Golf Drives Scotland’s Most International Housing Market: St. Andrews


Activities off the Greenway

St. Andrews is a historic place with beautiful sea views, a famous university and romantic stone architecture.

The town’s most-famous sites are its ruins, including a medieval Roman Catholic cathedral and a beachside 12th-century castle. It also has an 1850s-towered city gate and a working fishing harbor, built in the 18th century. Its old town is replete with pretty winding lanes, alleyways and traditional stone buildings, which look similar to Edinburgh’s New Town.

After all that history, visitors can head to the local aquarium, an 18-acre botanical garden, and the Byre Theatre, or go on a coastal walk. It has the two-mile long West Sands beach, which famously provided the famous opening scene to the 1981 film “Chariots of Fire.” Castle Sands is a small sandy beach below the castle walls.

Set on Scotland’s east coast, which is the sunniest and driest part of the country, St. Andrews is an hour from Edinburgh airport, and less than 20 minutes from Dundee airport or RAF Leuchars airfield in Fife, where the super wealthy land their private planes. This area is popular with people visiting Edinburgh and the picturesque East Neuk harbor villages along the Fife coastline.

The town’s eponymous university, which dates from the 15th century, is the oldest in the U.K. and ranks as the U.K.’s top university, according to the Guardian newspaper’s university guide for 2023. It has a big student cohort from Asia and the U.S., as well as England. Its most famous alumnus in recent times is Prince William.

For upscale shopping, head to Bell Street, which includes a boutique by perfumer Jo Malone; shops by clothing brands Crew and Jack Wills; a store by gift and women’s clothing brand, Oliver Bonas; a wine shop; and a handful of upmarket indie clothing shops. Other shopping streets include Market Place, North and South streets—which are a student haven and a hub for bars and pubs. Golfers can buy new equipment from the Auchterlonies of St. Andrews shop on Golf Place.

Scotland’s culinary talent thrives in St. Andrews. Check out Adamson Restaurant, an award-winning brasserie-style restaurant with a cocktail bar on South Street; the Haar Restaurant, which has a Nordic edge with a signature smoked lobster dish; the one-Michelin-starred Peat Inn has modern cuisine made with Scottish produce; and Seafood Ristorante on The Scores serves Italian-style seafood fare from a striking glass cube with commanding bay and sunset views. In nearby Anstruther, there’s Michelin-starred Cellar, previously a smokery and cooperage, with modern and Scottish cuisine.

St. Andrews is not short of impressive luxury overnight stays, either. It has a 520-acre hotel by Fairmont with five-star wellness and spa and two-AA-rosette dining; the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa; the boutique Rusacks St. Andrews, which has been remodeled with a golfing theme; and The Peat Inn.

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