St Andrews, the small Scottish town on the east coast of Fife, has a surprising amount to do. Be it with family, kids or a significant other, if you’re planning a one day/24 hour trip, it’s difficult to know what to prioritise.
A few weeks ago, Damon and I took a couple of his friends on a short, one day tour of St Andrews. I’ve been visiting the small Scottish town ever since I was little so I had an idea of a good itinerary. If I were to plan one perfect day in St Andrews (note: between April and September as some activities are seasonal), here’s what it would look like.
If you enjoy reading this, don’t forget to check out my guide on ‘12 Free or Super Cheap Things To Do in St Andrews’.
Morning - Putting At The Himalayas
Late morning, after grabbing something for breakfast, I’d head straight to The Himalayas (The St Andrews Ladies’ Putting Club) near the West Sands beach. Putting here is a must-do and it’s a good activity to get in quite early, before the midday crowds.
You can park for free in the parking lot just off of West Sands Road. Alternatively, it is a 15 minute walk from the city centre.
One round of the 18 hole course can easily take up one hour of your time. And that’s the one I’d recommend. But, there is a 9 hole course too (although it’s aimed at younger players).
The course is open from April (sometimes earlier) to September (sometimes later, weather dependent).
Each member of the group will be given a club and a golf ball. You’ll also get a score card and pencil (Max: 4 players per hole).
Lunch - The Swilcan Lounge
After putting, you can head to The Swilcan Lounge Restaurant at the St Andrews Links Clubhouse, just next door. It’s usually best to book in advance. If you get a table near the window, you’ll have fabulous views over the New Course, the Old Course or the Himalayas with the town’s iconic buildings in the background.
I’d classify the food as British/Scottish with a good selection of food, including fish, burgers, sandwiches plus a range of other mains (vegan and vegetarian options too).
Afternoon - Walk On The West Sands
After lunch, the West Sands beach is right on your doorstep. This beach, at over 2.5km long (nearly 2 miles), is backed by dunes, sandwiched between the Jubilee Course and The North Sea.
Land Train Into Town
If you time it right, you can hop on the St Andrews Land Train at Bruce Embankment (near the Golf Museum).
The land train tour takes about 40 minutes, with live commentary and has 4 stops (Bruce Embankment, Cathedral & Castle, Old Harbour and Blackfriars Chapel).
Children under 2 ride free, under 16s cost £3.50 and adult tickets cost £7.50 (tickets are hop-on, hop-off).
For the full timetable and ticket info, visit their website here.
Visit Toppings Bookstore
If you disembark the land train at stop 4 (Blackfriars Chapel), it’s only a short 3 minute walk to Topping & Company Booksellers. This charming book store has a narrow store front but, like a lot of places in St Andrews, extends far back beyond the street.
With rolling ladders, an endless selection of books, free tea and coffee and an overall charm, you can spend hours in here if you’re not careful.
Walk Down Market Street
If you’ve got time before dinner, I’d always recommend a walk down Market Street in the town centre.
You’ll recognise most stores (a surprising number of recognisable brands which highlights the town’s popularity with students, tourists and locals).
But there are two shops in particular that deserve honourable mentions.
One is a relatively new addition to the town but fits in perfectly, The Boy Wizard. This Harry Potter-themed store feels like it’s straight out of the Harry Potter Universe. Narrow, extremely well themed and packed with goodies.
My other recommendation has been around for a little while longer. The Fisher and Donaldson bakery company was established 100 years ago, in 1919. This charming bakery, which can be found on Church Street, makes fresh cakes, pastries, chocolate and more.
Early Evening - Dinner At Forgan's
Once you’re done touring, I’d recommend eating at one of St Andrew’s best restaurants, Forgan’s. This delightful restaurant has an industrial but welcoming atmosphere.
Similar to The Swilcan Lounge, the menu is British/Scottish, primarily with a selection of meat and fish dishes.
I would recommend booking in advance and maybe skip after-dinner drinks due to my next recommendation.
Drinks At The Road Hole Bar
Since it’s coming to the end of the day, there’s nothing better than chilling in a nice, atmospheric location. For the 2nd last part of my one-day itinerary, I’d recommend a relaxing visit to The Road Hole Bar.
This is located on the 4th floor of the Old Course Hotel just a few minutes outside the town centre, with stunning views over the Old Course and The North Sea. The drinks menu has a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.
An extremely generous selection of whiskies will please some and an equally generous range of hot teas will please others. Spend time soaking in the atmosphere before ending the day with my final recommendation.
Night - Ice Cream At Jannettas
You can’t visit St Andrews without a visit to one of Scotland’s best ice cream stores. Jannettas Gelateria has been around for over 110 years and boasts a huge offering of delicious ice cream flavours.
Take a seat in the cafe if you want a more relaxed experience or take your ice cream to-go and enjoy one last walk around the eastern part of the town.
The cafe is open until 9:30pm and the shop closes at 10pm.