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Train from Edinburgh to St Andrews

Planning a day trip to St Andrews from Edinburgh the third week in September. Is it necessary to book train tickets in advance? Any other suggestions for this trip? We plan to make it a long day. It appears we can walk to all sights.
Thank you !

Posted by
940 posts

Hi, Denise,

The train does not go directly to St. Andrews. You would get off at Leuchars and take a bus or taxi from there. Unless there is a major event going on in St. Andrews or farther north, it's not necessary to purchase your tickets in advance. You may be able to save a small amount of money by purchasing in advance, but the journey is so short that the savings would be negligible. You can save a bit by travelling off-peak.

Slainte!

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
44 posts

Thank you for your advice. Yes I do understand we will need to take a bus from the station into St. Andrews. Thanks!

Posted by
2101 posts

If you want to save a bit of money, there are also direct coaches between Edinburgh and St Andrews.

Posted by
940 posts

Hi again, Denise,

There are a couple of factors in comparing train/bus vs. bus. A lot depends on how much time you want to spend in St. Andrews. The bus from Edinburgh takes about 2 1/2 hours, but is city centre to town centre. The train (from Waverley) to Leuchars takes about one hour and five minutes, and the bus from Leuchars to St. Andrews takes about 15 minutes. Taxi would be even faster, albeit possibly more expensive, depending on how many there are in your group.

So by taking train/bus as opposed to just the bus, you save about an hour's travel time each way. You need to compare the difference in cost between the two routes to determine which works better for you.

One problem with purchasing advance train tickets is that by getting the cheapest, rock bottom price, you are committing yourselves to taking a specific train. If for some reason you miss that train, you end up paying a whole lot more. Best thing to do would be to buy off peak day return tickets on the day that you're going, or get off peak anytime tickets the day before your planned travel. If you're travelling at peak (commuter) times, all bets are off. Best to purchase the tickets from a live person, rather than from a kiosk. That will minimize the confusion.

If you're spending the whole day, then it may be best to purchase peak tickets for the outward journey, and off peak for the return.

In addition to the town itself, there is West Sands, where the opening sequence of Chariots of Fire was filmed (cue Vangelis' theme), the Cathedral and the castle.

Have a wonderful time!

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
44 posts

Mike,
Thank you very much for this advice. We do plan on spending an entire day in St Andrew's, to enjoy the town, see the Old Course, the Cathedral and Castle, and now the beach you mentioned! The four of us golf, so may even try to squeeze a round of putting at the St Andrews Ladies' Putting club-fun piece of history. I appreciate the advice on non peak "anytime" tickets for the train. We will take the train.

I appreciate the advice and can't wait to visit Scotland.

Posted by
81 posts

The ladies putting course, the Himalayas, was the best 1£ I spent in all of Scotland!

Posted by
2732 posts

Be sure to allow time to visit the British Golf Museum. Its cafeteria has huge picture windows overlooking the 1st/18th hole of the Old Course.

Also, if you sign up for the Old Course walking tour, be aware it's more standing around than walking. You basically stand in a few spots on the 1st/18th holes listening to anecdotes about what various famous golfers did to get a certain shot in various famous tournaments. If you're lucky, the guide will give you a photo op on the Swilcan Bridge. The tour ends in a very good gift shop and I think you get a coupon for a discount or a free logo-imprinted golf ball, something like that.

The window where you pay to play the Himalayas and get your putter, balls and score card is around the side of the ladies' clubhouse. The prominent "Members Only" sign on the front made us think we were in the wrong place, but you just have to go around to the side. You don't have to wear regulation golf shoes, just any shoes or boots with flat heels.

Posted by
940 posts

Hi once again, Denise,

My last post may have been a bit confusing. I meant take a taxi from Leuchars to St. Andrews, not all the way from Edinburgh. But you probably figured that out! With four of you travelling, a taxi might be cheaper than four bus fares.

BTW, if you've seen Chariots of Fire, the front of the "Carlton Hotel" that the runners enter after their run on West Beach is actually the front of the R&A.

Best wishes,

Mike (Auchterless)