When you think of St. Andrews, Scotland, what comes to mind?
- Home to the oldest university in Scotland? check!
- The birthplace of golf? check!
- Where Wills and Kate met and courted? check!
- A lovely beach destination? check!
On our day trip to St. Andrews we found St. Andrews to be all of these and much more.
Our bus dropped us off very near the Northpoint Cafe. We figured if it was good enough for Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, it was good enough for us! The sign says the future Mr. and Mrs. met for coffee in the cafe. While they may have had eyes only for each other, I was too busy looking at, and eating, the amazing scone, which was only eclipsed by the incredible butter served with it. Their entire menu looked really good. There is a photo on their Facebook page of toasted banana bread and ice cream with banana toffee sauce, enough said.
From there we headed to the ruins of St. Andrews Castle. Built in the late 1100s, the castle played a role in the Protestant Reformation. After the Reformation when bishops were abolished, it was left vacant and fell into disrepair. Much of it collapsed into the sea in 1801. A sea wall was built after that. Before exploring the castle ruins, we went down to the beach.
The beach had a lot of very, very small pieces of sea glass so Sam and I spent about 40 minutes looking for sea glass before we went up to explore the castle ruins.
Jeff really wanted to check out the golf museum. I let he and Sam go through the museum while I took photos of the St. Andrews Links, the largest golf complex in Europe and the birthplace of modern golf. I guess you could say it’s sort of the holy grail of golf courses.
The area around the course is certainly very posh, with a lot of private clubs and very nice cars.
Only 17,000 people live in St. Andrews making it a small town that is easy to explore. We walked into the center of town to find lunch. The streets are beautiful, everything is well maintained, flowers are everywhere and people obviously take a lot of pride in their community.
We had the best fish and chips we have had yet here at Cromars. You stand in line to order at the counter. It was a long line, but totally worth the wait. We ate outside at one of the few tables they have.
While Jeff waited in line to order lunch, Sam and I found a photo opportunity I could not pass up.
After lunch we headed to the St. Andrew’s Cathedral ruins. Built in 1160, it was the largest building in Scotland for 700 years. After the Protestant Reformation, the cathedral was “cleansed” and left to fall into disrepair. The entire middle area of what would have been under the roof of the cathedral is now a cemetery. Young Tom Morris is buried there. He is considered to be one of the pioneers of professional golf. He died at the age of 24. His father, Old Tom Morris, was also a golfer and a greens keeper at St. Andrews.
Our last stop before leaving was a little museum, run by the St. Andrews Preservation Trust. It’s very small, but full of charm, antiques and a lovely garden in the back which also housed the old outside bathroom, a “double seater” that every resident of the building once used. History is interesting isn’t it?
We did not even touch on any of the University of St. Andrews buildings or museums. Founded in 1413, it is the oldest of the four ancient universities of Scotland and the 3rd oldest university in the English speaking world. Maybe next time St. Andrews…….