St. Andrews Stories and Tips

A Good Walk Not Spoiled

The best way to see and get the true flavor of St. Andrews is to walk it. The town is not that big and there's a lot to see, especially some very old historic architecture. Visit this website for a very good map to use as a guide:

Start as we did, walking from the Old Course Hotel, up towards the 18th hole and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club. The R & A is not open to the public except on St. Andrews Day, but the architecture is very interesting to look at and lots of people like to be photographed in front of it. Continue to the east and behind the R & A to Bow Butts, a grassy area that used to be an archery range. Located here are three sights of interest - Martyr's Monument, obelisk of Martyrs' Monument, erected in memory of four St. Andrews martyrs ... Patrick Hamilton, Henry Forrest, Paul Craw and Walter Myln; who were each burned at the stake for their beliefs; the British Golf Museum and the Sea Life Center. 

From there, walk over to take a look at the Best Western Scores Hotel (76 The Scores), where many of the world's famous golfers have stayed before they were famous.

Since it was fall, as we walked by Hamilton Hall at St. Andrews University, we saw parents unloading the belongings of their children who were students there. The residence hall has now been converted into 115 luxury timeshares named the St. Andrews Grand. Now there's a time share worth having.

Continuing up The Scores, you will see the University Library and other buildings. You will then come to the Castle Visitor's Centre. Stop in here to buy tickets for the castle and cathedral. (More about that in separate entries.) After touring the castle, cathedral, walking down to a beach below the castle, climbing St. Rule's Tower, and locating graves of famous golfers in the cemetery, it might be time for a wee bite to eat. We had lunch at a restaurant a friend had told my husband about (see entry for Number 33) on South Street.

After lunch, I tried very hard to photograph the ruins of Blackfriars Chapel on South Street. I did not have success due to some buses being parked obstructing a clean view. (Photo Tip: Shots of historic sites are much more interesting if they are devoid of any modern things and also have no modern people in them.) Blackfriars Chapel is all that remains of a once large monastery on the site which now includes Madras College, a high school. The Blackfriars were established in St. Andrews by Bishop William Wishart and were known for their white robes with black crosses.

We continued along Market Street and down some side streets, stopping in various shops that interested us (OK, mostly me). This enables one to check out not only the shops catering to tourists, but to go off the beaten path into the shops that the locals use. In doing so, you might find that unexpected and unique souvenir. (See Shopping off the Beaten Path entry.)

On the way back to the hotel, we take note of a restaurant called "The Vine Leaf" that we thought we might like to eat at later in our visit. It had a very gourmet menu offering. Unfortunately, they were full for dinner the remainder of our stay.

I spotted a westie napping in the window of an apartment/town-home and take unique photos I might not have caught otherwise.

This walk was almost perfect, except for a brief afternoon rain shower. A reminder that no matter how sunny the sky looks, always carry an umbrella when in Scotland.

Been to this destination?

Share Your Story or Tip