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A tiny seaside town with tons of personality and charm, St Andrews plays host to Scotland’s oldest university, founded between 1410 and 1413. Thanks to the diverse student population and tight-knit academic environment, there’s always something to do in the Bubble. From the best bars to memorable events, enjoy our students guide to St Andrews.
St Andrews boasts a surprising number of bars for such a small place, most of which cater to students. For that quintessential Scottish pub suited to the inimitable humble pint and pub quiz, head to Drouthy Neebors or Whey Pat’s Tavern, each as atmospheric as the next. You know you’re a St Andrews student when you have an opinion on who makes better nachos! The Criterion or The Crit is a touch more refined but still a traditional pub devoid of airs and graces.
Trendy to the core, The Vic is a magnet for students with its appealing prices, incredible eats, first class cocktails and never-ending menu of fun things to do like visiting DJs, ping pong, video games and more. Aikman’s is a cult classic when it comes to the myriad of drinks options, while the St Andrews Brewing Company is a goldmine for craft beer lovers.
With its fair share of first-class eateries, St Andrews certainly caters to foodies of all tastes. One of the town’s most loved restaurants, Maisha serves up incredible Indian dishes and seafood. The student special takeaway is available every day and includes a starter, main course, Naan bread, popadoms and rice.
For a quick pick-me-up snack, Fisher and Donaldson is a family-run baking empire with a flawless reputation. From the famous fudge doughnut and cakes, to pastries and Belgian chocolates, the cherry on top is the 24-hour vending machine. Other top picks include Italian ice cream parlour and purveyor of all things amazing Jannettas Cafe, North Point Café, Dervish, The Vic, and Empire, to name a few.
The cluster of independent boutiques and family-run shops spanning all realms from fashion and crystals to golf gear, make shopping in St Andrews an enjoyable activity. Most of the shops are dotted around the High St and everything is in handy walking distance from one another. For any dorm room necessities or those craving well-established big-name shops and malls might want to consider a trip to Dundee.
A mandatory pilgrimage for all St Andrews students is to venture to each and every historical landmark, including St Andrews Cathedral, St Rule’s Tower, Martyrs’ Memorial, Blackfriars and St Andrews Castle. Many students like to join the services, regardless of faith, at St Salvator’s Chapel. Draped in academic garb, students partake in a Pier Walk procession after Sunday Services.
West Sands beach is the perfect place for running, walking and getting lost in thought. Adventurous types can brave the Scottish seas (and also sand) kayaking sessions. The myriad of bars and pubs undergo mind-blowing transformations into clubs at night, with many hosting DJs, themed nights, video game sessions and ping pong tournaments. The Bop at the Union is a bouncing dance rave every Friday and so much fun. An aquarium visit never fails either. As a prime launching pad to other desirable Scottish spots, St Andrews is suited to wanderlusters with a penchant for day getaways.
What separates St Andrews from other universities is its seemingly never-ending array of events, each as epic as the next. From May Ball to Scotland’s greatest student-led fashion show DONT WALK, there’s never a dull moment. Add the insane number of student societies and accompanying events into the already appealing mix and voila — a swoon-worthy social calendar. Other deep-rooted traditions include May Dip and Raisin Weekend, with its giant foam fight.