If St. Andrews were a gem, it would be a diamond; filled with cute cafes, boutique shops, majestic castles, this sleepy seaside town on the east coast of Scotland is a must-see.
There are plenty of things to do in St Andrews whether you’re visiting for just one day or a week. Relax with a pot of tea and a scone in one of the many cafes that Wills would take Kate to, explore the ruins of St Andrews Castle and the cathedral, or play a round at one of the many world-renowned golf courses.
St Andrews is a short drive from Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh, but you’ll need more than one day to tick off all of these activities!
Read on for a complete list of things to do in St Andrews and beyond.
40 things to do in St Andrews
Exploring one of the beaches in St Andrews
Things to do in St Andrews for history lovers
1. West Port. Built in 1587, West Port is one of the last medieval city gates remaining in Scotland!
2. St Andrews Castle. This castle ruin has been by turns a stronghold, palace and a prison. Explore the infamous ‘bottle dungeon’ and the underground mine and countermine.
3. St Andrews Cathedral ruins. You can’t visit St. Andrews and miss the spectacular site that once was home to the largest church in Scotland. The ruin is free to visit, but you have to pay to climb St Rule’s Tower and visit the museum on site.
4. St Mary’s Chapel on the Rock. Built in 1123 as an collegiate church to house an order of Celtic monks, it later became a royal chapel. It was ruined after the Scottish Reformation, but the foundations are still visible.
5. Martyrs’ Monument. Visit the monument erected in 1842 in memory of the Protestant reformers who were executed in St Andrews some 300 years earlier during the Scottish Reformation.
St Andrews Castle
6. Blackfriars Chapel. Now a ruin, the 16th century chapel was part of a monastery operated by Dominican friars. Sometimes it is lit up at night, so I recommend visiting then.
7. University of St. Andrews. This university is the third oldest in the English-speaking world and the oldest in Scotland. It is also where Prince William met Kate Middleton. Walk through the grounds and imagine what it’s like to be rich enough to actually study there.
8. St Salvator’s Chapel. This chapel is one of two collegiate chapels that belongs to the University of St Andrews. It was founded in 1450, by Bishop James Kennedy and built in the late Gothic architectural style. It’s just beautiful- so I highly recommend you visit.
Read more: Visiting St Andrews on a budget
Things to do in St Andrews for golf fans
9. The Old Course. You can’t visit St Andrews without visiting the oldest golf course in the world! Play a round or go on a walking tour of the birthplace of golf. Just watch out for flying balls!
10. The Himalayas Golf Course. This golf course is situated beside the Old Course and is suitable for all levels- even beginners!
11. Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is one of the world’s leading golf events. Keep an eye out for celebrities, who play alongside the professional golfers! Recent celebrity appearances include Justin Timberlake, Luis Figo, Ronan Keating and Bill Murray. Entry to watch the championship is free on the first three days.
12. British Golf Museum. The award-winning British Golf Museum takes you on a tour through time of the development of the game. The roof-top cafe offers spectacular views over the nearby golf courses and beaches.
The Swilcan Bridge on The Old Course
Things to do in St Andrews for foodies
13. Northpoint Cafe. Have a tea and a scone at the cafe known as the place ‘where Wills met Kate…for coffee.’ If you’re not hungry, go and have a giggle at the sign in the window.
14. Kingsbarn Distillery and Visitor Centre. Once a semi-derelict farm steading, the Kingsbarn Distillery was carefully transformed into a whisky distillery! In 2018 they unveiled their first single malt Scotch whisky. They offer three tours of this beautiful distillery, which you can book on their website.
15. Eden Mill Distillery and Brewery. Book a tour of this craft distillery and brewery and sample some of the best best beer, gins and whiskies in Scotland! You’ll sample their craft range along with some of their unique brews in the Aristeuein range and Oak Wood series.
16. St Andrews Brewing Company. A local favourite, this craft brewery has a range of Fife-made ales, stouts, and IPAs. They also offer 1 hour tours on Fridays and Saturdays which includes 3 x 1/3 pints during the tour. You can book a tour via their website.
Museums to visit in and around St Andrews
17. St Andrews Preservation Trust. This 17th century museum is located in a house on North Street. It features re-creations of old St Andrews shops and buildings, and has a lovely sheltered garden to enjoy.
18. The Scottish Fisheries Museum. This museum is situated in a historic building on the harbour of the beautiful fishing port in Anstruther near St Andrews. The museum tells the story of fishing in Scotland, and the people involved in the industry, from earliest times to the present.
