We’re experts on St Andrews, but we also know that many of our guests like to take day trips beyond the town. Fife is packed with gorgeous scenery, intriguing history and quirky shopping destinations waiting to be discovered. It’s also only a short drive away from some of Scotland’s biggest destinations. Here are just a few of the great day trips you can take from St Andrews.
Stretching along the East Coast of Fife, this stunning collection of villages makes the perfect day trip from St Andrews. From the creative atmosphere of Crail to the rough and ready fishing village of Pittenweem, the East Neuk is a diverse region. We have a longer guide about our favourite villages in the area that you can check out here.
If you’re visiting in the winter we recommend Crail in particular. The local boutiques - such as Crail Gallery - will give you a unique collection of souvenirs to choose from. It’s also a foodie’s haven, with restaurants like Reilly Shellfish offering gorgeous seafood.
Speaking about mouthwatering seafood, Anstruther is a great choice in the summer. Head to Anstruther Fish Bar to sample arguably the most famous fish and chips in Scotland. There’s also a ferry service to the islands in the Forth - perfect for capturing the secluded scenery.
Scotland’s ancient capital is a destination everyone should visit at least once in their life - and it’s only a 90 minute drive from St Andrews. The city centre features international designer brands, locally owned boutiques and high street stores. Across North Bridge you will discover the ancient architecture of the Old Town and Edinburgh Castle.
If you can, we recommend taking a bus or train in so you can visit one of the many bars on offer. Tucked away on Grassmarket, Cold Town House offers unbeatable views of the castle from their rooftop bar and is very popular with young couples. Families, on the other hand, should definitely check out some of the spookier attractions. The Real Mary King’s Close is an excellent way to introduce the kids to local history and lore.
There are regular buses from St Andrews to Edinburgh. Our gorgeous Central St Andrews Apartment is only a two minute walk away from the station.
Stirling is a city steeped in history. Once home to major battles during the Scottish Wars of Independence, artifacts from the nation’s turbulent past can still be seen today. Stirling Castle is a former royal residence, and has been beautifully maintained. The Wallace Monument is also a must visit to learn about the Battle of Stirling Bridge.
Overall, we reckon Stirling is a great day trip for families. History aside, there are a few excellent hikes in the area. Blair Drummond Safari Park is home to the only elephants in Scotland - perfect for a family day out. During the colder months, head to Highland Gate for some hearty Scottish cuisine.
To get to Stirling by train you will have to connect at Edinburgh or Dundee, so we recommend taking your car. It is only a 90 minute drive from our Stonesthrow Elie house.
Dundee is Scotland’s most up and coming destination. With the addition of the V&A recently, the city has a fast growing creative scene. Dundee Rep Theatre is also the only full-time company of actors in Scotland, and home to the Scottish Dance Theatre. The Bach is a nearby café offering New Zealand style cuisine and a warm welcome.
More interested in the countryside? Angus is the vast region surrounding Dundee, with a train line running right up the coast. Carnoustie Golf Links hosts three courses that were all featured in the top 50 in the UK. You also have to visit the Old Brewhouse to try Arbroath Smokies, a local delicacy.
Driving around Dundee and Angus is easy, but hopping on a train will let you take in the gorgeous scenery along the coast. Our Kincaple Garden Flat is only a five minute drive from Leuchars Station (or 40 minutes on foot if you’re feeling energetic).
Last but certainly not least, West Fife offers some of its own historic gems. Dunfermline was once the capital of Scotland, and much of this history can still be seen to this day. Dunfermline Abbey is the burial place of Robert the Bruce, and is a must visit for anyone interested in learning more about Scotland’s past.
Much like the East Neuk, West Fife has some charming villages that are worth a day trip. Aberdour is known for its blue flag beach and unusual boutiques (including the Green Witch). Culross is about 15 minutes from Dunfermline, and is home to some beautifully restored 16th Century architecture. Pop into Bessie’s Café in the palace for light bites and hot drinks.
We don’t have any properties in West Fife, but thankfully it’s really easy to get to from the East Neuk. Our Pittenweem Harbour Apartment is only an hour from Dunfermline.
St Andrews is a gorgeous destination in its own right, but there are some fantastic day trips on offer only a short drive away. If you’re visiting for a week or more, we recommend including at least one of these in your itinerary. You won’t regret it!
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