St Andrews is more than a day at beach, but what a beach, writes Sarah Pollok.
So, you've found yourself in Scotland; the country that gave us golf, tartan and Ewan McGregor. But if a few days in glorious Edinburgh have you curious to see more of the country, a day trip to St Andrews is the perfect adventure.
For those travelling by car, the A92, A91 or M90 will get you from Edinburgh to St Andrews in 90 minutes. However, travellers without the luxury of a vehicle, need not fret - countless tour buses offer to take visitors there and back, while the small city itself is easily navigated by foot. St Andrews is best known for its many golf courses but even if you're not planning on hitting the fairway, there's still much to see and do.
For film buffs, there will be only one way to travel from one end of St Andrews' West Sands beach to the other: running, in slow motion, while wearing a starched white polo and belting the Chariots of Fire theme song. That's right, this unassuming beach was used in the famous 1981 film. Yet to see it? Don't worry, the fresh ocean air and soft sands can be enjoyed by all.
A university campus may seem an unusual attraction but when it's the oldest in a country millennia old, you know it's worth a visit. Established in 1413, the University of St Andrews is the oldest in Scotland, the third oldest in Britain and has the stunning traditional campus to prove it. With historic brick buildings, cobblestone streets and pristine green grounds, it's a charming step back in time. It's also closest to the ruins of St Andrews Castle, which dates back to the 13th century. Pop in to see the "bottle dungeon", one of medieval Britain's most infamous castle prisons, cut from solid rock.
Attend the university and the first thing you learn is to keep an eye out for the stone marked with a 'PH' at St Salvator's Quadrangle. Rumour has it, it's the very spot where heretical religious teacher Patrick Hamilton was burned at the stake, and anyone who stands there will be cursed to fail their next exam, or lose their entire degree.
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Nothing could get more Scottish than tartan and at Johnston's of Elgin, they make some of the best in the business. Beloved by designers like Chanel and Christopher Kane, this cashmere house is the perfect spot to pick up a classy keepsake from your trip that will never go out of style.
When in Scotland, do as the Scots do. Meaning, when the end of the day rolls around, find yourself the closest pub and settle in for a few drinks. Our pick is The Criterion, a no-nonsense pub that keeps things simple and does them well. With a menu of pies, more than 160 malt whiskies and six cask ales to choose from, any Kiwi will feel right at home.
For those with the self-control not to fill up on The Crit's pies, or the stomach for two dinners, The Grange is your next port of call for a traditional Scottish bite. Set up in a 17th-century farmhouse, it has panoramic views across St Andrews, classic exposed stonework interior and the hearty menu is the quintessentially Scottish way to end the day.