Things to do in St Andrews

About St Andrews

The must-see attractions in Saint Andrews include the historic St Andrews Castle with its dramatic seaside location, the awe-inspiring ruins of St Andrews Cathedral, and the Old Course, known worldwide as the 'Home of Golf'. Also, wander the grounds of the University of St Andrews, one of the oldest and most prestigious in the English-speaking world.
For a fun family day out, visit the Scottish Deer Centre, experience interactive learning at the Saint Andrews Aquarium, or spend a day at Craigtoun Country Park enjoying its many attractions like pedal boats and miniature railway.
Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy golfing at one of the many iconic courses, explore the coastal Lade Braes Walk for a scenic hike, or unwind at the beautiful West Sands Beach. Exploring the gardens and grounds of St Andrews Botanic Garden is also a delightful experience.
Indoors, visitors can explore the artifacts at the British Golf Museum, enjoy a performance at The Byre Theatre, or indulge in a whisky tasting experience at one of the local pubs or distilleries.
The best tours in Saint Andrews include guided historical walks around the city's notable landmarks, a tour of the Old Course for golf fans, and immersive cultural tours that explain the city's rich academic and religious past.
Popular museums include the St Andrews Museum set in the beautiful Kinburn Park and the British Golf Museum which provides a comprehensive history of the game’s origins in Saint Andrews.
On rainy days, opt for indoor tours such as those at the British Golf Museum, St Andrews Museum for local history, or take advantage of the town’s quaint cafes and bookshops for a self-guided literary tour.
Short tours in Saint Andrews that can be completed in 1 hour or less include the St Andrews Castle and Cathedral grounds walk, a self-guided tour of the University of St Andrews, and a quick visit to St Andrews Botanic Garden.

Best Things to Do In Saint Andrews

Embark on a journey of discovery through Saint Andrews, with a host of activities that promise enriching experiences in this historic city.

Saint Andrews: West Sands Beach

What is it?
An expansive, picturesque beach famous for its role in the film 'Chariots of Fire'.
Why you should go?
Immerse yourself in the natural beauty that West Sands Beach has to offer. This extensive stretch of sand provides a perfect setting for a leisurely walk, a spirited game of beach sports, or simply a moment to bask in the serene ambiance. It's one of the top things to do in Saint Andrews, allowing visitors to experience the Scottish coastline's raw beauty. Here, panoramic views of the North Sea meet with opportunities for water activities, making West Summers Beach an essential stop for everyone exploring this historical town.

Saint Andrews: Kingsbarns Golf Links

What is it?
A modern golf link offering a true test to the game's enthusiasts.
Why you should go?
With its dramatic setting along the North Sea coastline, Kingsbarns Golf Links is a noteworthy addition to the area's prestigious golfing landscape. Renowned for its challenging play and stunning vista, the course is a gem for avid golfers seeking to experience one of the best Saint Andrews activities. Engage in the sport's spirit, surrounded by meticulous fairways and undulating greens that perfectly complement the town's historical allure. It is an experience that epitomizes the best of Scottish golf.

Saint Andrews: The Byre Theatre

What is it?
A dynamic cultural hub presenting a diverse array which of theatrical performances.
Why you should go?
The Byre Theatre stands as an eminence in Saint Andrews' cultural scene, boasting top-tier performances that range from drama to concerts, and comedy to dance. For those pondering what to see in Saint Andrews, this theater offers a captivating arts experience with its quality productions that enchant locals and tourists alike. Its inviting ambiance serves as a testament to the town's vibrant performing arts, ensuring a memorable evening that reflects the spirited essence of this historic enclave.

Saint Andrews: The Swilcan Bridge

What is it?
An iconic stone bridge on The Old Course, celebrated in the game of golf.
Why you should go?
Occupying a hallowed spot in the annals of golf, The Swilcan Bridge is a rite of passage for enthusiasts visiting The Old Course. Capture a moment at one of the most famous golf landmarks in the world, with the bridge's storied stone structure offering a tangible connection to the legends who have crossed it. For those looking at what to do in Saint Andrews, a photo op at this timeless landmark is a must, symbolizing not just a rich sporting heritage but also the enduring spirit of the game.
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Saint Andrews: Craigtoun Country Park

What is it?
A family-friendly parkland with attractions and activities for all ages.
Why you should go?
Craigtoun Country Park, a stone's throw away from the heart of Saint Andrews, offers an idyllic escape with its lush landscapes and plethora of recreational options. A verdant haven featuring adventure playgrounds, a miniature railway, and boating, it encapsulates the fun things to do in Saint Andrews for families and solo adventurers alike. Wander through its themed gardens, enjoy a tranquil picnic, and immerse yourself in the natural splendor. This park is an apt reflection of the town's commitment to outdoor leisure and family enjoyment.

