**Updated : December 2023**
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What to Know Before Your VIsit
Before you visit Scotland, you might be wondering what you need to know before you book your trip. To be quite honest, Scotland is one of the easiest and most comfortable places we've traveled - and it's easily one of our favorites too! If you're planning to go, then we've listed some things you might want to know below! If you're more interested in adding some things to do to your itinerary while in St. Andrews, then go ahead and scroll to the bottom!
11 Best Things to Do at St. Andrews
1. St. Andrews Castle
Built around 1200, the St. Andrews Castle sits on a beautiful cliffside overlooking the Castle Sands Beach and North Sea. At £8 per person, the castle is open to visitors from 10 am to 4 pm (slightly longer hours in the summer season), and at one point in history it was a fortress, palace, and state prison. Honestly, the views themselves are worth a stop.
2. St. Andrews Cathedral
Just down the road from the St. Andrews Castle is the St. Andrews Cathedral - and although now it's mostly just a ruins and cemetary, during your visit you can learn all about what was once Scotland's largest medieval church. Admission tickets are £7.50 per adult.
3. St. Andrews Old Course
Chances are, you've already heard of the infamous St. Andrews Old Golf Course - and if you take a stroll throughout town near the course itself, then you'll notice the many golf stores and golf clubs rooted throughout the area. There's a chance, however, that you might not have known you can actually take a stroll on the golf course grounds themselves every Sunday when it opens up as a public park! You're not allowed on the greens and you can't actually play golf, but this is a fun chance to explore and cross the Swilcan Bridge. Other nearby courses include the St. Andrews New Course and St. Andrews Jubilee Course.
4. West Sands
Right next door to the golf courses in St. Andrews is West Sands - a local beach with plenty of parking and a long stretch of sand. With a local shop that rents equipment for activities like surfing and other water sports, this beach is popular for runners and pet parents. If you're looking for a snack while you're here, make sure to check out the #10 spot on our list!
5. Castle Sands
Closer to the University, Castle and Cathedral in town, Castle Sands is another beach area for people who want to hang out and enjoy the views. Surrounded by cliffs, this smaller beach has larger waves - so it's important to look out for the rogue wave that could carry your things into the North Sea. If you're lucky and visit during Raisin Weekend, you might even see a few "weddings" while you're here!
6. Elie Seaside Sauna
Unfortunately we didn't have the chance to experience these saunas for ourselves, but we're definitely saving them for our next visit to the St. Andrews area! Located a little ways outside of town, the Elie Seaside Saunas are on the other side of the peninsula, about 25 minutes away.
7. Northpoint Cafe
Also known as the spot where William met Kate (as in the Prince William and Princess Kate), this cute, local cafe is frequented by University of St. Andrews students. As a small cafe, seating is limited and it can get very busy - however, we highly recommend waiting it out, they have excellent food and you can even try the famous haggis that Scotland is known for.
8. St. Andrews Heritage Museum and Garden
This free museum and garden is open seasonally, and you can explore the area to learn more about St. Andrews history, quirky traditions, and currently they have an exhibit titled the "Women of St. Andrews" on the upstairs floor. One of the more unique attractions onsite is the doublewide outhouse in the garden - namely, 2 toilet seats right next to each other with no barrier between them. Talk about taking your friendship to a whole other level. They also sell locally made gifts and trinkets, and offer guided tours for £4 each when scheduled in advance.
9. Raisin Weekend
A unique St. Andrew's University tradition, we accidentally visited during the same weekend it was being held. It originally began many many years ago when students would travel home and collect food items (like raisins, oats, etc.) that would get them through the winter. Now, it's evolved into a more outrageous event - where mentor "parents" get married along the shores of Castle Sands and their "children" are given hilarious challenges like keeping an egg safe and inviting guests to the wedding (how we were able to attend). It all ends in one gigantic shaving foam fight on the lawns of Lower College.
10. Cozy Hot Chocolate
Located along the dunes of West Sands beaches, Dook is a super cozy beach shack with yummy hot chocolate, sandwiches, coffee, and other small snacks and desserts. With a large outdoor seating area that overlooks the beach, and has a Cheesy Toast Shack type food truck outside as well!
11. St. Andrews University
Ranked as the top university in the entire UK, this 600 year old private college has many famous alumni like Prince William, Princess Kate, Jonathan Taylor, and many more. The campus itself is worth visiting, with beautiful buildings to admire around every corner.
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