The Forth Bridges
Upon departure from your accommodation or meeting point we leave Edinburgh and cross the Forth bridges at Queensferry. The famous cantilever designed Forth Rail Bridge, opened in 1890 can be seen spanning the river next to the 1964 road bridge, now replaced by the 2017 Queensferry Crossing.
The East Neuk
We follow the Fife coastal route through initially industrial towns which were historically mining, brewing and distilling and still carry a rich heritage of their industrial pasts. As we pass Lundin Links, we start exploring the picturesque East Neuk of fife. This sleepy agricultural peninsula offers stunning views from the coastal road as we pass through the fishing villages of Pittenweem, Anstruther and Crail. These towns are full of character, with old fishing boats, cobbled winding streets and small cottages lining the harbour.
As we travel further north we start to see the outline of the town town of St Andrews. There has been a settlement at St Andrews since the 6th Century and has been a key part of Scotland’s Religious, Educational and cultural development. The town has many interesting and varied places to visit not least the Cathedral, University and the iconic fairway of the Old Course.
The Home of Golf
St Andrews is known as the home of golf and is a pilgrimage for golfers from across the world. No visit to St Andrews is complete without seeing the famous fairway on the Royal And Ancient Golf Club Of St Andrews before driving across the green (between golfers!) and taking a photo at the Swilcan Bridge with the St Andrews Links clubhouse in the background.
St Andrews Castle
This important 13th century medieval castle offers a fascinating history and is worth a visit during our time in the town. Situated on The Scores, the Castle was ruined a number of times in the Scottish Wars of Independence, was a prison and was held under siege in 1546 as part of the Scottish Reformation. Despite additional fortification being added to the castle a fleet of French ships ended the siege with heavy artillery bombardment in 1574. There are many interesting parts of the castle to explore including secret tunnels (only rediscovered in the 19th century) and a Bottle Dungeon, so called after its narrow neck and large inescapable body.
St Andrews Cathedral
Constructed from 1160 by Bishop Arnold, the medieval Cathedral once dominated St Andrews. The largest Cathedral in Scotland and one of the largest in Europe it was the seat of the Church of Scotland and visited by many pilgrims from across Europe. Today the cathedral lays in ruins, a victim initially of the Reformation in Scotland in 1599 and subsequent decay and sacking for building materials. No visit is complete without climbing 33 meters to the top of St Rules Tower to admire the views for miles around.
Having completed our trip to St Andrews we venture west and if we have time we will stop at Falkland Palace, a 13th century hunting lodge which was the resting site of King James V, father of Mary, Queen of Scots who passed away when Mary was only 6 days old. His body lay in the chapel at Falkland Palace for almost a month before being carried to Holyrood in Edinburgh.