The 3 beaches of St Andrews

St Andrews beaches are lauded around the world for their beauty. In 2021, a nationwide study named our town as one of the top five best beach seaside destinations in the UK, and the best in Scotland. Many people don’t realise that there are actually three beaches in St. Andrews – East Sands, West Sands and Castle Sands. So which beach is best? 

East Sands

East Sands beach at sunset in St Andrews

East Sands beach is our favourite, in no small part because it’s the one closest to us! This makes it a great location for our customers to enjoy their fish and chips by the sea. 

It’s a great beach to spend time at with the family. You’ll find plenty of watersports going on here, and there are public toilets, a children’s play area, car parking and café. It’s a beautiful and clean beach, but you don’t have to take our word for it. In 2022 East Sands was a Keep Scotland Beautiful award winner, for excellence in for excellence in access, facilities and safety, local environmental quality, and community and heritage. 

West Sands

If you are coming to St. Andrews for the first time, this is probably the beach you are most familiar with. That’s because it was memorably the setting for the famous running scene in Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire. So if you want to run in slow motion with an earworm stuck in your head, this is the place to be!

It’s a huge beach, with as much sand as you could ever need! For over two uninterrupted miles you can enjoy sand between your toes, with gorgeous dunes on one side and, of course, the sea on the other. 

It’s only a short walk from the centre of St. Andrews and there is plenty of car parking, even during peak summer season. The West Sands beach is also a winner a Keep Scotland Beautiful 2022 Beach Award, making it a lovely place to spend time. If you would like to know more about West Sands, the dune restoration efforts and other activities available, click here for a PDF.

Castle Sands

Castle Sands beach at St Andrews

Perhaps the least well-known of all three beaches is Castle Sands, but it is a remarkable area to visit. Nestled beneath the ruins of St Andrews Castle, this small beach can be tricky to get to. You need to walk down a steep slope, however once you arrive there are rock pools and plenty of activities to keep everyone happy. It’s a mix of rocks and sand and is popular with geologists as there are rocks here dating back 350 million years.

Enjoy your fish supper by the beach

Whichever one of St Andrews beaches you decide to sit on, enjoy your day with a meal from Cromars. Washed down with an ice cool drink and in front of gorgeous beaches and stunning vistas, there’s nothing quite like it. So take a look at our menu and get your mouth watering for some of the best beachside food you can get.