I don’t play golf but lots of folks that I love do play the game so I was very excited about my day trip to St. Andrews to see the famous Links. Little did I know that even though golf is major major major here, it is only a part of this completely charming town.
Golf first. A quick recap of what I learned about St. Andrews and golf: golf has been played here since around 1400 AD (that's a long time); there are seven courses (all public) at St. Andrews of which three are championship; the little bridge connecting the first and eighteenth holes of the Old Course is over seven hundred years old (it was initially built to help shepherds get their animals over) and is named Swilcan Bridge; the fees to play aren’t nearly as expensive as I thought they’d be - ranging from 8 GBP to 175 GBP (depending on course and season); and the Old Course is closed for golfing on Sunday so that the public can walk along the fairways.
Enough golf talk for now.
It seemed like everywhere we drove in Scotland was beautifully scenic. St. Andrews was no exception. Seeing the castle (which has been among other things, a prison) backdropped by the North Sea is stunning. Any way you turn in St. Andrews you have a great view whether it be the coast line, the golf greens, the beautiful buildings that make up the University of St. Andrews, the Cathedral, or one of the many historical monuments that pepper the town.
You may recall in an earlier post that I mentioned John, driver guide master. Well, St. Andrews is one of John’s favorite locations and he was as happy as me to be spending the day here. I imagine I got the best tour you can get of St. Andrews and we managed to do quite a bit on this day visit. To try and share a little more of the Old Course, John and I (well, I just turned the camera where I was told) did a little video while driving across the Old Course. And it is posted below.
Before lunch I was able to stroll along the cobbled streets and see the site where Patrick Hamilton was burned at the stake for teaching Lutheran doctrines in 1528 (Yikes! I just looked at the picture of the placard and realized he died on February 29 - Leap Year), the Whyte-Melville Fountain, and do a little shopping including at a very cool little liquor store (Luvians) that has a vault room with treasured (tres’ expensive) bottles of whisky, wine and cigars. (That's Archie from the shop with me in the vault room pic below.)
After lunch at the Links Clubhouse (fish n chips) we went to the roof of the building and made another little video (I'll post it soon). Then it was time to check out the (i) Cathedral ruins with a most fascinating Cemetery (even though the photos below are magnificent they don’t nearly do justice to the beauty and serenity of the grounds), (ii) Castle ruins, (iii) beach, (iv) oh goodness, another site where someone (George Wishart) was burned at the stake for heresy in 1546, and (v) a fantastic little church a few minutes out of the main area of town near the Castle Course.
A wonderful day! St. Andrews is a superb small town with so much to offer - golf & much much more! A day trip wasn’t enough and I can’t wait until my next visit to Scotland to spend more time in St. Andrews.
Happy & Safe Travels.
p.s. If you are planning a trip to Scotland send me an email and I'll be glad to share my itinerary and suggestions.
Come along with this southern girl on my fun travel adventures! I’m taking the tours; seeing the sites; trying out the hotels; dining at the restaurants; cruising on the cruise ships; and sharing the experiences on this blog. I hope you enjoy reading about my travel escapades and that they will be inspiring and helpful when planning your own fabulous adventures.