There are plenty of things to do to keep everyone busy in and around St Andrews if rain, or snow, stops play.
Here’s our pick of the best
Besides the beaches, magnificent coastal walks and numerous outdoor pursuits…
We’ve compiled more than twenty different ways to while away the hours, away from the elements.
There’s a wealth of things to do indoors for visitors in and around St Andrews.
The East Neuk is fortunate to have two excellent distilleries within a short drive of each other. Eden Mill Gin Distillery is opening a new multi-million pound, carbon-neutral distillery and visitor centre just outside St Andrews. It’s scheduled to open to visitors in late 2022 and will stretch across three floors, with different levels, a cafe and a shop.
In addition to whisky production, Eden Mill produces gin and beer and plans to create a botanical centre of excellence as part of the new distillery. They use a range of local botanicals in their gin, from honeyberries from Cupar to sea buckthorn from the east coast, to seaweed from Crail. Visitors will get to see bioponics and vertical farming in action – cultivating any botanicals that the distillers can’t source locally.
Further along the coast, Kingsbarns Whisky Distillery is a 5-star distillery and visitor centre with whisky and gin tours, tastings and delicious local food served in their cafe.
Kingsbarns has three types of whisky distillery tours, so you can find one suitable for all levels of whisky interest. Read more on things to do in beautiful Kingsbarns, in our local guide here.
There’s no reason to let the weather stop you from getting fit this holiday. The sports facilities at University Park are located on a single site, in a tranquil setting just to the west of the historic town centre. Stretching over 40 acres, this fantastic site has fine views across the Tay estuary. It was gifted to the University in 1904 by notable industrialist and benefactor Andrew Carnegie.
Following a major £14 million refurbishment of the indoor facilities, Saints Sport now provides some of the best sports facilities in Scotland. Saints Sport can be contacted directly to book indoor tennis, badminton, indoor climbing, or to use their state of the art gym facilities. Everything is organised on a pay-as-you-go basis. It’s designed to allow visitors, locals and students to enjoy a wide range of indoor and outdoor sports, all year round.
If taking it easy in front of a roaring fire is more what you had in mind, then St Andrews offers a perfect range of Afternoon Tea spots. The newly renovated Rusacks Hotel offers a magical experience, with views of the centuries-old Swilcan Bridge & the Old Course. Alternatively, opt for their real log fire and sumptuous sofas. Equally, the Old Course Hotel serves Afternoon Tea in their refined conservatory or the 4th-floor restaurant. Both of which offer stunning, sweeping views across the Old Course.
For a more escapist experience, The Rufflets Country House Hotel is a short drive from the centre of town. It offers an Afternoon Tea that can be enjoyed almost anywhere in the hotel and grounds. Choose inside a cosy restaurant booth, on the suntrap terrace, next to the croquet lawn or in the dappled shade of their woodlands. This graceful, turreted mansion offers something different to the windswept streets of the town. It welcomes non-residents to enjoy its gardens, dining experiences & cosy bar all year round.
Note all these venues require at least 24 hours notice to reserve their signature Afternoon Tea. Do book ahead to avoid on-the-day disappointment!
St Andrews Aquarium sits right above West Sands bay. This family-run aquarium will transport little ones to an underwater world. There’s plenty to learn about animals, habitats, and the impact of climate change as you wind your way through. There is a blacktip reef shark, seals, penguins and more than 100 fish species to spot…plus meerkats! A fabulous fun family day out, with a coffee shop – and gift shop to take home a cuddly momento.
One of the special aspects of St Andrews is that, in spite of being a small coastal town, it bursts with a packed programme of performances, screenings, exhibitions & events all year round. The Byre Theatre is one such cultural hub in the heart of St Andrews. It’s well worth checking their lineup during your visit to take in a show, enjoy some repertory cinema or live music.
The New Picture House Cinema is also to be found in the heart of town, surrounded by a huge range of bars, restaurants and shops, if you want to make a cosy day of it in St Andrews. NPH was first opened in 1930 and offers three cinema screens, showcasing the latest releases as well as some cinema classics.
Scotland’s Secret Bunker is an underground Cold War bunker museum housing a BBC studio and switchboard room, radar equipment, 2 cinemas and a cafe. Visitors are met with an unassuming looking farmhouse in the countryside outside St Andrews, and yet it conceals the entrance to a 100ft underground bunker built by the RAF in 1953 in response to the threat of Nuclear War with the USSR. It is a truly immersive experience.
In an atmospheric location opposite the harbour in the fishing village of Anstruther, you will find The Scottish Fisheries Museum. It tells the story of the Scottish fishing industry – The boats, harbours and the communities that pepper this beautiful coastline. Homemade cakes and scones are a bonus and it is very child friendly. Plus, the ever-popular Anstruther Fish Bar seems a fitting way to round off a day learning about Scotland’s fishing heritage.
If the weather has other ideas when it comes to getting around during your stay, don’t despair. You can brush up on your golf history, and relive some amazing golfing moments at The R&A World Golf Museum. Complete with a glass-topped roof cafe overlooking the course and the beach. It is a golf fan’s dream.
Nearby is a world-class driving range with state of the art equipment at St Andrew’s Links Golf Academy. It has tremendous views looking back at the town’s famous skyline, with the added benefit that it is protected on three sides from the elements.
And for the complete indoor, cinema golf experience try out any course around the world digitally at St Andrew’s Indoor Golf Centre. It’s fitted with the latest in golf technology and staffed by expert PGA Professionals. Book some time in here or at the Links Academy and improve your game through expert analysis and professional tutoring. Why not return home from the Home of Golf with a sharper swing?
Stroll between these five galleries around town, only a matter of streets between each other. Enjoy browsing between them to see an array of local and national artist’s work. With all galleries displaying works available to purchase (except for the viewing gallery at St Andrew’s Museum), you may well find yourself returning home with a seascape or townscape of the East Neuk for your wall. Or perhaps some inspiration to put paint to paper yourself.
If the sea isn’t tempting you to take a dip there are a good number of local swimming pools to try. Have a look at the range of pools on offer here and find one that fits your needs and wants best. For kids, East Sands Leisure Centre is right by the beach and has a toddler-friendly shelved pool. Levenmouth pool offers a wave machine and slides to keep older ages happy. Check adult-only times if you would like a quieter experience and lane swimming.
Find out the fascinating history of the University at the recently renovated Wardlaw Museum. It has four new thematic galleries. They show the University’s research and global impact, its extraordinary art, history, science and natural history collections. It has a beautiful sea view from the terrace and garden.
St Andrews Heritage Museum & Garden meanwhile is set in a charming 17th-century house and garden, a stone’s throw from St Andrews Cathedral and St Andrews Castle. It is set in the oldest settlement of St Andrews and lets you step back in time, into one of the earliest domestic dwellings in the area.
Don’t miss a visit to The Bell Pettigrew Museum in the heart of the old town. It is situated within the Bute Medical Building and is also owned by the University. It has a centuries-old taxidermy collection that will fascinate and educate both young and old. It is guaranteed to leave you with an awe-inspiring view of the natural world and zoology. And it is completely free!
You can find more of our local guides, hints and hidden gems here.
Our award-winning team look forward to welcoming you to stay in one of our hand-picked properties in the East Neuk.
Simona, Marius and all the team at Premier Stays Fife.