48 hours in St. Andrews: What to do when you’re NOT playing golf | Rogers Report

Here's what to do in St. Andrews when you're not playing golf.

From dining to exploring to the best pub in town, here's what to do in St. Andrews when you're not playing golf.

Claire Rogers

Hello, friends, and welcome to a very special edition of the Rogers Report!

I’m going to take you through my somewhat recent trip to St. Andrews and tell you all about the fun things you can do when you’re not teeing it up. I spent a week there in October when the GOLF squad covered the Notre Dame teams in the inaugural St. Andrews Links Collegiate. Despite some less-than-ideal weather (I guess that’s what you sign up for when you book a trip to St. Andrews!), watching Notre Dame, Georgetown, UNC Chapel Hill and Vanderbilt compete at the Jubilee Course and Old Course was incredible.

But there’s also a lot to do in town outside of playing golf, so I set out to experience as much as I could. Let’s get to it. (Oh, and watch the video below!)

The arrival

I traveled with my lovely pal and coworker, video guru Emma Devine. We took a redeye from Boston to Edinburgh, Scotland. I somehow managed to sleep through dinner and breakfast on the plane, but I still managed to arrive in good spirits. Once we landed, we took a cab from the airport to St. Andrews, which was just over an hour. (There’s also a train you can take to get there.) Our driver weaved his way through the countrysides of Scotland while we gawked at quaint homes, farmland and, most importantly, tried to get used to being on the other side of the road. We arrived at our rental home, which was about a 15-minute walk from town.


After dropping our stuff at the rental house (and getting in a quick power nap), Emma and I headed over to the Mitchell. According to my friend, St. Andrews student Logan Smith, it’s a place people have strong feelings about. I loved it. In fact, I loved it so much I went back again later in the week. The service was amazing, and the owner took time to introduce himself and gave us tips for spending a few days in town. I got the eggs benedict, a latte and a scone for breakfast/dessert. That’s something I loved about St. Andrews. People were always having a piece of cake or some sort of treat at the end of breakfast, and it’s a practice I believe should be adopted everywhere.

Breakfast at the Mitchell with Emma Devine.
Breakfast at the Mitchell with Emma Devine. Claire Rogers

Once the St. Andrews Links Collegiate began, we were on a little more of a time crunch, so we went to Munch. It’s more of a grab-and-go place, but they’ll make you an incredible breakfast sandwich that’ll keep you full for hours. They’re known for their bacon rolls, but I can confirm anything you get there will be good.


Lunch was definitely my favorite meal of the day while in St. Andrews. There’s nothing better than warming up with a latte and pub food. Ham’s Hame Pub and Grill is right next to the Old Course, which is probably my No. 1 lunch recommendation. Emma and I also went to the Criterion as well as Northpoint Cafe, also known as the place where Kate Middleton and Will would meet up for coffee while they were university students.

Emma Devine at the Northpoint Cafe
Emma Devine, now at the Northpoint Cafe. Claire Rogers


Our first night in town, the GOLF team headed to Forgan’s for dinner and I spent the rest of the week looking for a dessert that competed with their deep-fried Mars bar sundae. As the host of The Scoop, I consider if my civic duty to report on the best treats on any given work trip, and I’m excited to award Forgan’s with the No. 1 dessert in town. Go there, get that sundae and thank me later. Dessert aside, my No. 1 dinner recommendation would be downstairs at the Rusacks hotel. I went twice: the first night, my coworkers and I enjoyed a nice Italian dinner. The next night, we went with their Mediterranean menu and sat by the windows while the sun set on the Old Course. Finally, we went to the Adamson, which is on the fancier side.

The dessert at Forgans is a must-try.
The dessert at Forgan’s is a must-try. Claire Rogers

Side note: as someone whose siblings have very severe food allergies, I was pleasantly surprised to see how accommodating all of the restaurants and pubs were regarding allergies. I’m not sure if it’s mandated or what, but every waiter asked if anyone at the table had allergies before taking our orders.


I will break the unfortunate news to you all right now that I am not a beer drinker. I simply don’t like it. Luckily for you, my coworker Tim Reilly covered most of the pubs in town. I will, however, share what bars I went to while in town and explain the ambiance to the best of my non-beer-drinking abilities.

We headed to the Dunvegan for a drink to end our first night in town. It’s famous for having framed pictures of golfers all over the walls (ceiling included), and I’ve seen so many pictures of this place over the years. I am not exaggerating when I say this was the coolest pub I’ve ever been to. I felt like I was living in a golfer’s version of an I Spy book. And the company is perfect. The company at all the pubs in St. Andrews is perfect, really — people of all ages who are there because they love golf. If I were to return to St. Andrews, this would be the first place I’d go again.

