15 Best Things To Do In St Andrews, Scotland

15 Best Things To Do In St Andrews, Scotland

By will

St Andrews, Scotland is an amazing place to visit. It’s filled with beautiful architecture, stunning landscapes, and a wide range of activities to do. Whether you’re looking to get active, explore some history, or just relax, St Andrews has something for everyone.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the best things to do in St Andrews, Scotland. From visiting the ruins of St Andrews Cathedral to taking a stroll along St Andrews beach, there’s plenty to keep you busy.

So, come along and let’s explore the top 15 things to do in St Andrews, Scotland!

Visit the Ruins of St Andrews Cathedral

Ruins of St Andrews Cathedral
Photo by Dave Fergusson

Visiting the ruins of St Andrews Cathedral is a must-do if you’re in Scotland – it’s a chance to explore a fascinating piece of history! The cathedral was built in 1158 and was the largest in Scotland, as well as a major pilgrimage site. Its importance was demonstrated when it was chosen to host the signing of the Treaty of Perth in 1266, which ended the Norwegian occupation of the Western Isles.

Today, visitors can explore the ruins, which still stand to a height of around 90 feet, and learn about its history. The grounds also include the St Rule’s Tower, which offers stunning views of the city and coastline.

St Andrews Cathedral is a great way to get an insight into Scotland’s past and to appreciate the natural beauty of the area.

Take a Stroll Along St Andrews Beach

St Andrews
Photo by Bill Kasman

Soaking up the sun and salty air, a stroll along St Andrews Beach is a must-see for anyone visiting the area.

And there is no better place to take in the stunning views of the Fife coast.

The beach stretches for nearly three miles and provides spectacular views of the North Sea.

Its golden sands are dotted with rock pools, making it a perfect spot for exploring.

Visitors can also spot some amazing wildlife, such as seabirds, seals, and even dolphins.

The beach is well maintained and is one of the area’s most popular tourist attractions.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic stroll or a family outing, St Andrews Beach is sure to provide a memorable experience.

Explore the West Sands

West Sands, St Andrews
Photo by Graeme Yuill

Take a walk along the picturesque West Sands and enjoy the beautiful scenery of St Andrews in Scotland.

This beach is a must-see for anyone visiting St Andrews, as it’s one of the most picturesque spots in the town.

The beach is almost two miles long and 30 meters wide, with stunning views of the North Sea and St Andrews Bay.

It is also the beach where the famous opening scene from Chariots of Fire was filmed.

Walking along the West Sands is an incredible experience, as the long stretch of beach and its stunning backdrop make it a great place for reflecting and enjoying the views.

It’s also a great place for a romantic stroll, as the sand and seascape are perfect for some quality time with your significant other.

Be sure to take your camera, as the views from the beach are truly breathtaking.

Admire the Splendor of St Rule’s Tower

Be amazed by the grandeur of St Rule’s Tower, an iconic landmark in St Andrews, Scotland. Sitting atop the ruins of the former St Andrews Cathedral, St Rule’s Tower is a must-see for visitors to this historic town.

The tower was built in the 12th century and stands at more than 30 meters tall. Its striking architecture dominates the landscape of the town, and it’s a great spot for taking in the spectacular views of the surrounding area.

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The interior of the tower features a winding staircase leading up to the top, where visitors can enjoy stunning panoramas of the Firth of Tay. There’s also a small museum inside the tower, showcasing artifacts from the cathedral’s history.

And if you’re brave enough, you can also take a climb up the narrow spiral stairwell to the top for some truly breathtaking views. St Rule’s Tower is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who visit.

Go Shopping in the Town Centre

Enjoy the bustling atmosphere of the town centre in St Andrews, Scotland, where you can find a variety of shops, cafés, and restaurants.

From quaint boutiques to big-name brands, there’s something for everyone.

Take a leisurely stroll through the cobbled streets of the town centre and explore the unique shops.

You can find everything from local crafts and traditional Scottish clothing, to top of the range golf equipment and souvenirs to take home.

There’s also a great selection of cafés and restaurants to enjoy, where you can sample some of the local cuisine.

Whether you’re looking for a light bite or a sit-down meal, you’re sure to find something to tantalize your taste buds.

With its charming atmosphere and wide selection of shops and eateries, the town centre of St Andrews is the perfect place to spend an afternoon.

