A Full Guide to the Brilliant St Andrews

In our last blog, we wrote about Fort William and why you should absolutely, positively go there on your motorhome holiday. 

The only thing is, you should absolutely, positively go to numeroustowns during your motorhome holiday, but you can’t possibly go to all of them!

To help expand your options, then, we thought we’d give the same treatment to several other brilliant Scottish regions – or at least, the ones we think should be a must-visit while travelling in our Scottish motorhomes

St Andrews is the next town in this series. Known for its world-famous golf course, this is a town that oozes sporting culture and history, packed into mediaeval streets that will stand out as some of the most beautiful during your travels.

St Andrews: A History

Founded in the 15th century, St Andrews has a lot of stories for a relatively small town. It was named after the relics that were brought to the settlement by St Rule, from Patras in Greece, and became one of the first places in Scotland to have a university in 1413. 

In the early 16th century, St Andrews became the home of Cardinal David Beaton, who was chancellor to Mary Queen of Scots. Below the infamous St Andrews Castle is the eerie ‘bottle-shaped’ dungeon, where Beaton would imprison Protestants and wait for them to become insane in the darkness. 

On a slightly lighter note, St Andrews later became a key destination for golfers. It is thought to have played a pivotal role in codifying the rules of modern golf in the mid-18th century, with the Royal and Ancient Club forming the gorgeous headquarters which have remained untouched for the last 270 years. 

A Day in St Andrews

Because you’ll be starting your Scottish journey in Edinburgh, St Andrews can actually be one of the first places you visit. The town itself is only around 30 miles northeast of Edinburgh, and just 10 miles southeast of Dundee. 

While you’re here, you’ll find plenty of things to get up to. One of the first, of course, should be visiting the incredible St Andrews Castle which we mentioned earlier. Still standing after 450 years, this castle remains a symbol of St Andrews’ bloody mediaeval past, complete with the unnerving underground mine and the bottle-shaped dungeon that was cut out of solid rock.

If you want to remain in a historic mood, you can then travel to the University of St Andrews, which is known for its notable alumni, the current Prince of Wales! After sightseeing here, you should also visit the glorious St Andrews Cathedral. 

At one time, this was one of the largest churches in Scotland. The museum here offers numerous collections of mediaeval sculptures and relics, and if you’re not too afraid of heights, you can even climb the dizzying St Rule’s Tower, which offers some beautiful views across the town and onwards to Fife.

Speaking of the town, if you want a fun and interesting way to explore it, we’d recommend picking up the ‘St Andrews Spy Mission Treasure Trail, which involves several clues and riddles to find the best historical structures and statues. This is a particularly good idea if you’re travelling with kids – who will always be happy to have a little extra excitement when sight-seeing old buildings!

Other Activities in St Andrews

Other interesting activities to sink your teeth into include a guided walk of the oldest and best golf course in Scotland. Even if you’re not a golf fan, it feels almost surreal to walk around a place that you know is so important to such a huge, beloved sport. 

The expert guide at the Old Course will take you around the 1st, 17th, and 18th holes, allowing you to walk in the footsteps of all the sporting greats not just in the last hundred years, but the last 270 years! 

If you’re looking for somewhere to quench your thirst after so much walking, then one of our favourite pubs is ‘The Rule’, which is located on South Street. Complete with a mouth-watering menu of pub grub, ‘The Rule’ is also one of the most popular sports bars in the town. 

This makes it a great option if you’re a rugby fan visiting in the near future. With Scotland hoping for a strong 2024 Six Nations, ‘The Rule’ is the perfect venue to join in with the fans and cheer on the national team with some newfound rugby enthusiasts!

St Andrews: A Mediaeval Masterclass

There’s a reason why Prince William chose to study art history in St Andrews. Just think, he probably had the pick of any university in the UK, and yet he chose this town, not just for its beautiful, ancient university, but because the town itself has so much to offer. 

You’ll discover that too if you do decide to visit St Andrews on your travels. Whether it’s the stunning mediaeval architecture, the dark, intense history, or the iconic sporting chronicles, there’s something for everyone to experience and enjoy!