St Andrews

For other places with the same name, see St Andrews (disambiguation).
St Andrews Castle

The Royal Burgh of St Andrews is a small town (population 18,000) in the kingdom of Fife on the east coast of Scotland, facing the North Sea, and hosting the oldest university in Scotland. The town is perhaps most famous, however, as the home of golf.


St Andrews was historically the Ecclesiastical capital of Scotland. The cathedral was the most important in Scotland during the mediaeval period, and the Bishops of St Andrews lived in St Andrews Castle. John Knox preached in the town.

The University grew up out of the cathedral, and was founded in 1410, being the oldest university in Scotland, and the third oldest university in the English-speaking world. Today, the University dominates the town, particularly during termtime. The university is often seen as being quite elite, and was the place of education of Prince William, second in line to the British throne.

St Andrews is also seen as the Home of Golf, being the home of the Royal and Ancient, one of the oldest Golf Clubs in the world and the R&A one of game's worldwide ruling bodies. There are a large number of golf courses or links, as coastal courses are properly known. The most famous golf course in the world, the Old Course is in St Andrews. It hosts the Dunhill Cup each October and, more importantly, the Open Championship every five years with the next scheduled Open to be held in July 2020.

Get in

By plane

The nearest major international airport to St Andrews is at Edinburgh - 51 mi (83 km), approximately 60 minutes from St Andrews by train or car. From the airport take any transportation to Haymarket (Edinburgh) and connect from there by train (see below).

Flights to London are also available from nearby Dundee Airport - 14 mi (23 km).

By train

Wikivoyage has a guide to Rail travel in the United Kingdom.

The nearest train station is at Leuchars, about 10 km away. It is served by trains from Edinburgh (about 1 hour, costs £13.50 single or £17.10 off-Peak return) and Dundee / Aberdeen. There are some direct trains from London.

To connect to St Andrews take a bus close to the train station. These buses take about 10 min and cost £2.80 single or £5.05 return (combined train+bus tickets are available).

Taxi service is available at Leuchars and it will cost about £12 to reach the centre of St Andrews.

By bus

Stagecoach Fife operates buses to St Andrews. From Dundee take Stagecoach Buses 99 or 96 which cost £4.70. From Edinburgh (long distance Bus Station at St. Andrew Square) you can take the direct Stagecoach Bus X59 which leaves about every hour, takes about 1h 50min and costs £10.80 single and £14.40 return (with free WiFi).

By bicycle

The National Route 1 goes through Leuchars, Guardbridge and St Andrews. This stretch is separated from the road, but shared with (rarely occurring) pedestrians.

Get around

The town is small enough that it is simplest to walk. Taxis are also available (taxi ranks are located on an street connecting Market Street to South Street called Bell Street, outside Holy Trinity Church on South Street and also at the bus station). Bus services link some of the outlying areas, operated by Stagecoach Fife .

There is a Park & Ride scheme, where visitors can leave their cars outside of the town in a large carpark, and take a bus into the town centre, though it is easier to walk the 200 metres or so from the outlying carpark to the high street. It is very difficult, and expensive, to park in the town. A parking voucher system operates in the town centre—these are in the form of 'scratch-cards' and can be purchased from shops displaying purple signs . There is also a complex one-way system, resulting in it taking longer to drive from one part of the town centre to another than it would to walk.


St Andrews Cathedral
St Andrews from the West Sands


The Isle of May from Crail


The University of St. Andrews was founded in 1413 and is the oldest university in Scotland. Today it is a bustling university of approximately 7,000 students, with its most famous recent alumnus being Prince William, who studied Art History at the university from 2001-2005. Its campus, which is spread throughout downtown St. Andrews, features many interesting historical buildings, including the 16th Century St. Salvator's Chapel. It offers degree programmes in humanities, social sciences, divinity, sciences and medicine.


Golf souvenirs, accessories, and equipment can be purchased in many shops around the town, with several specialist shops near to the Old Course, including the prestige outlets within the Old Course Hotel's shopping arcade. Numerous tourist-friendly shops line Market Street, South Street, North Street, and The Links in central St Andrews. Shops primarily feature golf paraphernalia, Scottish souvenirs, and wool products.

There are a number of high-street stores in St. Andrews, including Monsoon, Waterstones, Currys, Boots and others, all of which are primarily located on Market Street.

The town has two supermarkets: the fairly small and busy Tesco Metro (situated on Market Street), and Morrisons ̈(situated further out of the town at the end of Largo Road̠). There is a butcher's shop and a greengrocer on South Street (West Port end), a fishmonger is further along South Street who also sells game, a café that sells a variety of delicious scones (in Bell Street), delicatessen stores, and a health food store.


If you have the opportunity, indulge in "chips and cheese" from one of the small fish and chips shops. You will find yourself enjoying steak fries smothered in salt, vinegar, and melted cheese, the perfect snack if you've just emerged from one of the nearby pubs.





St Andrews features several quaint pubs, many of which are taken over by university students in the evenings during the academic year. Pubs worth buying a pint in include Ma Bell's, The Criterion, The Oak Rooms, The Raisin, The Lizard Lounge, The West Port, and The Victoria ("the Vic").


There are many Bed and Breakfasts and Guest Houses in St Andrews, most of which are centrally located. The majority of these in Murray Park and Murray Place. Prices are generally in the £25-35 range per person per night.




Stay safe

St Andrews is one of the safest places in the world, with practically a non-existent crime rate. General caution, however, applies, as it does anywhere.


There are internet facilities in Costa Coffee (Market Street, opposite the fountain). If you have your own laptop, though, there are wireless facilities in many other cafés, pubs and restaurants: Taste, Starbucks, Beanscene, The Byre Bistro, The Rule, The Westport, and Zest Juicing to name but a few.

St Andrews is over run with payphones, which take coins and cards (and you can also surf the web in some). They're the cheapest way to call other landlines in the UK (unless you have access to a private number).


There is a municipal gym in the East Sands Leisure Centre (off the east sands) which also has a swimming pool. For the more deluxe option, you can indulge yourself at the Old Course or Fairmont St Andrews hotels. University students tend to patronise the University Sports Centre on the North Haugh.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, September 15, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.