Every student at St Andrews will no doubt at least pass through Scotland’s hilly capital city once during their four years here. The winding alleys, beautiful buildings and monuments alone are enough to warrant a trip. Whether you are just stopping for the day or perhaps entertaining visiting friends or family for a few days, here are some ways to make your way to and around the city for £36 or less!
Getting There – Forget the hassle of first getting to Leuchars before boarding a train and instead hop on the X59 bus straight from St Andrews to Edinburgh Bus Station, which is a stone’s throw from Waverley Station. The two hour journey is not that much longer than taking the train and the buses are air conditioned and have WiFi. Make sure to ask for a Megarider+, which comes to £10.40, as opposed to a return ticket, which is £16.50.
Lunch – Grab a bite to eat and one of the best cups of tea you will ever have amongst the grandeur of the New Town at Eteaket, found on Frederick Street. This quaint and comfortable café specialises in tea, offering dozens of varieties on the menu, such as cranberry apple riot and strawberries and cream, with each pot coming at around £3. Twinned with their soup and half sandwich deal, which costs £6.45, you can be sure to have ample sustenance for an afternoon exploring the city.
Indulging in culture – One of the best aspects of Edinburgh is that many of its attractions charge no admission, including the Scottish National Gallery where you can see works of art by names as celebrated as El Greco, Rubens and Monet. The National Museum, for which entrance is free of charge, is only a short walk away for history enthusiasts and students new to Scotland alike.
Seeing the skyline – For the more adventurous, there is Arthur’s Seat, the towering relic of Scotland’s volcanic past situated next to Holyrood Palace. For those who prefer an easier stroll, Carlton Seat, a would-be Acropolis to befit the one-time ‘Athens of the North’ is both closer to the city centre and peaks at a lower altitude. Either one of these summits affords commanding views of Edinburgh and beyond, offering one of the most iconic panoramas to be found in the UK.
Dinner – After a day of ascending steep slopes or gazing at watercolours head to Illegal Jack’s in St Patrick’s Square, which can be found a short distance from the core of Edinburgh University, for the perfect resolution to any appetite worked up during the afternoon’s activities. Listed as one of the best values places to eat in Edinburgh by The Guardian, this takeaway’s menu includes an impressive array of tacos, quesadillas and burritos for around £7-£8.50 each. Alongside a can of drink for £2.25, you will be sure to quench your thirst and hunger in preparation for the journey home.
A quick pint – But before you board that bus- the last one for St Andrews leaves at 8.15pm on Mondays to Saturdays and 8.35pm on Sundays – there is time to stop by for a pint in one of the many pubs that litter the Royal Mile, many of which have long and illustrious histories. One pub for example, The World’s End sits on the centuries old boundary between the city and the countryside beyond. These warm, friendly and cavernous boltholes offer a perfect venue to sup a pint and reminisce about your day spent in what Burns himself proclaimed to be “Scotland’s darling seat!”