Don't step on the PH initials outside the Quad
Outside the main Quad (The Sally's Quad - or St Salvator's Quadrangle) in St Andrews, there are the initials PH appearing in the paving. This is a monument to Patrick Hamilton, who was burned at the stake in 1526 as a heretic - whilst a student - and who took 6 hours to burn to death. Above the flagstone of the main entrance to the quad, there is a face in the stone - allegedly imprinted in the stone by his soul.
As an undergraduate it is very bad luck indeed to step on these initials. Many people, therefore, can be seen dancing up and down on them after graduation, having carefully avoided stepping on them for the duration of their degrees.
St. Rules Tower
Next to the ruins of the cathedral built in the 12th century is St. Rules Tower named after St. Regulus, constructed before the cathedral as part of a different church and was the rumored resting place of the remains of St.Andrew.
The tower gives you a very good vantage of the town.
There is reportedly a ghost of a friendly monk in the tower itself who shows up from time to time to offer a hand to the people climbing the tower steps.
See for yourself if you dare!
St Andrews Cathedral, St Rules Church
St Rules Church with its imposing tower is part of the St Andrews Cathedral comlex.
It is possible to climb to the top of the tower which affords a fine view over the Cathedral, the town, and out to sea. (on a clear day that is!)
Aberdour - St Fillan's Church
St Fillan's Church is to be found close to the castle at Aberdour. it is said that King Robert the Bruce worshipped here after the Batlle of Bannockburn in 1314.
The church was abandoned in the 18th Century and fell into ruin,
Fortunately work began on its restoration in 1925 and it is now once again a complete and beautiful church.
Oldest Scottish University City
The oldest Scottish University city, the ambience of St Andrews is that of Edinburgh by the sea. Imposing granite buildings, sweeping central avenues, cobbled alleys. The ruined castle lies on the foreshore, the vast ruined Abbey overlooks the town and small harbour, the East Sands beach below the Abbey leads to rocky cliffs, the West Beach disappears into the distance to the mouth of the Tay several miles away. And if you are into golf, then St Andrews is a mecca, with the old course (there are many!) frequently hosting the biggest names in the world as one of the venues for the British Open.
There is evidence of a monastic settlement on the site since the 7th century, with St Andrews (or its previous names of Kilrymont and Muckross) playing a significant role in Scottish religious life. From mediaeval times to the Reformation, the city was the ecclesiastical centre of the country and its bishop the primus of the Church of Scotland. The castle was built in the 12th century as the bishop's main residence and this, along with the cathedral and St Rules, the largest building in Scotland at the time, and a population of around 14,000 made St Andrews a town of considerable significance.
Such was its importance, in 1412 a royal charter founded the first university in Scotland in St Andrews
That all changed in 1559 and the Reformation, with the vast Cathedral and its monastery sacked, falling into serious disrepair and which, in spite of some attempts in later centuries to restore parts of the building, is what we see today.
The demise set in - not until the 1960s did the town seriously recover - and mainly due to the increased interest and popularity in golf. St Andrews is mostly known today for its golf courses, having hosted more than any other course The British Open.
With its great beaches, many golf courses, a steady population of 18,000 plus the high number of students at one of the best (as well as oldest) universities in the UK, a great location on the east coast of Fife only an hour or so from Edinburgh, St Andrews is, like its larger sister city, a genteel town with a lot going for it.