorite places back home, Rockport, MA.

We spent the remainder of the afternoon walking around town (do you sense a theme here?).

We popped in to B. Janetta’s, an ice cream shop that has been in St. Andrews since 1908! We tried Sticky Toffee ice cream and Brown Bread ice cream (brown bread fried in butter and sugar and put into vanilla ice cream!).

We also stopped in a local free museum, appropriately named the St. Andrews Museum, with the history of St. Andrews.

While we had intended staying later into the evening, we were so worn out from our early wake-up call and headed back to Edinburgh for a highly anticipated night of sleep!

St. Andrews was absolutely one of our favorite places we stopped on our trip. I think the words “we could live here” were uttered more than once.

Next Stop? The Lakes District!

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148 comments

  1. Love your photos! I’ve always been curious about Scotland. It’s great to see a visitor’s perspective on it, oh and um LOVE the thought of the treats you got at the ice cream shoppe!

  2. Miss. Zoe says:

    bah! Your gonna have to add an ‘u’ into your favourite things if your going to galavanting around Europe. As I type this is literally looking out my bedroom window to the Motif #1 in Rockport! Glad you love my hometown so much!

  3. I loved this post! I’m studying abroad at St Andrews in the fall, so I loved hearing what you thought about it. Also, I went to the Lake District two years ago and it was beautiful.

  4. befaster says:

    Great photos, making me really jealous that I didn’t get to see anything other than London and Bath when living in France last summer. Next trip: all of the UK, top to bottom! If you like small coastal towns, you should head up to the West Coast of Canada (or East Coast, depending what style of charm you want), I think you’ll find it rather similar in a New World sort of way. Keep up the great posts!

    • rayya says:

      Me too – I lived my childhood there while my father taught at the university. That was the 60s and early 70s. These are gorgeous photos and made me feel very nostalgic! I spent my childhood on those rocks – the Sealife centre used to be the public swimming pool (for the uneducated that means a pool ‘fed’ by the North Sea, built into the rocks/beach – chilly!!!! The blue and white street signs are so evocative and of course mention of Janetta’s ice creams … The Jigger Inn always had a superb collection of malts on the shelf. Thanks for reminding me of happy days.

  5. umanbn says:

    Great photo of the rocks and seaweed…beautiful colours and textures…i spent half my childhood on a seaside like that….hope you enjoy the lakes…and you can catch it on a rare sunny day…

  6. Oh, I just devoured every word and image in this post! Loved it!!

    I love that you had to see where Prince William and Kate met…haha.

    Beautiful photos and congrats on being Freshly Pressed! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. hellojon says:

    This was great! I’m from England but have lived St Andrews for almost 20 years – and feel exactly the same as you about it.
    It could be warmer but there are few places I would rather be.
    Great to another perspective though and best of all I wasn’t even aware of The Jigger Inn so I’ll need to take my wife along and check it out.

    Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. St. Andrews is a gorgeous place! I have many happy memories of visiting there and eating ice cream at B. Janetta’s too (their ice cream flavors are great)! Enjoy your travels and congrats on being Freshly Pressed

  9. Marissa says:

    Speaking as a student at St Andrews, you might find your attitude towards settling there somewhat changed if you saw it at full capacity during the University term! It’s a beautiful town, though, and I’m so glad you enjoyed your visit!

  10. Wow! First off, great post. Second off, I feel like I’m reading my own blog.

    I also just got back from a 12 day trip to the U.K. and, like your husband, my boyfriend only cared about our two days in St. Andrews. He too got on the Old Course and I walked the first and last hole with him.. While he golfed, I wandered through St. Andrews, stopping at every exact place you stopped.

    Out of all the busy cities we visited in the U.K., St. Andrews was perhaps my favourite. I absolutely love that I came across this blog. Such an amazingly odd coincidence. Now I’m wishing that I had posted a blog about St. Andrews first =P But your pictures are much better. Anyway, lovely post. Couldn’t agree more – St. Andrews is a beautiful place, even if you don’t golf (don’t worry, I felt like a disgrace not playing too).

