Last weekend, Andrew and I decided to take a little trip with two new friends to St Andrews for a few obvious reasons.
- This is where Prince William and Kate went to college. 👑
- It’s the birthplace of golf. ⛳️
- John Knox, Samuel Rutherford, & NT Wright (Andrew’s heros…sorta) 👴
- There’s a castle. 🏰
- We had a free Saturday and we’re already here, so why not? 🚍
From Edinburgh, St Andrews is a very easy day trip. We could have taken the train from Edinburgh to Leuchers Train Station, which is about 5 miles away from St Andrews, but we decided to take the bus so we would be dropped off in the main tourist areas.
We took the bus from Princes Street (Stop PU) around 9:30am on a Saturday. Tickets can be bought from the bus driver and we were pleasantly surprised to get a “3 for 2″ deal for our bus tickets since we were traveling with another couple. A roundtrip bus ticket from Edinburgh to St Andrews is £10.40 per person so we saved about £10 for all 4 of us from the discount. Sweet. 😄
The ride itself took about an hour and a half. We arrived at the St Andrews bus station around 11am and like a few other public restrooms here, you have to pay to use the restroom there.
From the bus station, we first headed to the Old Course at St Andrews, which was only a few blocks away from the station. The Old Course is the oldest golf courses in the world and is even considered to be the “home of golf” because the sport was first played on the Links at St Andrews in the early 15th century. When we got there, the was a golf tournament going on so we couldn’t get on the course to take a picture on the the iconic Swilcan Bridge so we took one from afar and instead took a picture with the trophy.
On the other side of the Old Course, is the St Andrews Ladies’ Putting Club’s Himalayas Putting Course, we went for a round on their 9-hole putting course. Their website and sign said that it costs £3 for a round (includes a ball and putter), but they only asked for £2 each from us so I’m not really sure how much it really costs. The putting course is basically a mini-golfing course, but without the windmills and castles in the way. We can at least say that we went for a round in St Andrews.
After our awesome round of golf, we headed to the University of St Andrews and walked around the area, taking in the experience Prince William and Duchess Kate might have walked. It was beautiful. We found a bench and ate our lunches there. The University of St Andrews is the third oldest university in the English-speaking world and was founded in 1410. It’s so crazy because that’s 82 years before the Americas were even found! Isn’t that so crazy?
After lunch, we continued our walk around the campus and found ourselves at the ruins of the St Andrews Cathedral. The ruins were very impressive and it’s so it is so amazing that these buildings were built almost 1,000 years ago, to this grandeur. Samuel Rutherford, one of the four main Scottish Commissioners to contribute to formulating the Westminster Confession of Faith is buried here.
Then, we headed over to the St Andrews Castle. The castle overlooks the North Sea and is another beautiful ruin to visit. As an American, our history is only about 250 years old. As a Californian, the history is only about 150 years old. This castle was built in the 10th century, a couple hundred years before the Reformation! St Andrews Castle is where the bishops lived, Scotland’s church leaders during the Middle Ages. I wonder what life would be like if church leaders lived in castles today… During the Scottish Reformation, it became a prison and became the location of the first Protestant congregation in Scotland. We paid £5.50 each to go into the Castle, where you can go into the mines, these underground tunnels that give you a feel of what medieval siege warfare might have been like. John Knox is said to have been imprisoned there. It was fun exploring, but it also would have been fun to boulder some of those ruins.
We continued our walk to down South Street, St Andrews main street. Of course no day trip is complete without ice cream for us, so we found Jannettas Gelateria, a 4-generation old (since 1908) gelato place. There was a long line when we arrived and about 40 flavors, including uniquely Scottish flavors like “Sky Blue” and “Elderflower,” but we ended up getting Oreo and Ferrero Rocher, which was good. Quality at Mary’s Milk Bar was better, but this place definitely had every single flavor you can possibly imagine.
We continued walking around the area and found ourselves back at the bus station 20 minutes before our bus was about to leave. We left around 4:30pm and got back to Edinburgh around 6pm.
Overall, it was a great day spent with new friends and pretty places. I would highly recommend St Andrews to our family and friends who visit Edinburgh for a short historical, relaxing, and beautiful day trip.