St Andrews has long been synonymous with golf thanks in large part to the world famous St Andrews Old Course and the R&A Clubhouse which have seen this fascinating seaside Scottish town become known to all as The Home of Golf. Needless to say then, that this part of Scotland is heaven sent for a golf holiday so for those who are planning their pilgrimage to the spiritual home of golf here are 18 things to do and see on your St Andrews Golf Break.
The Old Course
Obviously one of the main reasons for visiting St Andrews in the first place, considered by most as the ‘home of golf’ as the sport was first been played there on the links in the early 1400s. With unique features such as the large double greens and 112 bunkers spread along the course, each individually named (such as the famous 10 ft deep ‘Hell Bunker’), playing the Old Course is sure to be a special and spiritual experience.
The Byre Theatre is lively, stimulating and easy to get to due to being located in the centre of St Andrews. It also hosts the Kingarroch restaurant which complements the theatre wonderfully. The Byre also has some famous fans which include Sir Sean Connery who said about the venue “The new Byre offers the UK an exciting performance space which professional touring companies would be foolish to overlook”. ”An asset to Fife”.
Royal & Ancient Clubhouse
The Royal & Ancient Clubhouse is an iconic figure which is recognisable to golfers across the world. However, it is a very different building from the one that opened in 1854, due to the result of the expansion that has been needed to cater for the growing membership numbers. There are a number of rooms in the clubhouse which are open to the public, and it is definitely worth a visit during your stay in St Andrews.
Despite the common misconception, The Club does not own any of the St Andrews Courses.
Kingsbarns Golf Lnks
Designed in 2000 by world renowned golf course architects Mark Parsinnen and Kyle Phillips, Kingsbarns has already played as co-host to the Dunhill Links Championship (alongside the Old Course and Carnoustie) and hosted the St Andrews and Jacques Léglise. Having already shown terrific pedigree as a golf course it is a must for golfers visiting St Andrews.
St Andrews Cathedral
St Andrews Cathedral is a ruined church, which was the seat of the Bishops (later Archbishops) of St Andrews from 1158 until it fell into disuse after the Reformation. Currently a monument in the protection of Historic Scotland, the ruins indicate the great size of the building at 350 feet long.
Most famous for the opening scenes of the film Chariots of Fire, West Sands beach it runs for almost two miles of uninterrupted sand, with dunes separating it and the famous Old Course. The beach itself is only a 15 minute walk from the town centre, so it is definitely worth a visit for those looking to re-create those famous scenes from Chariots of Fire.
R&A World Golf Museum
Located opposite the Royal & Ancient Clubhouse, the World Golf Museum was opened in 1990. It fully documents the history of golf from medieval times to that of the present day, from historic equipment to memorabilia to art work, the museum has all you need to know about the game you love so much.
Carnoustie Golf Links
This historic championship course is one of the venues on the Open Championship rotation. Again like the Old Course the game of golf has been played for many hundreds of years, with records showing this was as early as the 16th century for Carnoustie. The Championship Course here is rated as one of the most difficult in the world.
Is the longest of the 7 courses which together make up the St Andrews Links, and was named after Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee celebration in 1897. It was originally designed for beginners of the game and Victorian dressed ladies; however it has developed into one of the hardest courses of the collection.
A trip to St Andrews would not be complete without a picture taken on the world famous Swilcan Bridge which spans the Swilcan Burn between the first and eighteenth fairways of the Old Course. Originally built over 700 years ago to help shepherds get livestock across it has, over the years, become one of the most iconic images in golf.
St Andrews Aquarium
Nestled on the dramatic cliffs is the St Andrews aquarium. It features stunning views of the West Sands and St Andrews Bay. The aquarium allows you to come face to face with some of the most striking, interesting and deadly creatures of the sea.
Himalayas Putting Green
A necessity for all tourists who visit St Andrews is to have a go on the famous Himalayas Putting Green at St Andrews Links. It is also known as the Ladies’ Putting Green and is the world’s first miniature golf course. It is incredibly good value at only £2 per person to play 18 holes and is great fun for all the family.
Open to the public 7 days a week, all you need to do to play is turn up and pay the small fee!
The are two very well-known ice cream parlours which entice visitors even on the coldest of winter days, and often attract very long queues in the summer months. B Jannettas on South Street and Luvians Ice Cream Parlour on Market Street both have a lengthy heritage of making Italian ice cream in a huge selection of unusual flavours. It is definitely worth treating yourself on your way through the town.
St Andrews Castle
A picturesque ruin that sits on a rocky peninsula overlooking a small beach, known as the Castle Sands. It dates back to the times of Bishop Roger (1189 – 1202), and has housed many wealthy and powerful Bishops while St Andrews served as ecclesiastical centre of Scotland.
The castle’s grounds are now maintained by Historic Scotland, and are entered through a visitor centre with displays on its history.
Scotland’s Secret Bunker
Hidden beneath an innocent-looking farmhouse is a tunnel that leads to Scotland’s best-kept secret for over 40 years. It spans an incredible 24,000 square feet, and reaches depths of 100 feet.
So should there have been a Nuclear War, this is where Scotland would have been governed from. The bunker is open for visitors all year round.
The Jigger Inn
Steeped in history, the building dates back to the 1850’s when it was the station master’s lodge. Today it is home to fantastic golfing memorabilia, home-cooked food and one of the best selections of Scottish beer around. This is traditional Scottish pub hospitality at its very best, and a must visit for any traveller to the area.
Cambo Estate Gardens
Cambo Estate Gardens is a beautiful way to spend an hour or two, the iconic Victorian walled garden contains inspirational planting schemes designed by Head Gardener, Elliot Forsyth. You are sure to see unusual plants whilst you walk through the woodlands following a sparkling burn leading to the sea.
The New Course
Located adjacent to the Old Course, it was paid for and commissioned The R&A who asked Old Tom Morris to be the designer. In contrast to the name the course was opened for play in 1895, which is why it is often regarded as the oldest ‘New’ course in the world. With undulating fairways and perfectly challenging greens it remains one of the best examples of Morris’ work.
If the New was situated next to any other course in the world than the Old its star would have shone with a far greater degree of brilliance.