Best Sightseeing Attractions in the St. Andrews Area

Best Sightseeing Attractions in the St. Andrews Area

St. Andrews Castle

This castle, laid out at the eastern edge of the town of St. Andrews, may be in ruins, but its setting is every bit as stunning as the country’s best-known fortresses. Those unafraid of small spaces can check out the castle’s intact dungeon, as well as its cramped tunnels, which were built by Protestant reformers in the 16th century, when they were besieged in the castle for nearly a year.

St. Andrews Cathedral

Perhaps 12th-century Britain’s finest construction, the cathedral at St. Andrews is Scotland’s largest. The remaining St. Rule’s Tower is incredibly tall for its timeframe, and is worth the climb for its impressive views of the town. St. Andrew himself is said to be buried beneath the altar.

British Golf Museum

No pilgrimage to St. Andrews would be complete without a visit to the British Golf Museum, which tells the tale of the 500+ years of golfing history in the area. Just steps from the first tee of the Old Course, interactive exhibits chock-full of memorabilia allow visitors to relive the excitement of some of history’s greatest British Opens.

The Old Course on a Sunday

Did you know that the Old Course at St. Andrews is open to all who wish to visit on Sundays? There’s only one stipulation: not a single golf shot can be played. The policy was established in the 16th century, when religious ordinances forbade golf from being played on the Sabbath, and is still in place today, allowing tourists and locals alike to peruse the hallowed grounds at their leisure. Guided tours are offered from April through September, giving visitors insight into the links’ storied past.

Eden Mill Distillery (10 minutes north of St. Andrews)

Scotland’s first brewery/distillery hybrid, Eden Mill’s award-winning beer and spirits can be sampled and their secrets learned on one of their many daily tours. The tour, which was named one of the best distillery tours in Scotland by the Scotsman newspaper, can be customized based on your beverage of choice, and the distillery also offers small group gin tastings at the famous Rusacks Hotel in town.

Kingsbarns Distillery (20 minutes southeast of St. Andrews)

The new Fife distillery just turned two years old in November 2016 and offers informative, intimate tours that guide visitors through the facility’s whisky-making process. The house-made Kingsbarns whisky is still a few years from being available, so guests are treated to an in-depth tasting across a selection of Wemyss whiskies. Located just two miles from Kingsbarns Golf Links, the Kingsbarns Distillery is a great addition to any golfing itinerary.

Falkland Palace and Gardens (35 minutes west of St. Andrews)

The country home of the Stuart monarchs, who ruled Scotland for over 200 years, this grand palace dates back to the early 12th century, when a hunting lodge was first built on the site. The lodge was expanded into a castle by the Clan McDuff, before being transformed into a royal palace in the early 16th century by King James IV. Today, visitors can explore the exquisitely preserved palace and its verdant adjacent gardens. The surrounding village of Falkland still retains much of its medieval charm, and was the first village in Scotland to be designated a Historic Conservation Village.

Crail Harbour (25 minutes southeast of St. Andrews)

The tiny fishing village of Crail features charming cobblestone streets which lead to the picturesque stone-sheltered harbor. Freshly-caught lobster and crab can be purchased from a kiosk in the harbor, which serves as a pleasant spot for a relaxing lunch. After taking in the views of the Isle of May, stop into the Crail Museum for a bit of local history.