The DunVegan in St. Andrews.
The Dunvegan in St. Andrews. Claire Rogers

We also went to Molly Malones one night, which I’d recommend to a younger crowd. It’s filled with students, so if you’re studying abroad or on a trip in your early 20s, this place is for you. It was in the basement there that I ran into my family friend and St. Andrews expert, Logan Smith.

But the most scenic place to have a drink in St. Andrews is definitely on the rooftop at the Rusacks. There’s a little putting green outside, and the top floor is lined with windows to give you a panoramic view of the Old Course and beyond.

St. Andrews Ladies’ Putting Club

One of my favorite parts of my time in St. Andrews was playing the Himalayas course with Eve and Sylvia, two members of the St. Andrews Ladies’ Putting Club. I like learning about history, but I love learning about history when golf is involved, and that’s kind of the whole point of St. Andrews. The Ladies’ Putting Club was founded in 1867. At the time, there weren’t many recreational activities open to women, so many of the daughters and sisters of members of the Royal and Ancient began to share a small putting green with the caddies at St. Andrews. The Ladies’ Putting Club was founded to give the local women a place of their own and has been thriving ever since. Today, there’s 200 members, all women, and the putting course holds weekly matches and competitions from April to September.

What’s even better is that slow play is not tolerated at the Himalayas course. Sylvia, Eve and I got around the 18-hole track in about 20 minutes. The routing changes each day, and the layout is super hilly, which makes for a fun match. Just don’t let the flags touch the ground when you’re there; it’s frowned upon.


The weather was rough when we arrived in St. Andrews. Not just bad for someone coming from New England, but even bad in St. Andrews terms: They closed the golf courses for a day due to the wind and rain. While this was definitely a bummer, it provided the perfect opportunity for us to check out the St. Andrews Aquarium. They’ve got over 120 species there, and while most of the exhibits are inside, you can head outside to watch the penguins be fed and check out the incredible views of the coast. Unlike most golf tournaments, the tickets you get to the aquarium are good for an entire day. That means you can re-enter, is definitely a plus if you’re traveling with children who may need a break.

Once the weather cleared up, Emma and I headed to the St. Andrews Castle. My mom was a third-grade teacher for 25 years, and I attended some field trips with her class as an extra chaperone after I graduated college. I couldn’t help but think about how much her students would like a place like this: the museum inside was friendly for all ages; not too overwhelming and it didn’t drag on. By the time we saw the whole thing, we were ready to go outside and check out the castle itself.

Taking in the sights and sounds at the St. Andrews Aquarium
Taking in the sights and sounds at the St. Andrews Aquarium. Claire Rogers

After our trip to the castle, we walked over to the Cathedral to check out the remains of the church and the burial grounds. We found the graves of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, where a few golf balls were placed nearby. While the cemetery wasn’t crowded, there were a few other people there to see the same thing as us.

Old Tom Morris' grave.
Old Tom Morris’ grave. Claire Rogers

There’s plenty of places to shop when you’re in St. Andrews, too. I popped into a number of stores to get souvenirs for family members as well as an extra layer so I could properly face the cold. My favorite stop was the Golf Shop of St. Andrews, where you can buy the crewneck sweatshirt version of the sweater Tiger Woods wore at the 1995 Open Championship.

Although it wouldn’t be a proper trip without an ice cream stop, so we made sure to go to Jannettas Gelateria while in town. Jannettas has been in business since 1908, so it’s safe to say they have their recipes down. They’ve got a full wall that lists the flavors, and it has everything from the most basic beloved flavors to the more adventurous. I went with cookie dough in a cone, which I’ve learned is good everywhere, but even more so when you’re at the Home of Golf.

Gelato in St. Andrews!
Gelato in St. Andrews! Emma Devine

And finally, we walked around the quad at the University of St. Andrews (Sallies Quad), which I cannot recommend enough. It was beautiful.

The view of St Salvator's Chapel from the University of St. Andrews quad
The view of St Salvator’s Chapel from the University of St. Andrews quad. Claire Rogers

Sunday at the Old Course

And now, the best for last. The Old Course is closed for play on Sundays, but open as a public park. Visitors and locals fill the fairways to walk their dogs, take photos on the Swilcan Bridge, play catch and even go for a jog. The most iconic, historic place in golf turns into a massive recreational spot once a week and the people (and dog watching) there is second to none.

The Old Course turns into a public park every Sunday.
The Old Course turns into a public park every Sunday. Claire Rogers


First, the town is so walkable. You don’t need a car to get around, but prepare to get your steps in. Next up is how age-inclusive it is. We saw parents with young children as well as adults with their grandchildren walking around town. There’s something for everyone there. And finally, bring the extra jacket. You won’t regret it.

claire rogers

Claire Rogers

Golf.com Editor