Experience the Unique Atmosphere of St Andrews Castle

Leaving the hustle and bustle of the town centre behind, I took a few moments to take in the unique atmosphere of St Andrews Castle. Built in the 12th century, the Castle is one of the most iconic and historically significant sites in Scotland.

It is now open to the public for visitors to explore and experience its atmosphere and history.

Stepping through the castle walls, I was immediately struck by the atmosphere of the place. Although it has been through many wars and sieges, the castle remains in remarkable condition. I felt as if I had gone back in time as I explored the castle grounds and walked through its ancient corridors.

I also learned about the many stories and legends associated with the castle, which made my visit even more enjoyable.

All in all, a visit to St Andrews Castle is a must-do for anyone visiting the area.

Visit the British Golf Museum

Exploring the British Golf Museum is an unforgettable experience, giving visitors a unique insight into the history and evolution of the sport. It’s located within the grounds of the Old Course in St Andrews, Scotland, making it a must-visit for any golf enthusiast.

The museum provides an interactive journey through the history of the sport, with interactive displays, videos, and a vast collection of artifacts from the game’s earliest days. Visitors can learn about the development of the sport, and the many personalities that have shaped it.

Additionally, the museum includes a library and a café, making it a great place to spend an afternoon.

The British Golf Museum is an important landmark for the people of St Andrews, and it should be on your list of things to do when visiting the town. Here, you can gain a better understanding and appreciation for the game, and the culture and history that has shaped it.

Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a curious visitor, the museum has something to offer everyone. With its interactive displays, fascinating artifacts, and engaging atmosphere, the British Golf Museum is an experience you won’t soon forget.

Play a Round on the Old Course

Playing a round on the Old Course is an unforgettable experience, offering a chance to walk in the footsteps of some of golf’s greatest players. The Old Course is a classic links course, located right in the heart of St. Andrews, and is the oldest continually used golf course in the world.

The course features wide fairways, deep bunkers, and undulating greens, all of which combine to make it a challenging yet incredibly rewarding experience. The Old Course is also home to the famous Swilcan Bridge, which is a must-see for any golfer visiting St. Andrews. This famous stone bridge has been a fixture of the course since the 15th century, and remains a central part of the Old Course.

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In addition to its historical significance, the bridge offers a great photo opportunity and a chance to capture the essence of golfing in Scotland.

The Old Course is a great way to experience golf in St. Andrews, and provides a unique opportunity to enjoy the beauty and challenge of the game in a truly special setting. Whether you’re a casual golfer or a seasoned pro, playing a round on the Old Course is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

Have a Pint at the Dunvegan Hotel

After a long day on the Old Course, there’s no better place to unwind than the Dunvegan Hotel. Located in the heart of St Andrews, the Dunvegan Hotel is the perfect spot to have a refreshing pint and relax.

The hotel has been a staple in the community for over 150 years, and features a warm and cozy atmosphere, making it the perfect spot for locals and visitors alike.

You can relax with your friends and family around the fire, or take a seat at the bar to chat with the friendly staff. The Dunvegan Hotel offers an extensive selection of beers, wines, and spirits.

You can also sample some of their delicious pub food, such as their famous fish and chips. After a delicious meal, you can even enjoy a game of darts or pool, or simply just soak up the atmosphere and take in the sights of St Andrews.

Visit the Aquarium

For a fun day out, why not check out the Aquarium of the Firth of Forth? Located in the heart of St Andrews, this unique aquarium is home to a variety of captivating marine animals, including seahorses, rays, and colorful fish.

Visitors to the aquarium can learn about the diverse creatures that inhabit the Firth of Forth, as well as the ocean and coastal ecosystems of Scotland. The staff are very knowledgeable and friendly, and can help answer any questions you may have.

The Aquarium of the Firth of Forth also has a wide range of activities and events, from talks and workshops to film screenings and arts and crafts activities. There is something for everyone, including interactive exhibits, touch tanks, and special events.

Whether you’re a keen marine biologist or just looking for a fun and educational experience, the Aquarium of Firth of Forth is sure to have something to keep you entertained.

Take a Boat Tour of the Harbour

Exploring St Andrews’ bustling harbour by boat is an exciting way to get a closer look at the area’s stunning coastline. On a boat tour, you can get up close and personal with the harbour’s lighthouses, wildlife, and spectacular views of the Firth of Forth.

From the boat, you’ll be able to see the rolling hills, lush green fields, and stunning cliffs of the East Neuk of Fife. You may even be able to spot a few of the local seals, porpoises, and seabirds that call the harbour home.

