While staying in Edinburgh, my husband and I wanted to take a couple of day trips outside of the city to experience more of Scotland. St Andrews is known widely as the birthplace of golf. It’s a golfers paradise, and it’s been a dream of my husband’s to experience the Old Course at St Andrews Links and stand upon the iconic stone bridge on the 18th hole. For me, the pull to St Andrews was the architecture, walking the narrow, cobbled streets, exploring the cathedral ruins, and experiencing the seaside charm. St Andrews is also the home of St Andrews University – otherwise known as the university where our modern day Prince wooed his modern day Princess (I am a huge William & Kate fan everyone!) So, since fairy tales basically come true in St Andrews, the town peaked both our interests – naturally, we had to explore!
After doing some research, we realized quickly that we did not have enough time to golf at St. Andrews Links. What we did learn is that on Sundays, the Old Course becomes a sort of public park, and you can walk the entire 18 hole course at your leisure. We took an early train from Edinburgh to St Andrews on a bright, crisp Sunday morning, and headed straight to St Andrews Links. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the course, with the sleepy town of St Andrews still waking up in the background. We began at hole one, and walked all eighteen holes, stopping to take photos of the incredible scenery, the views of the ocean, and my husband standing in every single sand bunker. This was an experience he had always wanted to have, and it was fun and romantic to share it with him.
St Andrews Links will also always be the wonderful place where I discovered my deep obsession with Scottish heather. It’s whimsical, violet nature gets me every time. One day, I will lay in an entire field of it while bagpipes play Gaelic music softly in the distance. Naturally I’d wish for those bagpipes to be played by actual handsome Scottish men in kilts, but if I can’t have that, I’ll settle for laying among the heather with bagpipes and Gaelic music playing softly through my iPhone.
After a few hours in golf heaven, we walked from St Andrews Links into the heart of the town of St Andrews. We explored the shops along cobblestone streets, we took a peak inside the grounds of St Andrews University, and visited the cathedral ruins. We enjoyed lunch at Forgans St Andrews, a trendy restaurant that served good beer, crisp ciders, and excellent food. We enjoyed (surprise, surprise) more stew. Hey – it warms you right up!
We continued to explore the town, stopping every five seconds to take a photo that we hoped might just capture the whimsy and charm of this beautiful town. We also walked down to the beach, and walked along the water, and captured one more glimpse of the Old Course, before heading back to the train station.
I am so happy that we took the time to visit the town of St Andrews. It’s even more beautiful than everyone says it is. I highly recommend going and seeing it for yourself. You’ll be swept off your feet – just like I was.