19. Museum of the University of St Andrews. St Andrews University has three museums you can explore- the Wardlaw Museum, Bell Pettigrew and the Museum Collections Centre.
The St Andrews Preservation Trust Museum
Things to do in St Andrews for adventure seekers
20. Skydiving. For the ultimate thrill why not jump out of a plane with SkyDive St Andrews? They are located 40 minutes from St. Andrews in Glenrothes by Fife airport.
21. Surfing. East Sands is where all the local surfers hang out, so grab a board and ride some waves! Blown Away offer surf lessons as well as landyachting, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding.
22. Swimming. Scotland isn’t known for its beach swimming, but if you’re feeling brave many spots near the town are safe spots for a paddle. There is also an indoor pool at the East Sands Leisure Centre, together with a steam room, spa bath, gym, squash court and cafe.
23. Running. Go on a running tour with St Andrews Running Tours who offer a 5km scenic running tour around the town.
24. Hiking. The Fife Coastal Path is a walk that is becoming very popular and is a great way to experience Fife’s beautiful beaches and villages. For other hikes in St Andrews and the East Neuk check out the WalkHighlands website.
25. Bush craft. For something a little different, East Neuk Outdoors offer many outdoor activities including bushcraft and fire making, ax throwing, archery and watersports.
26. Cycling. Hire a bike from Spokes Of St Andrews and explore the coast and countryside! As well as hiking the Fife Coastal Path, you can cycle it too.
27. Horse Riding. Barbarafield Riding School have horse riding lessons and treks for all levels spanning over 300 acres of farmland.
Other things to do in St Andrews & beyond
28. Go on a ghost tour. Did you know that St Andrews has had many paranormal events and is rumored to be haunted? You can learn about the ghosts of St Andrews in this 1.5 hour ghost walking tour. Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, the tour is still incredibly interesting!
29. Hill of Tarvit. One of Scotland’s finest Edwardian mansionhouses, Hill of Tarvit a 20 minute drive from St Andrews. It’s home to a vast collection of antiques, furniture, Chinese porcelain and paintings by Sir Henry Raeburn, Allan Ramsay and eminent Dutch artists. The house is surrounded by 279 acres of gardens, woods, open heath and parkland. Within the grounds is the 9-hole Kingarrock Hickory Golf Course.
30. Spot the wildlife. Go birdwatching at the Eden Estuary or Cameron Reservoir near St Andrews. You can also go seal spotting at the local beaches!
31. St. Andrews Aquarium. Visit the St Andrews Aquarium and see seals, reef sharks, piranhas, seahorses, lionfish and even some land-based species including penguins, alligators, reptiles, spiders and meerkat.
32. Craigtoun Park. Pack a picnic and rediscover your inner child at Craigtoun Park. It has a modern children’s play area, gardens, a fairy glen, zip wire, trampolines and the famous miniature railway.
33. St Andrews Botanic Garden. Pack a picnic lunch and stroll through this impressive 18-acre garden set in the heart of St Andrews.
34. St Andrews Highland Games. Held on the last Sunday in July, the St Andrews Highland Games features events including running, cycling, heavy weights, tug-of-war, solo piping, and highland dance.
35. Scotland’s Secret Bunker. Hidden beneath a Scottish farmhouse, a tunnel leads to secret accommodation which is the size of two football pitches one on top of another, 100 feet underground!
36. Fife Farmers’ Market. Buy a unique gift to take home at the Fife Farmers’ Market! It takes place on the first Saturday of every month from 9am-1pm on Market Street.
38. The Scottish Deer Centre. The Scottish Deer Centre is 25 minutes from St Andrews and is home to 13 species of deer from around the world, Fife’s only wolf pack, otters and other rare Scottish species including the wildcat!
37. The Byre Theatre. Known as the focal point for arts in Fife, the Byre Theatre offers many events, shows, concerts, and much more. Visit their website to see what’s on.
39. Jannettas Gelateria. St Andrews is also known as the Home of Gelato, thanks to Jannettas. The family run business has been selling ice-cream for over 100 years. Make sure you try their hand-made gelato- it’s world-renowned!
40. West Sands Beach. Go for a walk on West Sands Beach- one of the most popular beaches in St Andrews. Breathe in the salty sea air and watch the sunset!
Have I missed anything from this list? Pop it in the comments below.