A Winter’s Week in St Andrews: The Scottish Town That Will Capture Your Heart

Happy Sunday everyone, today’s travel post is all about the incredible town of St Andrews, a perfect destination no matter the weather. My family and I spent a beautiful week staying here, a place we have all loved and have grown up adoring. If you appreciate beaches, harbours, and gorgeous sunsets, all set in a historic and scenic setting, then you will fall in love with St Andrews!

The Castle Sands and Harbour

received_2161855000809519

The town of St Andrews is on the East coast of Scotland, North of Edinburgh, and about a half hour drive away from the city of Dundee (which is also worth a visit if you are in the area). St Andrews is famous for its golf courses, St Andrews University, and its idyllic coastal setting. The town is perfect for a day trip if you enjoy walking and learning about Scotland’s history, but it also makes a great holiday if want to take a longer trip.

img_4089

The house we were staying in was right behind the sea front on North Castle Street, right by ‘The Scores’, the famous street that runs along the St Andrews sea front. Due to being a popular tourist destination, there is a huge variety of accommodation to pick from in St Andrews, from hotels, houses, and bed and breakfasts. We found that staying near the centre was great as we were near to Market Street, this is the high street where there are lots of shops and good places to eat and drink. But we were also very near the beaches and the coastal walks.

img_4008

We went for a brisk walk along to the harbour every morning of our trip, the house was also just a couple of minutes walking distance from the harbour, a great place to see the town awakening each morning after the sunrise. Almost every morning we saw herons down on the rocks by the harbour, incredibly majestic animals which were fascinating to watch. My Uncle managed to take this incredible photograph of one of them!

dsc_4987

dsc_4879-01

The photo below shows the coastal path that you can follow right along from the Scores, along side the cliffs to the harbour, there are benches and tourist information boards along the way. It makes a great place to bring a picnic in the summer, but even in winter it was still very enjoyable.

dsc_4779_ed

 

The West Sands Beach

IMG-2631

The West Sands is just a 15 minute walk from the town centre, and if you’ve seen the film ‘Chariots of Fire’ you will recognise this beach from the opening scene. The beach is about 2 miles long and is very close to the famous ‘Old Course’ which is a very popular tourist destination for golf fans, especially in the summer months. The beach makes a serene and peaceful walk, even if there are other people around it still feels this way. There is parking at the beach, and the golf museum and toilets are also close by.

 

St Andrews Cathedral

IMG-4074

Despite our many trips to St Andrews, we had never visited St Andrews Cathedral, and it was well worth the visit! The cathedral, now in remains, was once Scotland’s biggest cathedral and most important church. The museum has some extremely interesting artefacts and information boards, dating from early medieval times. St Rule’s church (on the cathedral site) is estimated to have been built in 1130, and the cathedral begun in 1160. It was finally complete in 1318, Robert the Bruce was present for this momentous occasion in Scotland’s history.

IMG-4073

Here is a link to the Visit Scotland website which has more information about the cathedral if you are planning a visit. The staff who worked in the museum and gift shop here were also very helpful.

IMG-4076

We climbed to the top of St Rules’ Tower, which can be seen the photo above, it is about 33m tall. It was an extremely narrow and steep climb but the view at the top was certainly worth the hike. You get a panoramic view of the town, and all the way out to sea. The weather was lovely on the day we went so the sun made the view even more glorious. There is a fee to pay in order to visit the cathedral, but it is not expensive, and you can also get a discount if you get a ticket to visit St Andrews Castle which is just down the road.

IMG-4080IMG-4083

The East Sands Beach

The East Sands is also just along from the harbour and is a very short walk from the town centre. You can also get a great view of St Andrews castle from here, and to the West Sands in the distance. This beach is usually quieter due to it being a bit rockier and further from the town centre, so if you want an even more peaceful beach to stop off at and watch the seabirds then this spot is ideal.

dsc_4755_ed-1img_3990img_3988-1

This photo was taken just outside of the house we were staying in and shows St Andrews Castle, we did not visit the castle on this trip but it looks like another great place to go if you are visiting St Andrews. There is more information about the castle on the Visit Scotland website which can be found here.

img_3995

Hope you’re having a great day wherever you are in the world, and that you get to experience St Andrews and all it has to offer. Let me know if you have ever visited!

Mol x

Let’s be social! Pinterest // Twitter // Bloglovin’

Rousham, The Secret Garden of Oxfordshire

Rambling roses encasing woven branch archways that cover elegant pools of water, your reflection so vividly clear, the water is as tranquil as the peaceful aura that makes the garden so special…

img_28331

Rousham is 12 miles North of the city of Oxford, I am incredibly lucky to live so near to this exquisite place, it is one of the very few gardens to this day which has completely escaped alteration of the modern age. There is no commercialisation, also no dogs or children under 15 allowed (bear this in mind if you are planning a family visit).

All of this makes the gardens seem almost untouched, there were a few groups of people there at the same time we were but this did not alter the calm atmosphere in any way.

img_28291

Tickets for the gardens are £6, you can also pre-book a tour of the house if you are visiting in a larger group.

img_2434

We enjoyed a walk around the walled gardens and grounds, sat by the river soaking up the sun for a long time and got so many lovely photos. Whether you are a flower enthusiast, if you are looking for a peaceful day to yourself, or you love taking photos of nature and the outdoors (or lots of your friends looking gorgeous against floral backdrops that are certainly Instagram worthy!), then you will love Rousham.

img_24771

This was one of my favourite spots, the only noises were the sounds of the birds and the lapping of the water on the river bank.

We all thought this would be the ideal place to sit and paint or draw, so if unlike us you are able to paint beautiful landscapes then I can imagine this would be the perfect spot!

img_2427

If like me and my friends, you are major picnic enthusiasts, grab your picnic basket and blanket, and stock up on cocktail sausages because this is one of the most lovely picnic spots we have enjoyed, and we have had a fair few picnics round Oxfordshire (shocker: we are indeed uni students and not retired Grandma’s).

If you also love being at one with nature, Rousham also had an element of this! Now don’t get carried away, we’re still in England, we’re not exactly feeding elephants in Thailand or observing sea turtles in Coral Bay, but we made a new pal with a peacock who was very friendly and interested in anybody who had a snack in their hand, what a guy…

img_2355

img_2361

If you have enjoyed books like the Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and were read Beatrix Potter books as a child, the honeysuckle, intricately carved archways and walled gardens with ivy and assortments of spring colours climbing up them will certainly make you nostalgic.

img_23941

“It is the time you have spent on your rose that makes her so important” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

img_2399

The gardens were designed by William Kent (1685-1748) who was originally a painter who went on to create what many called the “new English garden”. The gardens stand in almost the very same way that he left them in back in the early days of Georgian Britain.

img_2480

“What we call the highest and the lowest in nature are both equally perfect. A willow bush is as beautiful as the human form divine.” – Beatrix Potter

img_28301

This was a perfect day out

“And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles.” – Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Thanks for reading, if you enjoyed please leave a comment and follow me!

Until next time,

Mol x

Follow me on: Pinterest // Twitter //