The boat tour also offers an opportunity to learn about the history of St Andrews and its harbour. As you cruise along, the tour guide will share stories about the harbour’s past, from its first lighthouse built in 1665 to its key role in the coal industry. You’ll also get to see some of the famous landmarks of the area, from the ruined St Andrews Castle to the iconic St Andrews Cathedral.

By the end of the tour, you’ll have a new appreciation for the harbour and its incredible beauty.

Experience the Nightlife of St Andrews

From the lively pubs and restaurants to the vibrant nightlife, St Andrews has something to offer for everyone looking to have a good time. Whether you’re looking for a place to grab a pint with some friends or want to experience the town’s nightlife, St Andrews has plenty of options.

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There are lots of great pubs, bars, and restaurants to choose from, each with their own unique atmosphere and style. Head to the West Port for a night of live music and entertainment, or take a stroll along Market Street to enjoy some of the traditional pubs in town.

If you’re up for a night of dancing, St Andrews has plenty of nightclubs that offer everything from classic 80s tunes to the latest chart-toppers. The town also hosts frequent music festivals, so keep an eye out for upcoming events.

No matter what your tastes are, there’s something for everyone in St Andrews when it comes to nightlife and entertainment. So grab your friends and get ready for a night out in this vibrant Scottish town.

Visit the Botanic Garden

Discovering the beauty of the Botanic Garden in St Andrews offers a unique opportunity to experience nature in all its glory. The Botanic Garden is home to a wide variety of plants from all over the world, and visitors can take a leisurely walk through the grounds and appreciate the diversity of species.

The Garden also has a wonderful collection of sculptures, which add to the atmosphere. There are plenty of seating areas, picnic spots, and benches for visitors to take a break and admire the surroundings.

The Botanic Garden also offers educational opportunities, with talks and activities for adults and children alike. The Garden also offers courses and workshops, covering topics such as plant propagation and identification, as well as a range of guided walks.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful stroll or a learning experience, the Botanic Garden in St Andrews is sure to provide something to suit everyone’s tastes.

View the Picturesque St Andrews Cathedral

Stunningly situated atop a hill, St Andrews Cathedral is a magnificent sight to behold. Built in the 12th century, it is the oldest surviving building in Scotland.

It is an impressive Gothic-style structure with a large central tower and two smaller towers at the west end. Inside, its interior features a stunningly tall nave and a grand altar. The cathedral is rich in history, having been a popular destination for pilgrims in medieval times. It has also been the site of several important events, including the marriage of Princess Margaret in the 1950s and the coronation of Mary Queen of Scots in 1543.

It is an important symbol of Scotland’s past and a must-see destination for any visit to St Andrews.

The exterior of the cathedral is also worth a visit. Its walls are surrounded by a grassy lawn and a cobblestone walkway. The view from the top of the hill is especially breathtaking, offering a panoramic view of the city and the surrounding countryside.

The grounds of the cathedral are also home to several sculptures, including a statue of St Andrew with his cross. Visitors can also explore the many tombs and gravestones scattered around the grounds. The beauty and history of St Andrews Cathedral make it an essential part of any visit to this beautiful city.

Sample the Local Cuisine at a Pub or Restaurant

Exploring the city of St Andrews is not complete without sampling the delicious local cuisine. The city is full of pubs and restaurants that serve traditional Scottish dishes like haggis, neeps and tatties, fish and chips, and Cullen skink.

For those with a sweet tooth, St Andrews has a wide range of desserts, including Dundee cake, shortbread, and cranachan. Whether you’re looking for a full meal, a light snack, or a sweet treat, you’re sure to find something to satisfy your appetite in St Andrews.

If you want to experience the local pub culture, St Andrews has plenty of traditional pubs to choose from. Here, you can enjoy a meal while listening to live music or chatting with the friendly locals. No matter what you choose, you can be sure that you’ll be experiencing some of the best that St Andrews has to offer.


St Andrews is a charming little town with plenty of activities for everyone. It’s a great place to relax and explore the beauty of Scotland, with stunning beaches, a vibrant nightlife, and plenty of historic sites.

I found the ruins of St Andrews Cathedral especially captivating, and the views from St Rule’s Tower were simply breathtaking.

All in all, it’s a great place to spend a few days, and I definitely recommend it for anyone looking to experience Scotland in all its glory.

About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.