During our visit to Scotland we made the one hour drive north from Edinburgh to the beautiful coastal town of St Andrews in the Kingdom of Fife.
There is much more to St Andrews than its famous golf courses, many of the tourists that visit don’t even play golf. It’s one of my favourite towns in Scotland to visit with lots for families to enjoy.
We started our visit at the luxurious 5 star Old Course hotel which is a perfect luxury option for families to stay at when visiting the town.
St Andrews is the home of golf and the old course is spectacular. After watching the golfers play and seeing the trophies and giant murals on display in the beautiful Old Course hotel, Holly asked if she could start playing golf – a great way to inspire your children!
As we walked past the award winning Kohler Waters Spa in the hotel the smell was amazing and tempted us in to see what treatments were available. Time was against us this visit but I would definitely look at booking a treatment in advance the next time I visit St Andrews.
Nestled alongside the hotel is the whitewashed building called the Jigger Inn. Overlooking the 17th hole of the Old Course the inn dates back to 1850 and has lots of open fireplaces and cosy booths with tartan cushions to relax in. We arrived too early to have lunch there but it is regarded as one of the most famous places to eat in St Andrews.
Leaving the hotel we made the short 10 minute walk from the Old Course hotel into St Andrews which runs alongside the golf course taking in the breathtaking views. En-route we stopped off for a family photo at the famous Swilken Bridge, where many golfing legends have had their photo after winning the Open.
Located next to the Old Course is West Sands beach famous for being in the opening scenes of the film Chariots of Fire.
We made our way to the Bruce Embankment on the seafront just behind the famous Royal and Ancient golf clubhouse where the girls had great fun highland dancing and listening to the traditional Scottish bagpipers play. With lots of open space it was perfect for the girls to run about and expel some energy.
What caught our eye were the three metre high Kelpie Maquettes sculptures which Chloe recognised from our visit to the Kelpies (the world largest equine sculpture) situated in Falkirk.
These miniature versions of the Kelpies are being used to promote Scotland and Falkirk as visitor destinations, which were definitely attracting attention as there was a long line of people wanting to have their photo taken with these famous pieces of artwork.
We spent the remainder of our day exploring the town with its cobbled streets and beautiful old buildings containing lots of great independent shops and restaurants.
I was surprised that some of my favourite high street shops were also in the town including Jo Malone and Joules – perfect for some retail therapy.
We came across the university, which was founded in 1413 which is Scotland’s oldest university and is the third oldest in the United Kingdom after Oxford and Cambridge.
It’s other claim to fame is that it’s where Prince William and Catherine Middleton met when they both studied there.
Where to Eat
What surprised us about St Andrews was the amount of restaurants on offer in such as small town.
There were high street chains including Prezzo, Zizzi and Nandos to tempting little coffee shops to some fantastic independent restaurants including Cromars for traditional Scottish fish and chips.
After a recommendation we decided on lunch at Forgans, a beautiful restaurant off the main high street.
Housed in a former factory the restaurant has been given a modern trendy makeover, with cosy little booths and was very family friendly. The restaurant focuses on quality ingredients from local sources and the food was delicious.
Places to visit
There are many family –friendly attractions to explore including
St Andrews Aquarium
Although not the largest aquarium in the UK it has a fabulous coastal setting with a range of marine life to view including seals, sharks, rays and seahorses. In the new Amazon area you will see poisonous dart frogs, leeches, piranhas and tens of thousands of leaf cutter ants.
There are also land based species to view including Humboldt Penguins, alligators and even meerkats named Wills, Kate and family.
British Golf Museum
At the home of golf, there was bound to be a museum home to the history of the sport. The museum is very family friendly with trails and guides for children to discover the history of golf in a simple and fun way. This was perfect for the girls after being inspired watching the golfers on the famous course outside. The British Golf Museum is well worth a visit whether or not you like golf.
Craigtoun Country Park
The beautiful Craigtoun Park is situated 5 minutes’ drive from St Andrews offering acres of beautiful parkland to run around and explore. Children will love the adventure play areas at the park along with attractions that includes a miniature train ride, tractor rides, mini golf, trampolines and boating on the lake.
The Scottish Deer Centre
Located on the outskirts of St Andrews is one of the area’s most popular attractions. There are 12 species of deer from around the world plus other animals that used to roam the Scottish countryside including wolves, wildcats, lynx and a European Brown Bear.
Children will love the pedal karts and trailer rides whilst the indoor and outdoor adventure play areas complete with zip slides and climbing frames will keep them entertained for hours.
Scotland’s Secret Bunker
Not many people know this even exists as hidden beneath an innocent Scottish farmhouse is a tunnel to Scotland’s Secret Bunker. Built during the cold war in case of a nuclear attack this vast bunker the size of two football pitches is where the country would have been governed from 100ft underground.
Cairnie Fruit Farm Mega Maize
As well as being able to pick your own fruit, the star attraction at Cairnie Fruit Farm is their Mega Maize which for 2017 is Star Wars themed featuring Darth Vader spread over 6 acres, with maize reaching 8ft in height.
Along with the maze there are lots of things to keep the children entertained including sunken trampolines, bouncing pillows, giant hay bales to climb on and explore, go karts and a 4wd ATV Barrel Bug Ride. Cairnie Fruit Farm Mega Maize is located 20 minutes’ drive away from St Andrews
Why we would recommend a visit to St Andrews
If you are visiting Scotland then a visit to St Andrews should definitely be on your to-do list. I can see why so many people who visit this beautiful town don’t come to play golf, there are so many other things to do especially for families.