The small Scottish town of St Andrews has a big name in the world of academia, history and golf. The oldest university town in Scotland, St Andrews has welcomed many academics and students from all over, including Prince William who met his wife, Kate Middleton, whilst studying there. Perhaps bringing more fame to the seaside town is its reputation as the home of golf. St Andrews boasts world famous golf courses in scenic locations beside white sandy beaches that stretch for miles. One of the most famous stretches of coastline, West Sands Beach, was also the iconic setting for the opening scene of ‘Chariots of Fire’.
If you want to know more about the castles, ruins, and beaches in the town, check out our Fife Guide!
Getting to St Andrew
If you’re travelling via public transport, consider a bus to St Andrews Bus Station. There are also regular accessible bus services which take you around St Andrews. One person said the station had “clear and up-to-date information,” and that there was “enough room to move about” inside the buses. There are accessible loos at the station.
Where to stay
Whether you’re visiting St Andrews for its championship golf courses, or you just want some stunning views of the coastal cliffs, check out the Fairmont resort. One guest recommends the hotel for “anyone wishing to treat themselves.” They added that there are “plenty of lifts and nowhere that can be classed as inaccessible.” The accessible bathroom has a roll-in shower, with handlebars, emergency cords, and guardrails.
Or, if mobile homes are your type of thing, try The Lang Break Caravan. Located just next to St Andrews, the caravan is run by MND Scotland with wide sliding doors giving access to each room, as well as appliances and switches being placed at heights appropriate for wheelchair users.
A twenty-five minute drive from the town is Homelands Trust-Fife, a cluster of self-catering cottages with lots of reviews on Euan’s Guide. The cottages are “completely wheelchair accessible” according to one guest, with “excellent toilets and wet room.”
Where to eat in St Andrews
There are plenty of cafes and restaurants in the town if you’re after a bite to eat. Loved by locals for their tasty soup and daytime treats, Zest Café is situated just by the town’s main beaches, making it a great stop if you’re visiting with an assistance dog. There are large doors at the entrance, which are “kept open throughout the day” according to one visitor, as well as a ramp inside for wheelchair access.
For dinner in the evening, The Adamson is an award-winning Scottish restaurant and cocktail bar on South Street. There are ramps in the restaurant for wheelchair access, as well as accessible parking on the nearby street. One visitor said the accessible toilets have “all the rails, basins, and dryers you need.” They added that it’s “THE place to eat in St Andrews. I’m still drooling over the beer-battered fish!”
Located in Cupar, a twenty-minute drive from the town, is the Michelin-starred The Peat Inn Restaurant with Rooms. The historic building has accessible parking and a level entrance. The accessible loo has a “wash-hand basin which was low enough to allow access for the wheelchair user, with black grab rails to contrast with the walls” according to one person.
Hole in one
St Andrews has been called the ‘Home of Golf’ for its acres of beachside courses and world-famous tournaments. Along with the nearby golf courses at Eden Clubhouse and the Fairmont resort, St Andrews Links Clubhouse is one of the town’s best-known courses.
There’s accessible parking close to the links, as well as a “flat surface upon entering” according to one person, and “self-opening wide doors.” It’s also home to legendary Swilken Bridge, an iconic golf landmark.
After a long round of golf at the Eden, Strathtyrum, and Balgrove courses, Eden Clubhouse has many lunch menu options – including homemade bread! There’s a Changing Places Toilet inside, and the clubhouse is on one level for wheelchair access. The Castle Course Clubhouse also has a popular restaurant where you can watch the golfers play.
Discover more about St Andrews’ world famous golfing links, including The British Golf Museum, in our Fife Guide!
Seaside pony treks
At Pony Axe S at West Sands Beach, Simon and his pony Obama can assist wheelchair users over the sandy terrain of West Sands Beach. Both manual wheelchairs and powerchairs can be securely attached to the ponies and you can then be taken across the water and sandy beach. One person told us that Simon “brought the pony and trap right up to the edge of the beach to attach the wheelchair so there was no sinking into the soft sand.”
Discover more ways to access St Andrews’ beaches, including the new beach wheelchairs in the Fife Guide!
You can learn about Scotland’s oldest university at the Museum of the University of St Andrews. The museum has four galleries of displays, all located on the ground floor, as well as great views of St Andrews Bay from the roof terrace. One person praised the staff for “putting into practice their ‘Just Ask’ sensory awareness training, which aims to make services and facilities accessible to those living with a sensory loss.”
Located in the heart of St Andrews, The Byre Theatre delivers festivals, talks, galleries, and events all related to the vibrant culture of the town. There’s audio described and signed performances at the theatre, as well as touch tours and dementia-friendly film screenings and performances.
If you’re interested in learning about the Scottish fishing industry and community in the town, check out The Scottish Fisheries Museum. Located south of St Andrews in Anstruther, the museum can be visited by car or a regular accessible bus service which stops directly outside the museum. One visitor said, “they have done an amazing job on accessibility, and carers and accompanied children are allowed in for free.”
Explore ancient ruins
St Andrews Cathedral‘s history dates to the 8th century, when it used as a site for Christian worship. Today the visitor centre has level access, with ramp access to the displays. The monument is mainly on ground level, and there’s an induction loop throughout the venue.
Another important monument in the town, St Andrews Castle was the residence of the country’s most important churchmen for centuries. The castle is a unique ruin, as you’re standing over an underground mine used during a historic siege! The inside of the centre is levelled, with a multi-sensory exhibition in the visitor centre.
Use our Fife Guide to learn more about the town’s historic sites, and the little-known harbour beneath the cathedral!
After a long day exploring the historic town, you can indulge in some fun novelty gifts at Bonkers. The shop has a range of quirks, including ponchos, soaps, jewellery, and stuffed animals. One person said the staff “will always make you feel welcome.”
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Last Updated – July 2018