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Studying Abroad in St. Andrews!

My husband will be studying abroad in July and I will be joining him. While he is in class, I'm looking for some fun things to do on my own in St. Andrews, Edinburgh and relatively close cities. We will have 4 days of no class before making the trek to London and was hoping for some advice on 1) day trips for me to explore on my own and 2) what we should prioritize in Scotland as a couple- preferably not in St Andrews. We don't know where we will end up and haven't chosen HOW to get back to London, so any insight on that would also be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

Friends- Thank you for your responses! Clarification: We will have our 4 days of exploration after the program finishes and then make our way to London at the end of the 4th day. :)

Posted by
2802 posts

How exciting! Could you clarify, are the 4 days at the end of his study program, so you'll have 4 free days and then need to be in London by the 4th night? Or 4 days at the beginning? It will make a difference in how long the days are since it stays light almost all night at the beginning of July. In any case, here are some ideas.

In St. Andrews itself you'll surely want to visit the British Golf Museum and enjoy lunch or tea in the cafe with its picture windows overlooking the Old Course 1st/18th hole. You can take the Old Course walking tour, but be aware it is not a walk of the entire course, but more of standing around at various spots in the 1st/18th hole vicinity, listening to anecdotes about one famous golfer after another and what they did for a given shot at a given tournament. IOW, it's fascinating for hardcore golf fans and relatively incomprehensible for the rest of us. You could play the Himalayas though this is probably more fun if you can find a few other people to make a threesome or foursome.

You can take a day trip to Dundee, where there's the new V&A design museum among other things to see and do.

You might look into renting a bike and spending a day riding along the coastal route toward Anstruther and back. I wouldn't be surprised if there are groups of cyclists doing this.

When your 4 free days arrive, I'd suggest booking a place in the area of Blairgowrie and Coupar Angus (i.e., near Glamis Castle) for 1-2 nights, then Edinburgh. Or if you are city people, then just stay in Edinburgh for the entire time; you'd then have time for a half-day excursion to Roslin Chapel, if that interests you.

To get from Edinburgh to London you could either take the train or fly. Hope this helps!

Posted by
3634 posts

How fun!

In St. Andrews there is the Himalayas Putting Course managed by the St. Andrews Ladies Putting Club. It is open to everyone (most of the time- check website for schedule) , incredibly cheap (1-2 pounds), and a great deal of fun. It is a way to "golf at St. Andrews" without taking yourself all too seriously and without paying incredible sums of money.

http://www.standrewsputtingclub.com/

Posted by
219 posts

I spent a semester at St. Andrews when I was in college. It's a fantastic town. I definitely think you should do a day trip (or two) to Edinburgh, but don't dismiss St. Andrews itself. Even if you're not interested in golf (which I am not), there is plenty to do and just absorb. There are the ruins of the cathedral (which don't take much time, but are cool and atmospheric) and the beach is just beautiful (beware of flying golf balls!). I would cut through the park everyday when walking from my hall to my classes and there was always a cricket game going on. I'm sure the pubs and restaurants I frequented are gone now, but I don't doubt there are excellent replacements.

As for getting back to London. You can take the train from St. Andrews (well, Leuchars, which, at least when I was last there, was a short bus ride or taxi trip) and change in Edinburgh, and then take the direct Edinburgh-Kings' Cross train. However, I should warn you (and I LOVE trains and will put up with a lot to take one rather than fly), that I have never taken that train without some kind of hiccup, usually involving a considerable delay (it seems there is always track work in Yorkshire). I've been taken off that train more than once in York and rerouted either onto another train or onto a bus (and these experiences were several years apart). If you're not in love with trains, I'd just fly from Edinburgh to London; it takes about an hour. Flying will also be cheaper.

As for Dundee: the V&A museum extension mentioned by another poster is new since my time, but I bet it's lovely. We went to Dundee occasionally, though mainly for the mall. My recollection was that it was very pleasant but not necessarily a must-see or memorable. I remember that a lot of my professors commuted from there to St. Andrews.

Enjoy St. Andrews! I was only there in January-late May, but I am sure it is simply gorgeous in July.

Caroline

Posted by
2416 posts

As for getting back to London. You can take the train from St. Andrews
(well, Leuchars, which, at least when I was last there, was a short
bus ride or taxi trip) and change in Edinburgh, and then take the
direct Edinburgh-Kings' Cross train. However, I should warn you (and I
LOVE trains and will put up with a lot to take one rather than fly),
that I have never taken that train without some kind of hiccup,
usually involving a considerable delay (it seems there is always track
work in Yorkshire). I've been taken off that train more than once in
York and rerouted either onto another train or onto a bus (and these
experiences were several years apart). If you're not in love with
trains, I'd just fly from Edinburgh to London; it takes about an hour.
Flying will also be cheaper.

There are a few daily direct trains from Leuchars to London, in my opinion the best way to get from St Andrews to London. No change in Edinburgh needed, no buses to the airport with changes along the way, no security checks, no liquid restrictions and plenty of legroom. (The worst thing that has happened to me on that route was a 5 minute delay once.)

Posted by
527 posts

If you do decide to take the train back to London it would be best to avoid doing so at the weekend. Engineering works get scheduled at the weeks, so delays and cancellations (sometimes involving the dreaded 'rail replacement bus service') are always more likely at weekends.

Posted by
681 posts

I would probably check what bus day trips go out of St. Andrews. There are many sites within driving distance but that won't help if you don't have a car. Once you get there, stop by a TI or check on trip advisor. If you are there during the Edinburgh military tattoo would be amazing but are probably sold out by now. Enjoy!!!