St Andrews in Fife – an amalgamation of history, sports and art
Kilrymont, as it was known ages before, transformed into the present St Andrews after great many religious influences. With many Celtic monks, pilgrims and traders arriving to the town in the medieval era and St Andrew becoming the patron saint of Scotland, it became a centre capable of great political influence. As population increased and trade improved, the town itself expanded significantly during the middle ages. The University of St Andrews, the oldest in Scotland was founded in 1413 and enhanced the town’s reputation of being an academic and trading centre.
As with other towns that are rich in history, St Andrews too went through its share of bloody and turbulent times with the anti-Protestant movements and the following riots which in turn ended the religious influence of the town. After a brief decline, the town jumped back in form to become a sought after tourist destination. It has also come to be known as the ‘home of golf’ due to its world-class courses. The clear and fresh air and sandy beaches along with the countless medieval structures makes St Andrews a sight for sore eyes.
Getting to St Andrews
St Andrews is accessible via rail, road and air. The Edinburgh, Glasgow or Dundee airports would be your get-off points from which a number of taxi and bus services will take you into town. The Leuchars Rail Station that is linked to London, Edinburgh and Aberdeen serves the town from where numerous bus and taxi services can be availed to get into town. Regular coaches from Edinburg, Glasgow and Dundee make travel by road that much easy. If you like a drive by car, the A90 and A91 from Edinburgh and M8 from Glasgow to Edinburgh will take you to St Andrews in one to one and a half hours.
Accommodations and Outdoors
Ardgowan Hotel ( http://www.ardgowanhotel.co.uk/ ), the Hotel du Vin St Andrews and Rufflets Country House Hotel (http://www.rufflets.co.uk/ )offer great accommodation options for those looking for fine-dine and comfortable stay.
St Andrews is an amazing destination choice for he outdoorsy types. The Craigtoun Country Park and the St Andrews Botanic Garden should definitely feature in your do-not-miss list. For nature lovers, the Cameron Reservoir and Eden Estuary along with the numerous beaches will serve as a feast to your eyes with opportunities for watching birds and marine life. Guided walks and tours together with regular walks along the Fife Coastal path are fantastic ways to take in the beauty of the town.
For sports enthusiasts
Being the ‘home of golf’, it is certainly a heaven for those who favour the sport. What should not be forgotten is that the town is also great for a variety of other sports activities. Great many routes and networks have been put together for cyclists to take advantage of and the beaches of St Andrews offer great scope for activities like surfing, swimming, beach kayaking, traction kiting, land yachting etc. If you are an equestrian lover, then do not forget to hit the Barbarafield Riding school.
Festivals and Attractions
If you are thinking that St Andrews is all about history and sports, then think again! From the Fife Jazz Festival in February, the St Anza Poetry festival ( http://www.stanzapoetry.org/ ) in March, Crail Food Festival in June, the Ceres and St Andrews Highland games in June and July respectively and the Pittenwem Arts Festival in August to the St Andrews Food and Drink Festival in December, numerous festivals are organized that are sure to satisfy the artist, musician and food lover in you.
Be sure to add the University of St Andrews, the Aquarium, Scotland’s secret bunker, St Andrews Castle, the Tower of Holy Trinity and the St Andrews Cathedral to your must-visit list.
Pubs and Bars
From Ma Bells at Hotel du Vin that serves tourists, golfers and locals, Ma Bells at St Andrews Hotel with great live music and DJs, the Jigger Inn at the Old Course Hotel Golf Resort and Spa, the Rascals Bar with live music, DJ events and cocktail menu to the New Inn with great meals and live music, At Andrews is home to a range of pubs and bars.
Whether you are a sports enthusiast or a nature lover, a history buff or an art aficionado, there is something for everyone at St Andrews!