Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Visiting Scotland: St Andrews The Home of Golf

St Andrews, Fife, Scotland

St Andrews Castle Fife Scotland
St Andrews Castle Fife Scotland
I went to university in St Andrews (many years before Prince William and Kate Middleton), so perhaps I am bias, but to me St Andrew is one of the places in Scotland everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. Find out what to do, where to stay and where to eat in St Andrews. The British Open Golf Championship return to St Andrews for 2015.
Classed as a city (by some) because of its Cathedral, the atmosphere of St Andrews is more of a metropolitan small town. It is very welcoming with a cosy atmosphere of winding streets lined with old buildings, many built from the stone taken from the cathedral , and roofed in red pan-tiles.

North Street St Andrews Fife Scotland
Looking up North Street towards the University Chapel
 from the Cathedral St Andrews
The University of St Andrews stretches throughout the town, many of the magnificient buildings along The Scores and within the town are associated with the university, making this a unique whole-town campus where town and gown meet. I suppose some may think the town has a duel personality: during term time it brims with life in the students and academics while in summer it heaves with tourists and golfers, this being the Home of Golf and the ultimate challenge for every player. Rich and famous, they fly in in helicopters just to play on the courses here, especially The Old Course. It is the residents of St Andrews, however, who are the luckiest having this on their doorstep with a better than average chance of winning the ballot for teeing off, especially out of season.
The place is seeped in history, beautiful old buildings spoiled only occasionally by a carbunkle like the University library of the new Byre Theatre.
And to top it off there are wonderful clean beaches with sanddunes, good surfing, incredible bird-watching opportunities and lovely walks.
All the image used on this page were taken by me and are copyrighted to AnnMackieMiller 2010. Please do not copy them.

University of St Andrews

University Chapel

University of St Andrews Chapel from the quad
St Andrews university chapel
from the quad
There are many things to see in St Andrews and you can even take a walking tour with one of the students, in their distinctive red gowns. The tour starts at the University Chapel which is of itself a wonderful, ivy covered building.
It plays an important part in student life, not least because it is in the cloisters forming part of the Quad that exam results are posted and students celebrate. As per tradition, I was met by my friends with champagne when I finished my last exam here. 

University of St Andrews Chapel - and where Patrick Hamilton was burned at the stake

At the gateway built into the cobbles is a tribute to Patrick Hamilton the last martyr to burned at the stake here. Rumour has it that they ran out of wood before he died and they sent to the Cathedral for more. Students today believe the face to be seen etched in the stone above the gateway is that of Patrick Hamilton. His initials are etched on the cobbles at the spot where he died and it is still considered bad luck to stand on the letters depicting his name - especially at exam time.!
Can you see the face in the stone in the photo? Try the third block up.
stonework St Andrews Unverisity chapel
face of Patrick Hamilton? 
initials in cobbles where Patrick Hamiltion was burned at the stake
where Patrick Hamiltion was burned
at the stake

St Andrews Poetry Festival 

StAnza 2015 

Dates: March 4 - 8

cultural festival

Every spring a wonderful event takes place in St Andrews, the annual Poetry Festival. The is the only regular festival dedicated to poetry in Scotland and is truly international in outlook. Founded in 1998, it is held each March in St Andrews, Scotland's oldest university town. The festival is an opportunity to engage with a wide variety of poetry, to hear world class poets reading in exciting and atmospheric venues, to experience a range of performances where music, film, dance and poetry work in harmony, to view exhibitions linking poetry with visual art and to discover the part poetry has played in the lives of a diverse range of writers, musicians and media personalities. The simple intention of StAnza is to celebrate poetry in all its many forms.
Venues stretch all through the town from pub breakfasts to university building to the new Byre Theatre. Many evenings there is an open-mike session and the event usually has an annual SLAM poetry competiton.
If you are planning a visit to St Andrews this is certainly one event to consider.

Wildlife in and Around St Andrews

Kittiwakes nesting on cliffs  at St Andrews
Kittiwakes nesting on cliffs
at St Andrews
There is plenty of wildlife in St Andrews and that isn't just the students.
Seabirds and seal are often seen and the cliffs along from the castle are regular nest sites for Kittiwakes. As you look down at them it is an excellent opportunity to observe these pretty but noisy birds.

You can often spot seals on shore and there are  many seabirds and waders.

Nearby is The Eden Estuary which is famous for many rare sitings.
And of course the wonderful beach and forest reserve at Tentsmuir. 

St Andrews 2015 Open Championship

Of course you can't get away from golf in St Andrews and this year the British Open will be there 16th to 19th July. 

Find Accommodation in St Andrews - where to stay in St Andrews

There is no shortage of places to stay in and around St Andrews from 5 star hotels to small Bed and Breakfast homes and Self-Catering Flats.

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