      • Yeah, I was thinking that too! Maybe you were that other single person wandering alone behind me =P You’ve inspired me to write about St. Andrews but I think whatever I’d say would seem like a rip off =P

  11. shittydad says:

    When I saw St. Andrews I thought about Jane’s Addiction’s “Jane Says”… Either the place is amazing, you are a great photographer, or both. Probably both.

  12. ecorthell says:

    I went here in 8th grade which was about almost 10 years ago. My mom, brother and I went for a month long trip to Scotland and got to search the whole country. St. Andrews was by far my favorite place we visited. I will never forget my trip and seeing your photos brings back sooo many happy memories! Thanks for sharing!

  13. jooy says:

    ah, lovely! i visited edinburgh recently but didn’t have time to see st. andrews, so i really enjoyed your photos & descriptions. scotland is so gorgeous!

  14. Wow! A trip to St Andrews freshly pressed! This post makes me so happy as St Andrews is my hometown, though I live in London now, and seeing your pictures just gave me the biggest smile. I used to work in that ice cream shop — a nightmare in the summer, but some of the nicest ice cream I’ve ever had — and I also went to uni there (I did glimpse Prince William a couple of times, though I was still at high school when he was a student). I’m glad you had such a lovely time. The Lake District is also beautiful — I hope you enjoyed your trip!

    • It’s such a beautiful town! And I would certainly imagine everyone would be clamoring for ice cream in the summer! it was delicious! We definitely had a wonderful time!

  15. Jen says:

    I spent my junior year of undergrad abroad at St. Andrews…what a nice surprise to see a post about it on the top blogs page! Beautifully done.

  16. Roshni says:

    The photos are beautiful…and yes, I can imagine myself saying “I could live here” a hundred times if I went to St. Andrews! ๐Ÿ™‚ Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.

  17. fmvt says:

    St Andrews is a beautiful little town…I was lucky enough to go to primary school there (a long time ago!) and we used to go running on the beach for our sport’s lessons. I just wish I’d gone for the golf lessons, big mistake I missed out on that one!
    There is a fab bakery there, Fisher & Donaldsons, who sell Scotch pies, my favourite is the ones with beans and potatoes on top ๐Ÿ˜€
    Nice to see your photos & enjoy the rest of your trip! Scotland is a special little country ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Nice photographs. I come from a place only 10 miles away from St Andrews, so sometimes I get blase about what is a really beautiful place. The horses I think belong to one of the local stables – they get taken for a bath & swim in the sea now and then. Safe travels!

  19. sorrentoe says:

    Beautiful picures and nice story line. Fell in love with St. Andrews when our daughter was a student there in ’02 (yes at same time as Wills and Kate).
    And have returned at least 6 times to Bonny Scotland since, just as recent as 2 weeks ago. I relish hiking the Glens and vising the small towns with my friends from there. Thanks for a lovely and wonderful pictoral.

  20. starproms says:

    Beautiful pictures and a delightful day out by all accounts. I really enjoyed your trip to St. Andrew’s. Incidentally, I used to own one of those old Morris Minors, back in 1970. It even had the little side orange indicators as well as the split windscreen.
    You have lots of memories to take back with you to MA.

  21. pnwauthor says:

    These photos remind me of 1986 when my sister and I were planning on going to Scotland to work for summer at a lodge. We ended up not going because of a hijacked plane incident that was in the news.

    Your photos are lovely.

  22. amelie88 says:

    I visited St. Andrews three years ago, I had a friend studying abroad at the university. I spent a few days on the campus and was so jealous she got to study in such a beautiful little town. If I had known about it, I might have applied to study there (though it’s a far cry from NY where I live). I didn’t see the sun for the 4 days I was there though (this was in April) and we walked along the beach but it was FREEZING that day. We also visited the nearby town of Anstruther which has supposedly the best “fish and chips” place in Scotland. Also visited Edinburgh–I can’t wait to go back to Scotland! Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  23. cathka says:

    Breathtakingly beautiful…I haven’t been to Scotland since I was a kid and I’ve got no memories of it except being sick in the car (breathtakingly disgusting). Great post!

