St Andrews is a classy town. Best known as 'The Home of Golf' St Andrews, in the north of Fife, is where the game was invented and if it's golf you are coming for there are an amazing 10 courses to play on, including the famous Old Course. If you are wondering what to do in St Andrews read on. St Andrews has the third oldest university in the English-speaking world, which has just been named the best in the UK, beating Cambridge and Oxford for the first time in history. There is so many things to do in St Andrews that I highly recommend spending at least 2 days here. I have included a selection of my favourite places to stay below. If you only have one day you can still get a feeling for the town and get the chance to explore. It's a town which is culturally rich, with a diverse population and unique attractions. It's really a town like no other and it would be a shame to miss it off your Scotland Itinerary.
Find out about all the amazing things to do in St Andrews, how to get there, the best time to visit, and the best places to stay, eat and shop.
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While visiting Edinburgh it would be criminal to miss out on a traditional afternoon tea, especially as Edinburgh has some of the most amazing venues to enjoy it in. Afternoon teas in Edinburgh are a luxurious and indulgent way to relax after a few hours pounding the cobbled streets of this beautiful city. It's an experience, one to be savoured with friends, one to enjoy with loved ones, where you can sink into a comfy seat, sit back and chat while relishing the pretty, dainty treats on offer.
Splashing out on afternoon tea dates back to the 1880's when Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford, fancied a light snack during the long afternoon gap between her lunch and evening meal. What began as some tea, bread and butter served in her room with a few friends quickly caught the attention of high society and the light snack became a glamorous affair enjoyed by ladies dolled up in dresses, long gloves and posh hats.
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Updated April 2023
Anstruther is the largest in a string of pretty, colourful fishing villages which make up the East Neuk of Fife. It is most well known for its award winning fish and chip shop and the day trips to the nearby Isle of May to see the cute and comical puffins. There are some lovely things to do in Anstruther. Eating delicious ice cream while watching the array of boats bobbing in the harbour, or eating freshly caught haddock from a cardboard chippy box while sitting on a bench, have always been popular summer activities for locals and tourists alike. These little fishing villages are charming, the locals are proud of the East Neuk and love to make it even more special with their artistic touches, which you'll find as you meander the cobbled streets. We have another business lovingly creating subscription boxes filled with Scottish goodies and sending them worldwide, we featured Anstruther in our Spring 2023 box and spent many hours meandering the little lanes and gazing at the quirky and unique houses and cottages. We met some charming producers, artists and foodies and passionate locals. You can find out more about our 'Bonnie Wee Scotland Box' here.
A wee bit of history
Anstruther was formed and given a royal charter in 1587 and throughout the following years it was known mostly for its fishing. Fishing and trade was how the people of Anstruther made a living and when the import duties rose in the 18th century there was little option left but to smuggle goods in and brandy and rum were smuggled in during the dark nights to the 'Smugglers Inn' which has only just closed in the last year.
Herring fishing was a major part of life for Anstruther folk in the 19th century, men would sail the seas and return with their catch at the crack of dawn, the family would salt and pack up the fish, ready to ship off to countries in the Baltics. The village of Pittenweem, a little further along the coast, is the main working harbour now, the harbour in Anstruther is mostly used for pleasure craft.
The former Royal burgh of Kirkcaldy is a large town on the east coast of Scotland, in the Kingdom of Fife. It's fondly known as the 'lang toon' due to its almost 1 mile water front in the 14th century, although it is almost 4 miles long now. The town is a good base for those wanting to travel around Scotland, it is close to Edinburgh and Glasgow, is in a beautiful region and should have everything you need in terms of hotels, restaurants, shops and entertainment. There are also many things to do in Kirkcaldy to keep all ages happy.
