Things to do in St Andrews
St Andrews is famously known around the world as the Home of Golf. Everybody has heard of the Old Course, but there are ten other courses as well!
St Andrews Links Trust: Despite their hallowed reputation, the links here are public golf courses, open to all. An Act of Parliament in 1974 created the St Andrews Links Trust to preserve and enhance these public golfing rights. The Trust currently operates six courses on the links – the world-renowned Old Course, the New Course (established in 1895), the Jubilee (1897), the Eden (1914), the Strathtyrum (1993) and the nine-hole Balgove. A seventh – The Castle Course – has been built in a panoramic coastal setting to the south of the town.
Visit their website to find out about the various ways to book a round of golf on the Old Course.
If the St Andrews Links courses are not enough, St Andrews also boasts four others of the highest quality: the challenging Duke’s Course which lies just inland of the town, the spectacular Kittocks and Torrance Courses at the Fairmont St Andrews, and the stunning Kingsbarns Golf Links.
Each of these venues has a superb clubhouse and other golfing amenities. They all welcome visiting players throughout the year, allowing them to experience for themselves the unique magic and tradition of playing at St Andrews.
If you would rather have your St Andrews golf experience arranged for you, there are many golf tour operators who can offer a professional and knowledgeable service. VisitScotland’s golf site provides all the details.
For a completely different type of St Andrews golfing experience, the Kingarrock Golf Course offers visitors the chance to play with original hickory clubs and period-style equipment. Enjoy the authentic ambience of playing on a beautiful course which enjoyed its heyday in the 1920s, all set within the grounds of a National Trust property.
Right beside the world-famous Old Course sits “The Himalayas” putting green (normally open April to September) where anyone and everyone can enjoy the experience of St Andrews golf, with absolutely no experience needed! The undulating course is owned by St Andrews Ladies’ Putting Club, so is sometimes used for organised competitions, but at most times it’s open to the public.
Sports and Activities
As you’ve probably heard, St Andrews has one or two golf courses! But you might not be aware just how many other sports and activities are also on offer. Here’s just a selection:
St Andrews West Sands is a popular location for sports including traction kiting, land yachting, beach kayaking, ZapCatting and more, with these activities normally taking place with a designated zone towards the beach’s northern end.
A network of cycling routes has been established both within St Andrews and across the whole of Fife, as part of the Kingdom of Fife Cycleways network. Bikes can be hired locally – from Spokes Bike Shop on South Street – allowing the more energetic to explore the beautiful coast and countryside.
Guided Walking Tours
St Andrews offers a good selection, including Medieval Murder Mystery Tours, Mystical St Andrews, Official Old Course Walking Tours, St Andrews Phototours and St Andrews Witches Tours.
Horse and Pony Riding
Barbarafield Riding School, a few miles inland, offers riding experiences for all ages, from beginners to experts.
Just five miles’ drive from St Andrews, SkyDive St Andrews offers everything from beginner tandem jumps to accelerated freefall lessons.
You’ll often see enthusiastic local surfers at East Sands – feel free to join them!
Swimming from all of the town’s beach areas is generally safe, with gently-sloping sands running out to sea, but even we wouldn’t claim that the North Sea is warm! You might also consider East Sands Leisure Centre, with its indoor pool, flume and fun aqua inflatable, together with steam room, spa bath, gym, squash court and cafe.
There’s a huge choice of local walks, and we’re planning to add a special walking section to this site in the near future. In the meantime, we recommend the Fife Coastal Path, a great way to experience Fife’s beautiful beaches and villages: start in St Andrews and walk north towards the Tay Bridges to experience the forests, beaches and wildlife of Tentsmuir, or head south in the direction of the East Neuk to enjoy fresh seafood and local art. Routes and maps for over 20 local walks are listed on the excellent (if somewhat misleadingly-titled) WalkHighlands website. If you’d like to stay within the town, an excellent St Andrews Walks booklet can be downloaded.
Choose from a host of exciting activities offered by Blown Away (at West Sands in St Andrews), or – just round the coast – East Neuk Outdoors and Elie Watersports provide every imaginable water-based pursuit including windsurfing, dinghy sailing, canoeing, pedal boats, water-skiing and more!