Tour of St Andrews, Scotland
Today we’re going to talk about a tour of St Andrews, Scotland I recently experienced with Rabbie’s tours. The tour left from a central location just across the North Bridge in Edinburgh and lasted most of the day. It didn’t just go straight to St Andrews either and the official name of the tour was St Andrews and the Fishing Villages of Fife Day Tour. We made stops at the Forth Bridge, Anstruther and toured St Andrews before heading to the historic village of Falkand. While in St Andrews I saw the Old Course, Old Town, the castle and the cathedral.
The day started in Edinburgh and we made our way to the Forth Bridge which is a real marvel of engineering and no surprise a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The bridge began in 1882 and opened 8 years later in March of 1890 by the Prince of Wales. It was the longest single cantilever railway bridge until 1917 when a longer one was built in Quebec, Canada. The iconic bridge spans 9 miles or 14 kilometres across the Firth of Forth and is considered a symbol of Scotland. Some question why it’s called the “fourth bridge” as there are only three that cross, it’s not the fourth but the Forth…
From there we made our way to the largest fishing village in Fife called Anstruther and spent 40 minutes or so getting to know the place. I strolled around the harbour filming some time-lapses, taking photos and eating sandwiches from a local bakery. I don’t have a sweet tooth but if you did, you’d love the little shop I found which you can’t miss should you visit. It’s a quaint little village with cafes, boat tours and of course plenty of places to order some fish and chips.
Next it was St Andrews, a place famous for many things but quite possibly most so for the Old Course. St Andrews is known as “the home of golf” and the Old Course has hosted The Open Championship more than any other venue; the most recent one being this year. Part of the reason it’s known as “the home of golf” is because the Royal and Ancient Golf Club which was founded there in 1754 has legislative authority over the game of golf worldwide. Without a doubt it’s one of the most iconic and important golf courses for any serious golf fan to visit; besides the Old Course there are several other top tier courses for visitors to enjoy.
St Andrews is the fifth largest settlement in Fife and home to St Andrews University. Not only is this university the oldest in Scotland but it’s also the third oldest in the English speaking world. Besides the Old Course, other spots not to miss include the castle, cathedral and old town itself. If you’re up for it you can climb St Rule’s Tower to enjoy some terrific views of the town and the sea beside it. If you’re not feeling that ambitious, simply strolling through the remains of the cathedral is an experience in itself.
Moving from St Andrews it’s off to the historic village of Falkand where the main event without a doubt is the palace built by James IV. The palace was begun in 1500 and is an outstanding display of French influenced Renaissance architecture in Britain. Besides that, it is also known for having the oldest real tennis court in the world which was built in 1539 for James V. Real tennis is often called the “Sport of Kings” and quite similar to the everyday tennis most are familiar with which was derived from it. Real tennis is still played on the 43 surviving courses in Australia, United Kingdom, United States and France.
Following our time in Falkand it was a drive back to Edinburgh to conclude the tour. I had an absolutely wonderful time and could not have asked for better weather; the highlight for me without a doubt was seeing the Old Course but followed closely by the St Andrews Cathedral and the Falkland Palace. The tour was a full day and it literally flew by; I also appreciated having access to a gregarious and knowledgeable guide as I’m usually one to ask lots of questions on topics that pique my interest.
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