A wee bit of history
Kirkcaldy is probably most well known for being the birthplace of Scottish economist and philosopher Adam Smith who wrote the 1766 book 'The Wealth of Nations'. There was also a strange whiff from the Nairns Linoleum factory that gained quite the reputation, there was even a poem written about it which is displayed on the wall in the train station. Kirkcaldy has a long industrial past, with only a few of the factories still remaining. Linen, Linoleum, Salt, nails and coal were all produced here with the harbour being an important point to export and import goods.
If you are interested in historic cities, Lancaster is a must. From our gorgeous lodgings at The Fenwick, in the rolling countryside on the outskirts of the city, we spend 48 hours exploring the city, discovering some amazing Lancaster attractions, finding out about the city's roots and sampling some of the best steak and seafood we've had the pleasure of tasting.
We were invited along to enjoy three days in the historic city of Lancaster by Visit Lancashire
Getting to Lancaster from Scotland
Lancaster is just over 2 hours away from Edinburgh and Glasgow by train so makes an ideal weekend city break. The trains are direct and leave frequently and I found tickets for as cheap as £30 per person if you book in advance! It's also just off the main M6 motorway if you fancy a road trip.
Our stay at The Fenwick began on Friday evening, the darkness had fallen on a crisp dry day and we didn't get to fully appreciate how utterly charming this country pub was until the next morning. What we had experienced though, from our drive through the picturesque landscape, with rolling green fields and chocolate box villages, was just how delightful Lancashire was.
We couldn't wait to explore this beautiful city, and we had came at the ideal time, off season is a great time to explore new cities. Attractions in cities rarely close over winter and the tourists have left so the streets are quiet and calm and you don't feel rushed or stressed.
Lancaster feels less like a city and more like a big town, it is in fact the county town of Lancaster, but its mighty cathedral gives it city status. Most of the main attractions are within walking distance of the centre and the bus and train station are located there too so you'll never need to walk far.
Lancaster is one of England's Heritage Cities and if you know me at all you'll know I love nothing more than meandering historic streets but there is something else we were looking forward to on this trip, we had heard rumours of some top class food and we were hoping they were true!
The town of Dunfermline, in Fife, used to be a Royal Burgh and is the most populated town in the county so it's an ideal place to base yourself so you can explore the Kingdom of Fife and further afield. There are so many things to do in Dunfermline and it's close to many pretty towns and villages, including Culross (where Outlander was filmed). The town itself has an impressive history dating back to at least the 11th century and there are many historic sites around the town such as Dunfermline Abbey where Robert the Bruce is buried. Dunfermline is also well connected by bus and train and is around three miles north of the Forth Road Bridge.
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A wee bit of history
Although the first written record of Dunfermline was in the 11th century when Malcolm III married Saint Margaret, discoveries including flint arrowheads, a stone axe and a stone ball date the area back to Neolithic times. It was Malcolm III who established Dunfermline as a seat of royal power and no less than 18 royals are buried here. The town was Scotland's capital until 1603 when the union of Scotland and England occurred. The loss of any royal connection happened when the Scottish courts relocated to London and the town declined following a major fire in 1624 when much of the town burnt, The town began to flourish again after the introduction of the weaving of linen damask. Dyeing, bleaching, soap making, rope making and brewing helped to keep the town prosperous in the following years.
What's the town like today
Dunfermline today is a busy and popular town with all the amenities you'll need if you decide to base yourself here during your vacation. The High Street has many of the usual shops, and the road off the main shopping street has some delightful independent shops. The main supermarkets are located in the retail parks on the outskirts of town and Duloch park, which is just outside Dunfermline and is reachable by bus from the town's main bus station, has a multi screen cinema, bowling alley, restaurants, crazy golf and a large gym and spa. The town is popular with locals who enjoy the shops and cafes and tourists love to visit the historical sites which are some of the most important in the country. With so many things to do in Dunfermline it's a lovely town to use as a base while you explore the country.
