MY family and i currently are planning on a trip in Scotland that starts in Edinburgh and then we stay three days in Mull, three days in Isle of Skye, then 3 days in Saint Andrews. And then back to Edinburgh. We are looking to do hiking, castles, sightseeing nature. Should we opt out of Saint Andrews in favor of a Iverness, Aberdeen, Orkey(too far) etc? We are not really a big golf family. Thanks in advance!
I see St Andrews as a great day trip for non-golfers. Playing the Himalayas ( a 18 hole putting course right next to the main course) is a blast and quite inexpensive. There is a lovely beach and great people watching.
With the time available, Orkney is too far.
There's more to St Andrews than golf. As well as the ruined castle and cathedral there are good beaches. You have the fishing villages along the Fife Coast. There is Falkland Palace with tiits connections to Mary Queen of Scots. Dundee isn't that far and could easily fill a day with lots of different museums, including V&A Dundee, HMS Unicorn (C19th Royal Navy frigate) and RRS Discovery (links to Scott and his disasterous trip to Antarctica). It is also on your way back to Edinburgh...
Inverness - Loch Ness is high on the tick list of many tourists but not one of the best Scottish Lochs. You have Urquart CAstle (best seen from a cruise on teh loch). There is Culloden BAttlefield and close by are the Clava Cairns (part of a Bronze age cemetery). There is also Fort George, the most amazing military construction built after the Battle of Culloden to control the Highlands and crush any future Jacobite rebellions and still in use by the military.
Aberdeen area - castles (ruined and stately) and whisky. Too many to list!
With your 3 days in St Andrews, in addition to what others have listed, you could go up to Glamis Castle, about an hour's drive north. Also, in St. Andrews there is the British Golf Museum, which has lots of historical exhibits -- as someone who knows/cares very little about golf, I found it very interesting and enjoyable.
I would favour Inverness over St Andrews. The latter is ok for a day, but I think there are better bases. The post above details the highlights. I would stay in Nairn rather than Inverness itself.
I'm going to disagree and say St Andrews. You're already staying at two Highland type bases in Mull and Skye, so a lowland base like St Andrews makes a good contrast. St Andrews is also imo a nicer town than Inverness.
Although St Andrews is obviously very popular with golfers, it is way more than just golf and it has a lot of attractions, both in the town and surrounding area, that are not in any way golf related as other posters have highlighted.
Wrt to Aberdeen I'm not sure if you're meaning to visit the city of Aberdeen itself or as a base to visit Aberdeenshire? If it's for another city visit then tbh I'd go to Glasgow instead cause it's much bigger and these a lot more to see and do. If you want to visit Aberdeenshire then I wouldn't recommend basing in Aberdeen to do that because there is often bad traffic congestion in Aberdeen and hotels there are generally expensive (at least during the week) due to the oil industry. Better to base in a town like Braemar or ballater etc. However, I'd still go with St Andrews over that option personally.
I'd also pick it over Aberdeenshire for similar reasons - and I absolutely wouldn't recommend staying in Aberdee