St Andrews has been a popular family destination for generations, and its appeal is as strong as ever – in fact, readers of the Primary Times school magazine awarded St Andrews with the Star Award for “UK Best Holiday Destination 2012”.
Indoors and out, there are lots of things for children of all ages to enjoy. A few ideas are listed below, but do also check out our “What’s On” section for one-off events which are often arranged during school holidays and at weekends.
- Aquarium – seals, meerkats, penguins and fish (of course) never fail to entertain young visitors to St Andrews Aquarium.
- Beaches – an essential part of every St Andrews experience! There are two main beaches, both winners of Blue Flag and Seaside Awards. Re-create the memorable scene from “Chariots of Fire” (which was filmed here) by running in slow motion along the golden West Sands, or enter one of the summertime sandcastle competitions. East Sands is a more sheltered beach, and with its adjacent play area, is often the better choice for younger children.
- Castle and Cathedral – every kid loves a castle, and St Andrews Castle is particularly exciting, with a dungeon, drawbridge and long dark tunnels to explore. For older children, the ascent of St Rule’s Tower at the nearby Cathedral is great fun (adult supervision is required).
- Cinema – The three screens of the New Picture House Cinema always offer something suitable for younger viewers during school holidays.
- Deer Centre – the Scottish Deer Centre, 13 miles from St Andrews, makes an excellent day out for children interested in animals. Expert talks and feeding sessions are often available.
- Horse and Pony Riding – Barbarafield Riding School, a few miles inland, offers riding experiences for all ages, from beginners to experts.
- Museums – all of the town’s museums are excellent places to take children, and they often stage extra activities during the school holidays.
- Parks and Gardens – In the town, there are playgrounds at East Sands and Cockshaugh Park (to reach the latter, follow signs for ‘Lade Braes Walk’). Nearby, St Andrews Botanic Garden welcomes many children each year, with one of its glasshouses set up as a fun learning centre. Just outside town, beautiful Craigtoun Park has acres of grass, adventure play areas and (April-October) other attractions such as a miniature train, boating and crazy golf.
- Swimming Pool – East Sands Leisure Centre has a pool, giant flume and fun aqua inflatable, together with steam room, spa bath, gym and cafe.
- Water Sports – older children and teenagers can choose from a host of exciting activities offered by Blown Away (at West Sands in St Andrews), or, just round the coast, East Neuk Outdoors and Elie Watersports.