University of St Andrews
Established between 1410 and 1413, St Andrews University is the oldest of the four ancient academic institutions of Scotland and the third oldest in the English-speaking world, after Oxford and Cambridge. Surrounded by sea, famous golf courses and the picture-perfect Scottish vernacular architecture of St Andrews in Fife, the campus comprises a flurry of historic and contemporary buildings. Built by Faulkner-Brown architects, the main library building boasts one of the most extensive collections in the UK, whereas the King James Library dates back to 1643. Two ancient collegiate chapels and a mix of Brutalist and Gothic revival architecture in the halls are just a couple of the many desirable traits.
University of Aberdeen
Basking within the ‘Granite City’, the University of Aberdeen hosts gorgeous grounds surrounded by cobbled stones, hidden gardens and spectacular architecture. Formed in 1495, Aberdeen is one of the ancient universities and the third oldest in Scotland. The main campus is a mix of Brutalist (built from the 1960s onward) and ancient architecture, with the picturesque King’s College serving as the helm of the campus. Aesthetically impressive, the Sir Duncan Rice library, worth £57 million, was built in 2011 and sports vast glass facade panels and contemporary touches. Situated in the city centre, the university-owned Marischal College is considered one of the most iconic granite edifices out there.
University of Edinburgh
An integral part of Scotland’s capital city, the University of Edinburgh hosts arguably one of the most beautiful campuses on earth, set in the backdrop of the Castle and Arthur’s Seat. Founded in 1582, this ancient Scottish university has buildings both new and very old dotted around the city. With six sites and swathes of students, Edinburgh University’s key role in the Age of Enlightenment helped deem the city ‘The Athens of the North’. The myriad of pretty buildings, such as the Italian Renaissance-style McEwan Hall and Neo-Gothic New Building, represent a glorious hodge-podge of architectural styles. Pockets of lush green spaces juxtaposed against the bold buildings make for great sunny-day lounging (studying) sessions.
University of Glasgow
As the fourth oldest academic institution in the English-speaking world, the University of Glasgow goes hand-in-hand with piles of history. Founded in 1451, this ancient Scottish university was a key player in the Scottish Enlightenment during the 18th century. Multiple sprawling campuses make up this revered uni, with Gilmorehill in the West End serving as the epicentre. The breathtaking architecture found within the campus is composed of striking Gothic Revival and Brutalist buildings. Connecting the East and West quadrangles, near the beautiful Bute Hall and Hunterian Museum (Scotland’s first ever public museum), the Cloisters, with their fluted columns, dramatic archways and magnificent ribbed vault, are simply magical.
The Glasgow School of Art
Built between 1897 and 1909, The Glasgow School of Art, a stunning display of Art Nouveau architecture, is regarded as the masterpiece of Glasgow golden boy Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Throughout the campus, Mackintosh’s stamp reveals itself in the form of glass paneling, an impressive display of light and dark, and the weavings of nature incorporated throughout. Famed for producing some of Scotland’s greatest creatives (including many Turner Prize winners and nominees), this iconic institution fell victim to a destructive fire in 2014. Thankfully, an extensive restoration project is bringing the building back to its former glory. Undoubtedly the most beautiful ‘arty’ campus in Scotland.