Review · travel

Review: St Andrews, Scotland

St Andrews is a popular spot for both tourists and international students.

Easily accessible on a day trip from Edinburgh, the drive takes around one and a half  hours, or just over two on public transport.

Direct buses are available in both directions.

The main high street is a mix of chain stores, independent shops and charity shops.

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Market Street, St Andrews

The whole town has a laid back vibe to it, like a small hamlet, despite being one of the biggest tourist draws in Scotland.

Being the home of golf, the Old Course has brought many a fanatic on a pilgrimage – most recently former US President Barack Obama who made sure a trip was part of his 12 hour visit to the country.

The town also boasts an aquarium, near spotless beach and one of the best ice cream parlours for miles.

One of my new favourite places is the Topping & Company book shop. Down a side street, it’s easily missed. The shop not only hosts a wide selection of books, but also an impressive collection of first edition, signed copies. Worth the trip for any collector.

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It’s easy to lose yourself in Topping & Company

The Cathedral overlooks the edge of the town, a ruin of a once great building. What still stands is impressive enough, and if old graves are your thing, I’m reliably informed that one dates back to the mid-1600s.

The church itself was built in the 1158 and like many structures it underwent some face lifts over the years.

The church fell into disrepair in the 16th century when Catholicism was outlawed in Scotland.

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St Andrews cathedral

St Andrews boasts several beautiful beaches, which are always crowded on a busy day. Towards the end of the university year, expect to see students relaxing with a beach volleyball game on the go.

The sand dunes along the edge of the beach offer a fair amount of privacy too, should you want to escape the crowds for a bit.

One unmissable stop if Jeanette’s Gallalirea. A traditional ice cream parlour which was first opened by Italian immigrants and is still family run. The shop offers a wide range of flavours – from Scottish specialties like tablet, to more traditional such as Nutella. Options to take away or sit in for a more elaborate sundae are available.

There is also milkshakes  available, with a choice of two scoops of ice cream. Milkshakes are always my preferred option.

Obviously one of the biggest pulls to St Andrews is golf.

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The Old Course is considered the home of golf.

The Old Course is heralded as the home of golf, and often brings a familiar face to the course. Former President Barack Obama made sure to stop by, despite being in Scotland less than 24 hours.

The Old Course is almost always fully booked in advance, but enthusiasts can enter their name in a lottery for a chance to play the course.

While out of the way, St Andrews is always well worth the visit. The easy transport links and ample city parking mean there is no excuse not to pay a visit.

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