doors of st andrews

The following photo essay is a an exploration of the doors and doorways and ways to doors in St Andrews, Scotland.  All the way back to the 13th century, St Andrews was a town that acted as a liminal space-- to Britain from Europe, to Christianity from Celtic polytheism, to the Highlands from the Lowlands.  Appropriately, the town itself boasts entryways that span that same history.  


The Criterion boasts my favorite pint in town-- with 5 cask ales always on pulls, it's hard to go wrong.


The pink awning of Fisher and Donaldson's fifth generation bakery always announced to my daughters that frog-shaped cupcakes were near; for me, a 90p sausage roll on the way to class was hard to pass up.


The St Andrews branch of the Fife public library was a nearly daily stop for my wife and girls.  I also took them there, though less frequently, but often enough to get stuck in the elevator for almost 2 hours with the girls.


The kids' portion of the tour continues with the St Andrews Baptist Church, where, at their weekly play group, my wife developed a 10 AM tea and biscuits addiction.

Don't let the strange pitch of nachos fool you, The Whey Pat is the real deal-- and the cheapest pint in St Andrews.  Its (relative) fringe location over on Bridge Street leads to a mixed crowd of locals and students.  David, fancy a chat tonight?

While the claim is of a "European Bar," there isn't a more British pub in St Andrews than Aikmans.  Nice rotating selection of ales, frequent live music, and a cellar bar in which to hide (and have weekly meetings of Shakes-beer).


Gorgeous' tiny facade belies an upstairs that is great for writing, and monstrous scones.




St Andrews boasts a wide range of charity shops-- resale stores with everything from books to vinyl, from toys to clothing.  Barnardo's  is particularly rich with finds.

While at night, Vic hosts young(er) dance parties, it is a go-to for a burger (two-for-one) and bottle of 5 AM Saint.

Market Street has two Luvians: one an ice cream shop, the other a bottle shop with a generous tasting room.  Fun for kids of all ages.

The Keys is THE local spot.  If you wander in, you probably won't stay long.  But if you are a regular, or if you head in for any of their whisky flights, you will be here a while.


The cobbles under the arch to St Salvator's (Sally's) Quad, are the alleged sight where a 24 year old Patrick Hamilton was burnt at the stake for his Protestant beliefs in the 16th century.  You will see most students side step the "PH" in the stones as they pass on to class.


One of my favorite work spots was the Old Union Cafe: cheap, quiet, cave-like.  Great black and white photos of the university's history including, obviously, John Cleese's three year term as rector.  Just a scratch.


A modern entryway amongst an historic campus gets you into the University's main library.  There has been much ado about their recent remodel which displaced the special collections in favor of a cafe.  Priorities. 


Down Castle Street to the 15th century St Andrews Castle, the focal point of the church in medieval Scotland.


66 North Street houses a virtual home-away for post graduates in the School of English.  The 19th century building is a relative infant in the town; but what it lacks in age, it makes up for in bright ideas and hair pulling around deadlines.


Could you have a better playground than a cathedral from the 1300's?  My favorite part of ruins is when the absense of walls or roof allows nature to invade and erase the lines (and doors) between the outside and the inside.

Slàinte mhath!