A Year in the Life of a St. Andrews University Student

My excitement when I got accepted to study at the University of St. Andrews was uncontainable. This was primarily because of the ancient and prestigious university, but also because of the small medieval town I was going to be residing in for the upcoming year.

Having lived in a big city before, I was impatiently looking forward to being in a small town surrounded by around 18,000 people, where at the turn of every street corner one could find a friendly face they knew.

A Medieval Town

First found in the Dark Ages, St. Andrews was a diverse town swarming with monks, merchants, academics and pilgrims flocking for trading and academic matters. The highlight of the town was its great cathedral, erected in 1160, which brought legions of pilgrims to the town’s shores from Europe seeking to see the holy place. Seeing the religious significance the town held, in 1413, ecclesiastical leaders called for a new place for academic and ministerial training to be established in St. Andrews where Christians from all over Europe could come and be educated in Philosophy and Theology. This place was called The University of St. Andrews, only the third university in the English speaking world, after Oxford and Cambridge.

What followed was a busy time in life of the town with huge amounts of trading taking place, the university flourishing and the amount of pilgrims coming to the town increasing. But, in the 16th century, the peaceful town faced its most turbulent time ever when Catholics and Protestants turned their weapons on each other which led to bodies dropping on both sides.

The Protestants, led by John Knox, finally won, which heralded the start of the Scottish Reformation. Ever since then, the town has flourished and grown into one of the finest and multi-cultural towns in Europe.

A Historic But Modern Town

This charming town is still visually medieval due to it preservation of the gothic architecture from that time like St. Mary’s College (part of the university) and Madras College (school), both on South Street, among others. There are parts of St. Andrews which seem as if they haven’t been touched by time, like the ruins of St. Andrews Cathedral and St. Andrews Castle, which are both close to the ancient sand shores touching the North Sea.

Despite its historic buildings, the town is highly modern with numerous high-end stores like H&M, Jack Wills, New Look, as well as, Marks and Spencer, Tesco and Sainsbury’s. This is perfect for a student who is used to being surrounded by these shops in a big city. Furthermore, there are numerous museums which are owned by the university containing historical and rare artefacts, books and other materials for the use of students and public.


With numerous food establishments in St. Andrews, there are plenty of food choices the town can offer you. Being such an international town, cuisines from all over the world can be found on the streets of St. Andrews, like Chinese, Thai, Italian and Indian. Whether it is Fine Dining (Hotel Du Vin, Playfair’s or The Vine Leaf Restaurant); Casual Dining (The Vic (best place ever), Pizza Express or Jahangir Restaurant); Pub Dining (New Inn, and again, The Vic); or Cafés & Coffee Shops (Zest, Mitchell’s Deli or North Point); the town has something to tantalise everyone’s taste buds.


St. Andrews is often called the home of golf due to its commitment to hosting various famous golf events on the legendary Old Course, the oldest golf course in the world, and the other 10 courses that are around.

Outside St. Andrews

Sometimes being in a compact town like St. Andrews can be suffocating for a student and this means one must be able to get out of the town and go somewhere else. Luckily, St. Andrews is only a 30 minute bus ride away from the dynamic city of Dundee where one can give their mind a break whilst being surrounded by bustling shops, museums, restaurants and spacious parks. If one is interested in going further afield, then Edinburgh and Glasgow are only 90 minutes away from Leuchars train station which is conveniently reachable thanks to the 99 bus which runs every 15 minutes from the Bus Station between St. Andrews and Dundee.

Staying at St. Andrews Coach House

If, and when you do visit our beautiful town, make sure to stay at St. Andrews Coach Houses where luxury and beautiful surroundings come at an affordable price. To book one of our self-catering accommodations, call us now on 01334 477593 or e-mail us at info@standrewscoachhouses.co.uk. We look forward to hearing from you!


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