Saint Andrews: St Andrews Castle

What is it?
A picturesque historical fortress on the edge of the North Sea.
Why you should go?
Overlooking the azure waters, St Andrews Castle is a striking testament to Scotland's medieval past. Where bishops and nobility once resided, now lies an opportunity for visitors to explore the site's storied tunnels and poignant history. It's a cornerstone among the things to see in Saint Andrews, radiating tales of times when it played a pivotal role in the nation's ecclesiastical disputes and grand encounters. The gripping ruins evoke a sense of the power struggles and intrigue that once dominated this coastal stronghold.

Saint Andrews: The Old Course

What is it?
The world-renowned birthplace of golf.
Why you should go?
Golf enthusiasts will find their pilgrimage complete upon visiting The Old Course, a historic gem and one of the premier places to visit in Saint Andrews. Its hallowed fairways and challenging greens have witnessed the triumphs of legends, making it a must-experience Saint Andrews activity. Even for non-golfers, the majesty of The Old Course is undeniable, offering a lush, expansive backdrop for a serene walk or a chance to absorb the timeless sporting heritage that continues to shape this prestigious town.

Saint Andrews: St Andrews Cathedral

What is it?
A majestic ruin that was once the largest church in Scotland.
Why you should go?
The solemn grandeur that emanates from the St Andrews Cathedral ruins provides a profound window into Scotland's ecclesiastical history. Climbing the spiral staircase to the St Rule's Tower gifts visitors with panoramic vistas of the town and sea, cementing its status as a defining experience among the best things to do in Saint Andrews. Photographers and history buffs alike will revel in the Cathedral's haunting beauty and the layers of history etched into its remaining pillars and arches.

Saint Andrews: University of St Andrews

What is it?
Scotland's oldest university, founded in 1413, brimming with scholastic heritage.
Why you should go?
The University of St Andrews is not only a prestigious institution but also an architectural splendor and a beacon of learning that draws the intellectually curious. Visitors can stroll through its historic quadrangles, attend one of the thought-provoking lectures or events that are often open to the public, and admire the time-honored buildings that have nurtured scholars for centuries. Engaging in Saint Andrews activities such as touring the University is a hallmark for any culturally invested traveler, offering insight into the deep academic traditions that thrive within the city.

Saint Andrews: Botanic Garden

What is it?
A serene oasis home to an array of plant species and peaceful green spaces.
Why you should go?
The Botanic Garden in Saint Andrews is an ideal retreat for nature lovers and those seeking tranquility. Filled with a diverse collection of flora, it is an enchanting spot that showcases the beauty of botany. With themed gardens, glasshouses, and a butterfly house, it offers an educational yet leisurely experience, symbolizing the fun things to do in Saint Andrews. It's a place where visitors can wander through varied landscapes, enjoy a picnic, or simply relax amidst the vibrant blooms and lush foliage, thereby experiencing the calmer, more reflective side of Saint Andrews.

TOP-5 tours in Saint Andrews for first time visitors

  • Explore the ancient ruins and tranquil gardens on a tour that stands as one of the best things to do in Saint Andrews, delving into centuries of history.
  • Indulge in the local culture with Saint Andrews excursions that showcase the vibrant arts scene, a quintessential what to do in Saint Andrews for art lovers.
  • Enjoy interactive Saint Andrews tours featuring the prestigious university, where academic and architectural marvels meet for an unforgettable lesson in heritage.
  • Curate your adventure with tours in Saint Andrews designed around the city's seaside charm, from the legendary golf courses to the picturesque coastline.
  • Uncover the fun things to do in Saint Andrews with family-friendly activities that merge education and entertainment in this beautifully quaint Scottish setting.

Fun things to do in Saint Andrews with kids

Saint Andrews is a treasure trove of family-friendly adventures, with attractions that meld education with exhilaration. Begin with the Saint Andrews Aquarium, where little explorers can come face-to-face with an array of aquatic creatures, from local marine life to exotic reptiles. Interactive feeding sessions and the chance to learn about conservation efforts are highlights, sparking both wonder and wisdom in young minds. The wonders continue at the St Andrews West Sands Beach, an expanse of soft sands perfect for castle building, kite flying, or paddling in the gentle waves. The beach's vastness provides ample space for families to play and relax, with the picturesque scenery serving as a backdrop for cherished holiday snaps. Completing the trio is the enchanting Craigtoun Country Park offering a bounty of activities. Here, children can romp in the adventure playground, ride the miniature railway through sweeping parklands, or delight in a family round of crazy golf. These sites collectively rank among the most enjoyable things to do in Saint Andrews, ensuring that every family visit is etched with joyful memories.

