St Andrews & Fife

No Clubs Required, the Non-Golfer's Options

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St Andrews is the home of golf (how many appraisals of the place can have started with this sentence?). Anyone taking a golfing break knows this!. What is perhaps less well appreciated is that St Andrews is a legitimate visitor attraction in its own right. When you reinforce the 'auld grey toon' with some of Fife's attractions, you have a decent portfolio

Image by William Starkey CC by SA 2.0

The Town

The town is an ancient seat of learning, with all the associated pleasing aesthetics that lend such places their unique character. The university now boasts Prince William and Kate amongst it’s most recent alumni. Outside of Oxford and Cambridge it is the third oldest university in the English speaking world. Half the population are students, which means it punches well above its weight, and the other half seem to be involved with golf.

Getting Around

St Andrews is compact. The central area falls under the protection of being a ‘conservation area’. This means that everything is close to everything else and from a visitors point of view this means you can walk to just about anywhere you’d need to go within a few minutes. A combination of golf and students have kind of turned this into a description of pubs and restaurants

The Jigger Inn

Image by Neil Theasby CC by SA 3.0

Image by Pixabay license

St Monans

Image by Pixabay license

Anstruther

Image by Phillip Capper CC by SA 2.0

Pittenweem

St Andrews Beach

Image by Kevin Murray CLICK 

St Andrews Castle

Image by Matthew Leonard CC by SA 4.0

St Andrews Castle

The ruins of St Andrews Castle are situated on a cliff-top to the north of the town. The castle was first erected around 1200 as the residence, prison, and fortress of the bishops of the diocese. Several reconstructions occurred in subsequent centuries, most notably due to damage incurred in the Wars of Scottish Independence.

The castle was occupied, besieged and stormed during The Rough Wooing and was severely damaged in the process.

The majority of the castle seen today dates to between 1549 and 1571, but fell into disrepair over the centuries until such time as it became the atmospheric ruin.

St Andrews Cathedral

The ruin of greater historical significance lies to the east of the town centre, St Andrew’s Cathedral. This was at one time Scotland’s largest building. St Rule’s Church, to the south-east of the medieval cathedral is said to date from around 1120 and 1150, being the predecessor of the cathedral. The tall square tower, part of the church, was built to hold the relics of St Andrew (Scotland’s patron saint). After the death of Bishop Robert Kennedy (not that one!), a new cathedral began to be built in 1160 by Bishop Arnold (his successor) on a site adjacent to St Rule’s Church. Work on the cathedral was finally completed and consecrated in 1318 by Bishop William de Lamberton with Robert ‘the Bruce’ present at the ceremony.

St Andrews Cathedral

Image by Pixabay license

Image by nborjabad (pixabay.com)

Crail Harbour

Image by Kim Traynor CC by SA 3.0

Crail & the East Neuk

The coastline of the East Neuk of Fife is dotted with charismatic little fishing villages such as Anstruther, Pittenweem and St Monan’s. The most charismatic however is Crail which became a Royal Burgh in 1178 in the reign of King William the Lion. Built around a harbour, Crail has a particular wealth of vernacular buildings from the 17th to early 19th centuries, which has made it a firm favourite amongst artists, and more recently the ‘fresh catch’ has ensured it has been sought out by high-quality chefs where its developed something of niche

The East Neuk villages aren’t necessarily places where you tick off landmarks. It’s not like there’s anything notable ‘to see’. Instead they tend to be places that you gently wander around and soak up. Anstruther is another of note, especially for its legendry fish ‘n’ chips restaurant.

Falkland Palace

Falkland Palace was originally built as a hunting lodge in the 12th century. This lodge was expanded in the 13th century and became a castle which was owned by the Earls of Fife – the famous Clan MacDuff. In 1402 it became the centre of a power snatch scandal when Robert, Duke of Albany imprisoned his nephew and rival David, Duke of Rothesay, in the Well Tower at Falkland. Between 1501 and 1541 Kings James IV and James V transformed the old castle into a beautiful royal palace: with Stirling Castle it was one of two Renaissance palaces in Scotland. Falkland evolved and became a popular retreat with the Stewart monarchs. Mary Queen of Scots became especially fond of Falkland. During the English Civil War it was occupied by Cromwell’s troops and quickly fell into ruin. In the early 1950s, the 5th Marquis of Bute decided to appoint the National Trust for Scotland to take care of the Palace in a classic trade off of maintenance in return for access.

Falkland Palace

Image Public Domain from Immanuel Giel

Edinburgh

The Scottish capital is a must. Again the castle dominates the skyline, but Edinburgh is clearly much more, frequently topping UK polls as the best weekend break

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Stirling

Stirling is one of Scotland's 'great' historic cities. Famed for the castle, once home of the Stuart dynasty it's also the location for Bannockburn (the Bruce) and Braveheart (Wallace)

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The Highlands

The Highlands is where landscape, legend, and legacy collide. Lochs, glens, and clan feuds abound, including Culloden, Dunrobin, castle and Loch Ness

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Perthshire

The majesty of the Perthshire countryside has long been admired by visitors. A 'string of pearls' exists along its principal travel corridor though making touring particularly easy

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Northern Ireland

The combination of the beauty of the Antrim coast and the edginess of Belfast provide for incredibly varied exposure to Northern Ireland

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