Things to do in Dunfermline
Undoubtably one of the most popular things to do in Dunfermline. We can date Dunfermline Abbey back to 1070 when King Malcolm III married Queen Margaret. She loved it so much she brought in Benedictine monks from Canterbury to set up a religious community. Her son turned the church into a rather more grand abbey after 1128. You can still see the original nape here when you visited, the attached Abbey Church, which is still in use, was built in 1821. Queen Margaret later became Saint Margaret and she is buried in the grounds. Many of the buildings were destroyed uring the wars of independence and Robert the Bruce helped greatly in the rebuild and he is also buried here, minus his heart. In 1587 James VI granted the Abbey to his wife, Queen Anne of Denmark who's son, Charles , was born here. The Abbey and the remains of the palace are today looked after by Historic Scotland and they are well worth a visit.
Glasgow is a buzzing, exciting city. If you are planning on spending time here during your vacation then these boutique hotels in Glasgow would be ideal. There are some fantastic options, and they aren't as expensive as you may think. Many of these are 5 star hotels in Glasgow, some have 4 stars but what makes them all so special is the attention to detail, the little extras, the comfort level and the quirky, unique touches.
To help you decide which hotel to go for I've included all the features of each in the list below along with a handy map so you can find the best boutique hotels in Glasgow, in the location you want. Hotels tend to be cheaper out with the middle of summer and during the week as opposed to the weekend if you have flexibility. The best luxury hotels in Glasgow tend to fill up quick too so I'd advise booking in advance, you can check up to date prices and book using the links at the foot of each hotel description.
During this time of uncertainty, with travel off the cards, you may well have had to cancel your trip to Scotland. I look forward to a time when we can fly again but until then how about some books about Scotland to keep you inspired and excited about your future trip? I know it's one of the only things keeping me sane at the moment. Books are a wonderful escape and will help you wile away the hours being stuck at home. These books may also give you some ideas for when you are planning for your future trip.
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The Scottish Bothy Bible
If you hike in Scotland there is a good chance you will stumble across a bothy, abandoned buildings which are often old farmsteads or crofts, which are free to stay in should you need. They are as basic as they come, and all entirely individual. This brilliant book is a complete guide to these little gems and includes maps, directions and all the information you need about facilities and nearby attractions. One of my favourite books about Scotland.
Walking the Jurassic Coast
Walking the Jurassic Coast
The Jurassic Coast in England is one of the most famous outdoor areas in England, and it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Walking the Jurassic Coast is a wonderful way to spend time, and there are plenty of jaw-dropping places to see along the coast. Truth be told, there are so many things to see in the area that you could spend a month exploring it in-depth.
From Durdle Door, a massive natural arch over the sea, to the long sandy beach of Chesil beach stretching on for miles and miles, you’re definitely in for a treat.
This post was kindly written by Kevin from KevMRC Travel and Photography
11 Prettiest towns in England
English towns are some of the most beautiful in the world. Well known for being welcoming and friendly places, with characteristic houses, charming churches and parks and cafes and restaurants serving delicious food, these prettiest towns in England deserve to be explored.
Windsor, Berkshire by Liliane from My Toronto, My World
Windsor is one of the prettiest towns in England. It's most known for Windsor Castle which is one of the Royal Residences and one of the major tourist attractions in England. The Queen uses the castle as her weekend home and now hosts just as many banquets and official state dinners there as she does at Buckingham Palace. If you're exploring Windsor Castle your ticket also gets you entry to St George's Chapel which is the location of many of the royal weddings!
Besides Windsor Castle, the town has plenty to offer. It's a beautiful little town with a nice main street filled with shops and restaurants worth exploring. There's also St John Baptist Church to visit which has a beautiful painting of the last supper and the Windsor and Royal Borough Museum which focuses on the history of the area. If you want to explore more of the nature side of Windsor you can't miss walking along the River Thames, walk the 2.65 mile Long Walk in Windsor Great Park or take in the flowers at Savill Garden.
If your itinerary doesn't include visiting other parts of the country besides London, then you can still see Windsor because a day trip to Windsor from London is quite easy and only requires a train ride that's just under the hour mark
Recommended hotel Macdonald Windsor