Many people are surprised to discover that St Andrews is a relatively small town, with a permanent residential population of only 17,000 or so. There can be few, if any, places of such modest size that are so well known around the world!
This helps make St Andrews a particularly visitor-friendly town. Everything is within easy reach, and the town centre is less than a mile (1.5 km) across.
The people who live here have a strong sense of civic pride, reflected in the well-cared for streets and public areas. Local voluntary groups such as St Andrews in Bloom , St Andrews Preservation Trust and St Andrews Pilgrim Foundation help to conserve and enhance the historic townscape. The central parts of the town are protected conservation areas, and even on the outskirts, large-scale development has been shunned – there are no factories or out-of-town shopping malls to be found, for instance.
Our image (right) shows the St Andrews official coat of arms, showing St Andrew and a boar (the name given to the area in the Dark Ages was Muckross, derived fron “muick” meaning “boar” and “ross” meaning “promontory”. The coat of arms incorporates the town’s motto “Dum Spiro Spero” – “While I breathe, I hope”. (Please note, use of the coat of arms is strictly regulated by the Royal Burgh of St Andrews Community Council and it may not be used without consent).
The University, with some 7,000 undergraduates, is the town’s major employer, and its students contribute immensely both to the local economy and the town’s unique atmosphere – an intriguing blend which is part calm contemplation, part spontaneous joie de vivre!
St Andrews’ long-standing reputation as a holiday destination has blessed it with a plethora of places to stay, shops and restaurants which are unrivalled anywhere in Scotland in terms of consistent high quality. After almost 1,000 years of looking after visitors, the hospitality of local people is instinctive and ingrained; the many film stars, celebrities and politicians who come here frequently comment that one of the attractions of St Andrews is that every visitor is afforded an equal welcome.