How to Survive in St Andrews, Fife
Saint Andrews, Scotland
How to Survive in St Andrews, Fife Saint Andrews Reviews
A survival guide to St Andrews, Fife Apr 01, 2008
OK, it's free to get into St Andrews (obviously - it's a town!!) but when you're there you can spend as little or as much as you want.
Anyway...St Andrews is an amazing little seaside town on the East Coast of Scotland. It's home to Scotland's oldest university, and I think the third oldest in the UK behind Oxford and Cambridge. It's where I spent four years doing an MA(Hons)in Social Anthropology and I loved my time there.
But it's very much a university town. Many of the buildings are owned by the uni - either as faculties or accommodation. The population of the town fluctuates from term time to vacation time to summer holidays, when it's stuffed to bursting with golfers and coach trips.
The main thing to bear in mind is that St Andrews is a bit like Oxford or Cambridge or to an extent Edinburgh - it's a great big mixing pot of people, from locals to golfers to students, who come from the four corners of the globe. Standing in the checkout queue in the town's Tesco Metro supermarket you could hear American, Italian, Afrikaans and Australian accents all around you - and many more!
A lot of the locals are older people, although there is a range of ages - obviously there's school kids and their parents, etc, but most of the university staff don't live in St Andrews - it's too expensive. When I was renting a flat with 3 other girls in 2003 - 2004, it cost us £70 per week per person, excluding bills, so it's pricey.
The main thing people find infuriating about the town is the number of students, the number of golfers and car parking.
1) Students are a part of St Andrews and there's no getting away from it. Some stay all year round and work in local shops during vacations. One of my friends from a city university said she couldn't cope with St Andrews because there's too many students in such a small area, but you get used to it.
2) The golfers have a tendency to walk slowly through the town, causing pile ups in the street, and making others irate. At night many pour into pubs which are really student venues and make a move on females - be warned, the golfers are usually crinkly men, or ugly!
3) The main three streets are voucher parking areas - you have to buy tickets, scratch off the time you arrive and can stay for a maximum of 2 hours on street, 3 off. It means it can be hard to find a space and the wardens are hawk eyed, so be warned!
Now, the number of students and golfers means there's lots of pubs and restaurants. I think there's something like 29 pubs or bars in one square mile - it's certainly the densest occurrence of drinking holes in the UK! There's every cuisine from Scottish to Italian to Thai, Chinese to Fish and Chips to Pub Grub. There's also lots of B&Bs in town, as well as two big hotels - the Old Course Hotel, and the Fairmont St Andrews, which used to be the St Andrews Bay Hotel. THERE ARE NO NIGHTCLUBS IN ST ANDREWS with the exception of what was the Bop in the Union when I was there. We occasionally took a bus to a dodgy club in Dundee, but only when we were feeling brave!
The University has a Sports Centre which anyone can use - it's cheaper for students (they pay a termly membership and get in free - same for staff) but I think anyone can use it.
You can also walk pretty much anywhere - from the sports centre to Tesco is 15 minutes, but that's a long walk in St Andrews terms!
It can get VERY cold - when the wind blows off the sea it's absolutely freezing! But it hardly ever snows. In the summer when the sun comes out - it's a beautiful town.
Basically, St Andrews is a great town, as long as you're prepared for it!
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