Things to do in Saint Andrews with family

Families venturing to Saint Andrews are greeted with a myriad of engaging attractions that are sure to create lasting memories. The Scottish Deer Centre invites visitors into a wildlife haven where they can observe and learn about various deer species and other creatures, providing a delightful and educational outing. Children can delight in feeding the friendly animals, while the whole family can enjoy a walk on the wild side through the center's scenic trails. Another gem is the St Andrews Castle, with its fascinating underground tunnels and captivating history. Offering an immersive peek into the medieval past, families can engage in a treasure hunt of historical discovery, right at the edge of the stunning Scottish coastline. For a touch of whimsy, the St Andrews Botanic Garden is a spellbinding escape with themed gardens, glasshouses, and ponds teeming with life. Each visit is an opportunity for families to connect with nature, savor the colorful blossoms, and participate in the garden's seasonal events or workshops. These attractions showcase the variety of things to do in Saint Andrews with family, coupling entertainment with cultural enrichment.

Free things to do in Saint Andrews

Saint Andrews, a charming Scottish town, offers an array of free activities that promise to enrich the visiting experience without impacting the travel budget. One of the most notable free attractions is the St Andrews Cathedral Ruins, where visitors can explore the remnants of what was once Scotland’s largest cathedral. Surrounded by historic gravestones and offering stunning views of the North Sea, the site allows for a compelling journey through medieval times. A leisurely stroll through the University of St Andrews is also a must. The university, known as the alma mater of renowned scholars and royalty, welcomes visitors to amble through its ancient quadrants, soaking in the grandeur of historic architecture and the vibrant academic atmosphere for which St Andrews is famed. Lastly, the enchanting Lade Braes Walk is a peaceful nature trail that weaves through the town, offering a tranquil retreat amid lush greenery, flowing streams, and an abundance of wildlife. As one of the best free things to do in Saint Andrews, it provides an ideal opportunity for walking, picnicking, and simply enjoying the great Scottish outdoors.

Cheap things to do in Saint Andrews

Visitors to Saint Andrews can enjoy a wealth of affordable attractions that won't strain the wallet. Immerse yourself in the town's rich history by visiting the St Andrews Museum located in Kinburn Park. With its engaging exhibits on local heritage and its charming Victorian mansion setting, the museum offers a budget-friendly educational experience. The delightful Kinburn Park itself is ready for exploration, complete with a free putting green for a casual round of golf. For those looking to indulge in the natural landscapes, the East Sands Beach offers a cost-effective day out with its golden shores and opportunities for beachcombing, paddling, and watching local fishermen at work. It's a picturesque locale to savor a self-catered picnic while taking in the views of the coastline. Lastly, the St Andrews Preservation Trust Museum presents visitors with an intimate glimpse into the old St Andrews. This small, quaint museum is an absolute gem for learning about the traditional way of life in this historic town, offering free entry with opportunities for donations. Engaging in these inexpensive activities ensures that visitors can appreciate the essence of Saint Andrews without compromising on the quality of attractions.

Things to do in Saint Andrews for couples

Saint Andrews, with its enchanting atmosphere and picturesque settings, provides a romantic backdrop for couples seeking memorable experiences together. Begin your journey with a leisurely walk along the West Sands Beach. Hand in hand, breathe in the fresh sea air and savor the uninterrupted views that have inspired poets and painters. The expansive sands offer a tranquil space for amorous strolls or watching the sunset. Adding a hint of culture to the romantic getaway, couples can visit the historical St Andrews Castle. Meander through the ruins, unearth the love stories of the past, and perhaps steal a kiss atop the castle walls. The panoramic ocean views make it a spectacular spot to capture a few photographic memories. For an intimate escape to nature, the St Andrews Botanic Garden is a haven of tranquility. Wander through beautifully landscaped gardens, discover secluded spots amongst lush greenery, and marvel at the diverse plant life. The peaceful surroundings are ideal for couples to enjoy each other's company in a serene environment.

Things to do in Saint Andrews at night

Discover the nocturnal charm of Saint Andrews, where night-time activities present their own unique allure. An evening spent at The Byre Theatre promises cultural enrichment and entertainment, with a line-up of plays, musical performances, and live comedy shows. The venue, renowned for its high-caliber productions, offers couples and friends alike a sophisticated night out in this historic town. For those seeking a social vibe, Saint Andrews' array of traditional Scottish pubs and cozy bars provide the perfect setting for a relaxed evening. Enjoy a pint of local ale, sample some of the finest Scotch whisky, and listen to live folk music, all while mingling with both locals and fellow travelers. Adventurous spirits might embark on a nighttime tour of the town's historic sites, such as the St Andrews Cathedral ruins, where the past seems to come alive under the moonlight. The ghostly silhouettes of the ancient stones offer a hauntingly romantic backdrop, creating a memorable end to the day’s explorations in Saint Andrews.