St Andrews Travel Guide

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Thursday night in Broons

Thursday night in Broons

Andrew Cassels

St. Andrew's is an eclectic town busling with tourists, students and golf zealots alike. Located 50 miles north of Edinburgh, this university town has a lot to offer in a relatively small setting. The heart of the city extends only for a few blocks along North Street, Market Street, and South Street, so it easy to walk around the city, see the St Andrews University buildings and other sights, and decide which restaurant or pub to try.

Golfers make pilgrimages to the Old Course and to the nearby golf museum, while movie buffs might want to stroll along the West Sands, where the opening scene of Chariots of Fire was filmed.

St Andrews was the center of Scotland's religious life for centuries; St Andrews Castle was once the archbishop's palace and was the site of notable murders and martyrdoms during the Reformation.

You can explore the ruins of the Castle and, if you're not claustrophobic, you can creep through its ancient tunnels. St Andrews Cathedral is also in ruins, but the remaining walls and towers are dramatic frames for photographers and interesting fodder for historians.

St Rule's Tower, built around 1130, is still standing; you can climb to the top of the tower for panoramic views of the city, the golf courses, and the surrounding country.

For the tourist there is the treat of intermingling with centuries of history embedded in St.Andrews religious, academic and social life.  At one time this was an epi-center of religious learning and  power that killed the famous and outspoken George Wishart who was burned at the stake outside St Andrew's Castle.  Many remains of monastries and religious houses along the Southern embankements of the River Tay between Perth and Dundee evidence peoples' journeys from Europe to reach St.Andrews because it was so religiously and politically important. So few people discover these treasures outside of St. Andrews.  

The rich and famous compete to have their children educated in the ancient halls of St.Andrew's academia most notably Prince William of the British Royal family.

Visiting the birthplace of golf is a rite of passage for most golfing enthusiasts and they won't be disappointed with the Royal and Ancient golf course and club house. Its majestic views of the flat beachs and North sea make it a spiritual discovery even if you have never discovered the religion of golf.  Unfortunately, a waiting list and a nice fee stands in your way of playing the course.

Probably the best part of St. Andrews is that everything is so close together.  Walking distance is truly walking distance.  You can see ancient buildings, religious relics, the castle complete with dungeon, George Wishart's burning site, the fishing port and quaint cottages, a host of shops, the famous golf course, the beaches (host to films like Chariots of fire), the sealife center, and not to mention the host of authentic places to eat and drink day and night.  This town is very hard to equal in experience.

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