The weather finally relented enough for us to make a visit to St Andrews Castle on Tuesday.
We’d been given a family ticket to visit by Historic Environment Scotland. Now, if you’re not familiar with St Andrews, I’ll describe it for you. It’s a university town. The Castle is surrounded by university buildings, and the parking is strictly for the Uni staff. Fortunately, there’s plenty of parking just a street or two away. The town is reminiscent of a mini-Edinburgh.
St Andrews Castle
The entrance to the castle is through the modern visitor centre building. It houses not only a shop, but an exhibition detailing the vast history of the construction, uses, resident and ultimately the demise of St Andrews Castle.
The exhibition contains recreations of historic events, illustrations, videos and artifacts from the original building.
The centre leads out the the castle via a short path. You enter via a drawbridge, pretty much how visitors would have entered when the castle was still active. (I say active. You couldn’t really live there now. It’s a bit of a fixer-upper.)
Six of us visited, and there was something to interest all of us. The older ones found the history of the castle to be fascinating. The youngsters loved to explore and sneak away in all the nooks. The views out to sea and over to the cathedral were impressive.
The entire site has info boards and signs providing loads of details about the castle and what each area was used for.
There is loads to explore. It’s deceptively large. From the street, you can only really see the front of the ruin, but once inside there are many levels to discover. The mine comes with a warning. It is slippery but safe if you’re careful. Not recommended for claustrophobes!
We had great fun exploring St Andrews Castle. Everyone got something from it. I bought the official souvenir guide and it makes for interesting, if gruesome, reading. I would highly recommend St Andrews Castle for a family visit!
Craigtoun Country Park
Next stop was Craigtoun Country Park, a park located around 4 miles outside of St Andrews.
A friendly chap met us at the entrance. He escorted us to a tractor train which took us to around to the tea room / offices / kids play areas. It was bitterly cold, but that was hardly the fault of the park. (What is it about being on a small train that makes complete strangers want to wave at you? Yes, we waved back.)
The play areas suited all ages. There was a large park for older kids, and bouncy castles and pedal cars for younger ones.
The park is pretty big. We explored The Fairy Glen, went on the Zip Lines and walked around the beautiful gardens,
Then we went to the boating lake. The pedalos weren’t large enough for six of us, so we took a rowing boat. Observe the look of sheer terror in my eyes as I try my best not to drown my family. My knuckles are literally white.
The park is free entry although they do charge for rides / boats via a ticket system. Hopefully you’ll have a warmer / dryer day than we did!