My husband is an avid golfer. When planning our Scotland adventure, St Andrews—also known as “The Home of Golf”—was a sure stop on our trip. We caught the train from Edinburgh to Leuchars, then a bus from Leuchars to St Andrews. Excitement (and paranoia at the thought of missing our stop) led us to hop off the bus early and take the long, rainy, scenic walk along the Old Course to our bed and breakfast. Our wonderful hosts at the Cameron Guest House let us check in hours early, shed our 50 lb framepacks and relax in our quintessential Scottish tartan room. Knowing it was a honeymoon, they’d even left us a bottle of champagne (which we cracked before lunch … what??).
Making use of a sun break, we walked a few blocks down the street to St Andrews Castle, a 12th century beauty. This site used to be a bishops; residence, fortress and state prison during its 450-year run. Only a shell of what it once was, it has the best views in town perched on a cliff along the North Sea.
Of all the castles we saw on our trip, this was our favorite to explore – features left as-is so that you really feel transported back in time. We climbed down (yikes!) into a cold, dark mine beneath the castle and got a taste of medieval warfare, and peered into a bottle dungeon where prisoners were kept. Beyond the stunning views, it was a fun journey back in time.
We then walked down the street to St Andrews Cathedral, St Rule’s Church and the most beautiful graveyard I’ve ever seen. With a bright, marbled sky and the threat of rain looming, we wandered around aimlessly, taking in stories written on tombstones.
The next morning, we got ready and walked the few blocks to The Old Course, where golf began. Before our trip we did a little research and discovered that the Old Course is completely open to the public on Sundays, and you can get a guided walking tour of the course. Knowing we’d be in town over a weekend, I bought tickets ahead of time and we headed to the clubhouse. It was a gorgeous sunny—VERY windy day—and couldn’t have been better weather luck for a long walk.
After lunch at a local golfer’s pub (where all the Masters’ and Open winners hang), we checked out the University of St Andrews. A stunning, super romantic campus of old halls, nooks and crannies and lovely gardens. Easy to see how Wills and Kate fell in love here. Made me miss my alma mater!
After a nap and some dinner, we took a sunset walk (sunsets in Scotland during the summer happen around 10-11 p.m.!) along the West Sands beach, where the opening scene of “Chariots of Fire” was filmed. Situated right next to the Old Course, we did a ceremonious last walk of the course and headed towards home.
This town is so gorgeous, there's beauty on every block. Curb appeal is no joke here.
With lingering light and nothing to do, we returned to St Andrews Castle for late sunset shots. I stood on a bench, on my tip-toes to try and get a good shot of the castle ruins.
A woman exited the house behind the castle, glass of wine and newspaper in hand, and sat at the neighboring bench. She asked where we were visiting from and we started talking. I asked her where the best place in town to photograph the castle was, and she invited us up to her bedroom, across the street! Knowing I was a photographer and it was our honeymoon, she welcomed us into her beautiful Scottish home, gave us a glass of wine each, introduced us to her family and showed us where—indeed—the best castle views were. Overcome by the generosity and warm welcome, our host assured us it’d make for a good story (and hopefully good photos) down the road. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, Kimberly! These are for you.
St Andrews was unforgettable and we can’t wait to return!
Next stop, Aberlour and Glenlivet (aka: whisky, castles and spey fishing). To be continued!
Visit my Scotland album to view more and purchase a print.