  24. Beautiful pics and great writing. Thank you for the trip down memory lane- I lived in St Andrews for a year, and used to eat in the very same University garden with my husband on his lunch break…. and no, I’m not Kate Middleton ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Nice trip. Surely Scotland is a beautiful country having historical places being a part of UK.Those are my most favorite. Oh, Thanks for sharing nice pictures. You know, I also like traveling specially cruises are my best choice for traveling. Thanks again the post ……

    Karen J. Bergquist
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  26. Great pictures! I love the one with the car. My family and I went to Scotland a few years back and loved it! We didn’t make it to St. Andrews, but we can’t wait to go back and see more of its beauty!

  27. rayya says:

    Oh – and I suspect they put the plaque about Chariots of Fire there because in the film the voiceover says it’s Broadstairs in Kent!!! I was outraged and turned round to the person behind me in the cinema and said ‘it’s not, it’s St. Andrews in Scotland!’ The poor man didn’t know me from Adam so he must have been rather stunned. I now live near Broadstairs and the beach is teeny compared to the West Sands.

  28. Glad you liked the wee place, nestled away at the ends of the earth. Tradition has it that St Regulus (St Rule) was charged to take the bones of St Andrew “to the ends of the earth”, to keep them safe. He was shipwrecked off to the coast of the Kingdom of Fife and washed ashore at a small fishing village called Kilrymont. Kilrymont became St Andrews, St Andrews became the ecclesiastical capital of Scotland until the Scottish Reformation in the 1560s. The University was founded in 1413, and is currently celebrating its 600th anniversary.

    For those who don’t know, and who are interested, the sixth photograph from the top is of St Salvator’s Hall, nicknamed Sallies, one of the University’s halls of residence. It is indeed where Prince William and Kate Middleton lived in their first year, I believe. While I was a student it was a male-only hall.

    What a lovely write-up of St Andrews: one of my favourite places in all the world. I was a student there from 1989-1993, and returned in 2006 to work at the University (I’m currently a member of the web team).

  29. Nice little post. Scotsman here that has never been to St Andrews and lives in Edinburgh! I promise to take my girlfriend there the next time the sun decides to shine and I don’t have to serve seafood all afternoon.

  30. N says:

    love the photos!=) I could almost feel the sweet cool air on those. and the dark car (i’m color blind) facing you, makes me want to turn the keys and feel its engine come alive. thanks a lot!

  31. millayt says:

    Just beautiful! We live near St. Andrews, New Brunswick, which claims to be Canada’s oldest resort town. It is named after the Scottish St. Andrews and has some beautiful “tweeds” for sale, along with its own golf-course too. Your pictures really capture the place! Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  32. you got everything that a human being want to be and has it,
    world is open to everyone who want to open and start to do.
    Thank for all beautiful photos and story that I was really like your story.

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  33. I was fortunate enough to experience this mecca of golf–and fulfill a lifelong dream–when my wife and I attended The Open Championship at The Old Course in the summer of 2010. We were fortunate enough to stay with friends of ours who live at Easter Kincaple Farm, just 1 1/2 miles up the hill from the course. The famed Swilcan Burne actually originates on their farm–where they have a wonderful B&B. It was the experience of a lifetime!

  34. Thanks for a lovely reminder of how neat St. Andrews is. I had the great experience to be the bag man on one of my wife’s singing tours. She and her choir sang in a small church in the town of St. Andrews. At the time, we lived in a community called Prestwick. It surrounded a golf course modeled after the St. Andrews course.
    I looked forward to visiting the premier golf course , but was disappointed when I finally saw it. The long hair long horn cattle were more interesting than the golf course. St. Andrews Scotland and Prestwick are so different they can’t be compared. About the only thing that is similar is the layout of the holes.
    Nevertheless, I loved seeing the course and the town. Your pictures reminded me of the many places we visited while there. We also went to the lake district from St Andrews.

  35. Really enjoyed your article.. I live in Edinburgh myself and my brother graduated from St. Andrews university last year so I know both quite well… Well summed up and up beat article.. would love for you to come visit my page if possible.. – intheendless.com
    thank you and happy blogging

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