Tuesday, 16 September 2014

A Students Guide To St Andrews, Scotland

It's that time again, everyone is heading back to their academic homes for the year - except me!  I've taken a year out to pursue an internship in France, so perhaps I'm being a little nostalgic but I've decided to write my student's guide to St Andrews, my student home.  

New first years will have had Freshers week and just starting classes, so although this blog might be a little late for some I hope it's still useful.  If you have any questions about St Andrews whether you are there already or maybe if you are considering St Andrews as a study option then get in touch with me! 

I love studying in St Andrews, it's such a nice town to live in so I thought I would tell you my Top Tips and favourite parts about the town. 
First up, The University

The university and the town are inextricably linked, one grew up around the other so they are joined together in so many ways.  This means that St Andrews is not a campus university, the whole town is sort of the campus with houses mixed in with uni buildings.  

However there can lead to some town - gown tensions now and then- I'm looking at you Plant Pot Gate where a few years ago some students moved a plant pot into the middle of a roundabout and it got destroyed.  SO MUCH DRAMA, but it also shows how small town we are!  That's another thing, don't expect St Andrews to be big and bustly like a city, it's just not. 


The university has so many fun and crazy traditions for you to get involved with, if anyone is interested I could do a post about it soon- maybe when open days are getting going.  But these include foam fights, pier walks and running into the North Sea at dawn, like I said uni life deserves its own post. 


Location
St Andrews is in Fife, just to the north east of Edinburgh.  Which means it's handy for Edinburgh airport as well as if you want to escape for the day to go shopping.  It's about an hour on the train crossing over the iconic Forth Rail Bridge.  

Glasgow - even better for shopping - is an hour or so on from Edinburgh.  
If you are wanting some good shops and a really fun night life- actual clubs - then you can head to Dundee.  It's only 15 minutes away and there's lots of busses to and from St Andrews.  

You should also check out Anstruther, another pretty coastal town.  It has a working harbour and the BEST fish and chips, ever.  See my post about that here!



St Andrews is in an amazing location, and quite often I just realise how beautiful it is.  There are three beautiful beaches, that you must check them out.  Although be warned it can get pretty windy!

I would also recommend taking a walk down to the harbour, which is really nice and quaint and walking out to our famous pier! 


Amenities
There is way more shops than you would expect of a small town.  Plus there's Dundee if you want your Topshop fix. 

What there is a lot of though, is places to eat and drink.  I mean it - there's loads!  
Coffee

For coffee there's loads of options, chains and independent ones as well.  There is: Costa, Starbucks, Beanscene, Gorgeous, The Rectors Cafe, Mitchells, Zest, Bibis, North Point, Cottage Kitchen, Janettas to name a few.  See, I told you!  I've not done a post on any of them in detail yet but I plan to when I'm home.  Maybe a Best Scone in St Andrews post? 
Bars

There are so many good places to drink in St Andrews, especially if you like cocktails or fancy beers.  There's a place for everyone in St Andrews!  If you want to read a quick summary about cocktails I wrote for my local tourist board you can check it out here.  My top recommendations for places to visit are:  (if you click on some of the names you will see a full post that I have written) West PortThe Vic, The Rule, The Union, Hotel Du Vin, Forgans, St Andrews Tap House, The Blue Stane, 1 Golf Place, Forgans, Rascals, Eden Brewery, Ma Bells.  
Food - Casual
A lot of the places I've just mentioned also do food, like St Andrews Tap House has some amazing tapas and The Rule's breakfast is pretty much the best hangover cure ever.  But there is also: Glass House, Dolls House, Grill House - for the best frozen margaritas, Mitchells, Ziggys, Little Italy, Maisha for the best Indian ever, Bella Italia, Whey Pat for nachos. 

Food - Fancy 
Depending on your idea of fancy there is a huge host of places to eat.  From the golf resort hotels like the Old Course, Russacks and Rufflets to bit more up market restaurants like Zizzis, Rocca Grill, Playfairs, The Adamson, The Seafood Restaurant
Afternoon Tea 

This is maybe not an essential St Andrews need for everyone, but you should do it at least once!  Because who doesn't like afternoon tea?  It's mega special for everyone! I was lucky enough to go to the Old Course to experience their champagne afternoon tea, it was amazing!  You can read about it here or on VisitStAndrews here.  But you can also go to the Fairmont and Rufflets.

That's all from me today, but I could always do more St Andrews posts depending on if you guys would be interested?  Photos here were mostly by Matty over at MMHall Photography, Facebook here
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