St Andrews is one of the best stops on your Scotland Road Trip Itinerary
Not being an avid golfer, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this golfing kingdom, St Andrews and including it on my Scotland road trip itinerary. Naive of me to think this charming Scottish hamlet was exclusively for the closet Arnie Palmers in the world. There is in fact so much to see and so much to absorb. Here are our 2 cents on the lovely spot where William and Kate met, where a prestigious British university is located, and where anyone can emulate the famous race in Chariots of Fire along the beach.
St Andrews Fun Facts
- St Andrews University is the oldest in all of Scotland.
- Named after St Andrew the biblical apostle.
- Known as the home of golf thanks to the oldest golf club that opened in 1754.
- The Royal and Ancient Golf Club (the one that opened in 1754) is the most used venue for the oldest of all golf championship events – the Open.
- The town that stands today dates back to the early 1100’s
- There are nearly 17,000 residents who call St Andrews home as of 2016.
- The opening scene of the film Chariots of Fire was filmed here.
- The West Sands Beach in St Andrews was shown in the 2012 Olympic opening ceremonies.
- Tiger Woods is a notable winner of the open golf tournament held here between years 2000-2005.
- Singer KT Tunstall was born in Edinburgh, but was adopted and raised in St Andrews Scotland.
- Prince William and Kate Middleton are both alumni from St Andrews University.
A Scotland Road Trip Itinerary MUST…Especially for Golfers
St Andrews has made itself famous for hosting many a celebrity and monarch with its beautiful golf courses, resorts and tournaments. Playing by the water and seeing the lush landscapes would make anyone fall in love with the character of this small village.
Book a Tour: St Andrews Ghost Tours
Quaint with various souvenir shops and coffee shops (even a Starbucks), St Andrews has that Scottish charm you look for within every town on the way to the beautiful highlands. You can easily pick up that lovely golf scarf (available in many a tartan!) for your closet Arnie Palmers back home along with a box of Scottish shortbread for when you have a case of the road trip munchies. If you are not an avid golfer, don’t worry. There are other attractions here to make your visit worthwhile including the campus grounds of St Andrews University.
St Andrews University – a Must see on your Scotland Road Trip Itinerary
St. Andrews University is ranked #3 in the most prestigious post-secondary institutions in the UK behind Oxford and Cambridge. This beautiful university royalists will especially appreciate as it not only has world-class education, but also marks the bringing of Prince William and Kate Middleton together. It was at this university where they met for the first time and British history was made. Be sure to stop into the university official shop to purchase campus apparel and souvenirs to remind you of your historic visit. They have a large array of jumpers, sweats, coats, scarves, hats and more for both men and women.
Chariots of Fire
Another interesting touristy piece of information and photo opportunity lies on the sands of the beach just outside the golf course. Be sure to take a stroll, or even leisurely jog to emulate the racing scene from the Oscar-winning movie “Chariots of Fire,” as it was shot here. As you run in slow motion you can hear the theme song of the movie ringing in your ears; definitely a Kodak moment of your Scotland trip that is truly magical.
Other Sites in St Andrews on your Scotland Road Trip Itinerary
St Andrews Cathedral
A religious staple in the heart of the village, this Catholic church built in 1158’s remaining ruins are a definite photographic dream on your Scotland road trip itinerary. Sadly it became unused in the 16th century when Catholicism was outlawed in Scotland during the reformation. Historic Scotland has adopted the iconic landmark that is dripping with history ensuring travellers and locals appreciate its medieval feel and charm within the village.
Fun Fact: It is believed that partial remains of Saint Andrew, the Christian apostle are buried here!
St Andrews Castle
A castle that has been on this earth for more than 450 years, St Andrews Castle is a historian’s dream. Riddled with a ruin past during the protestant reformation, the castle brings not only a symbol of some of Scotland’s trying history, but also the charm of architecture expected when exploring the country.
Learn about the siege in medieval times that is told to have been the scene of a murder, exiling, and imprisonment of protestant bishops and cardinals during the reformation era.
Take a tour, photograph the grounds, and simply absorb the nearly half a millennium of sordid history within this royal building.
The St Andrews Golf Museum
Are you really that surprised that St Andrews Scotland would be the home for a golf museum? Well, this incredible little spot is full of history, artifacts, and the largest collection of golf memorabilia in Europe. It is attached to the famous golf course and offers tours and visits daily.
The St Andrews Botanical Gardens
Botanical Gardens are such beautiful areas to explore. Housing internationally acclaimed species both prolific and endangered, the St Andrews Botanical Gardens lend a wonderful spot to take a break for a few hours on your Scotland road trip itinerary.
It was indeed thrilling to visit St. Andrews, the meeting place of the future king and queen, set location of an Oscar-winning movie, and where champion golfers, past and present, have played the games of their lives. No matter how long you have, St Andrews has wonderful sites, tumultuous history to learn, and great cafes to take a break between golf swings. Make sure you stop here on your Scotland road trip itinerary. You will be glad you did.
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