SCOTLAND

 

When I'm not in Edinburgh or the Isle of Skye,

I'm usually frolicking around

the lovely town of St. Andrews.

 

"Frolicking" is no exaggeration...

this is a place that leaves me really giddy.

 

Maybe it's the University feel,

or the golf culture,

or, maybe, it's being in the birthplace

of Will & Kate's romance that gets me.

 

Who knows, 

but I bet you'll love it, too.

 

(Psst. There are a few extra recommendations for other places below, too.)

 

 

ST ANDREWS

 

TO GET THERE 

Take a short train from Edinburgh to Leuchars  {with a 5 mile bus ride into St. Andrews} or opt for the direct bus that drops you directly into St. Andrews. The bus is an hour longer, but is a gorgeous ride along the Scottish coast. 

 

DO

THE HIMALAYAS | When you come to St. Andrews, you have to play golf on the course. Most of the time, golfing at St. Andrews is about $125 per person with a mandatory overnight stay... but if you travel like the Aspiring Kennedy, you can play their putting course, The Himalayas that runs along side their most famous green and the beach, without a reservation for only £2. And that, my friends, is a fabulous little secret. {The Himalayas are open from April- September.}

ST. ANDREWS CATHEDRAL | Once you've got your ice cream in hand, walk to the nearby end of the street where you'll find the ruins of St. Andrews Cathedral. On a sunny day, the grass will be littered with sunbathers scattered amongst the church's ruins. The view of the coast offers a gorgeous backdrop, and the path outside the abbey will lead you on a beautiful walk along the beach. {Just remember to go left- towards town!}

SWILCON BRIDGE | After you meander down from the coast, at the end of the road, you'll find you've been directly dropped onto the legendary golf course of St. Andrews. Politely wait until the course is clear till you jump on the course for your obligatory picture on the course's famous bridge.

 

EAT

JIGGER INN | If you want to get a good pub feel, head past the golf course to the Old Course Hotel's quaint pub, The Jigger Inn. Try their freshly caught fish & chips and don't skimp on the sticky toffee pudding for dessert.

OLD COURSE AFTERNOON TEA | If you've got some time to kill in the afternoon, you can stop for tea in the Old Course Hotel. at £20 for a full spread of teatime treats + tea, this is a nice day to spend the afternoon. (Especially if it's the standard, blustery kind of day that St. Andrews does so well!). Just be sure to make a reservation. 

JANNETTA'S | After lunch, head up to the edge of town to the famous & long-lined Janetta's for a scoop of ice cream. The sticky toffee ice cream is hard to beat, but the banoffee shake is a close second.

THE DOLL'S HOUSE | This pretty little eatery sits predominantly in the main square of St. Andrews, just along side Holy Trinity Church. On a pretty day, the outside terrace is a lovely place to sit and watch people pass by, but if the weather is bad or the terrace is full- don’t feel like you’re settling by being seated inside. It’s equally cute! The menu focuses on Scottish fare- and it’s done well. (Though, to be fair, portions are a bit tiny so plan to eat a few courses to fill up.) The staff is friendly, and booking is recommended.

MITCHELL’S DELI | This hip eatery is located just off Market Street, right in the middle of town. While half of the premise is a small grocer, the other is a restaurant that serves up good food with fresh ingredients. You’ll be able to get anything from colourful fresh salads to a wooden case of baked camembert cheese with a mountain of bread chunks to dip in it. Booking are recommended, as this is a popular restaurant. The seats by the window are especially lovely in the summertime with their access to evening sunlight.

BALGOVE | If you’re looking for a taste of Scotland that doesn’t include haggis or fried Mars Bars, head out to the rising-star of St. Andrews, Balgove Larder. This small compound sitting just outside the city limits has a farmshop + cafe + Steak Barn. Come for local groceries, fresh cut meat from the butchers, a cozy breakfast in the cafe, a sunny lunch outside at the picnic tables or a night on the town at the Steak Barn. I guess what I’m trying to say is… you can really enjoy yourself at any time of day at Balgove. 

THE COTTAGE KITCHEN | This tiny cafe sitting just off the main square by Holy Trinity Church is a favourite spot among students from the University. With good coffee, homemade cakes, fresh lunch fare and decent wifi, this is a cute place to spend a lazy afternoon. In the sunny days, opt for a table outside in the courtyard for an added perk.

 

STAY

THE OLD COURSE | This is the famous Old Course Hotel, and staying there isn't a disappointment. If you can, book a treatment in the gorgeous spa in advance. Read my full review here.

PREMIER INN | The Premier Inn in St. Andrews shouldn’t probably be listed as a place to stay “in” St. Andrews, as it sits quite a bit out of the main heart of town and requires a trek to reach through a residential area. So while the beds are comfy and the bath tubs clean and fresh, the location out by the large grocery stores makes it a bit inconvenient for tourists. (Unless you have a car, but then again- that kind of misses the fun of staying in St. Andrews where you can easily walk around.) It’s a fine spot to stay, and would work okay for families… but somehow misses the mark on being in the heart of St. Andrews for your trip. I’d put this as a “fallback” option, if you can’t fins something closer in to town.

 

Still not satisfied? Click here to see all previous posts on St. Andrews.

 

LUSS

Luss is a great town to stop through if you find yourself driving through Scotland. It's charming, it's tiny, it sits on a gorgeous loch... and there are some great ice cream stands there. Read about my days there here and here.

 

INVERNESS

COUL HOUSE | We loved staying in the B&B outside of Inverness in December. It was the perfect place to cozy up... and the food was wonderful.

 

ISLE of SKYE

Find my travel guide for the Isle of Skye here.

 

LOCH NESS

Try your luck at finding Nessie on Loch Ness. Don't get your hopes up for spotting the famous monster, but you'll have a great time in the middle of some stunning scenery. Read about my trip on the beautiful Scottish lochs here.