That hour-long train journey from Edinburgh to St Andrews has a hypnotic sort of charm - all heather-blanketed hills, seagulls swooping over traditional seaside towns and mile upon mile of rugged coastline. The real magic, however, begins once you reach the storied university town. Located on Scotland's east coast, in the heart of the county of Fife, St Andrews often comes up in conversation through association with its royal alumni, but it's the white-sand bays, historic landmarks and foodie startups that make it a great choice for a go-slow escape. Take a stroll along the blustery shores of West Sands beach (or a splash if you're feeling daring), followed by a Med-leaning lunch at local institution Bibi's Café. Tour the grounds of the 13th-century St Andrews Castle and the cathedral ruins, browse the low-intervention wines at independent Luvians bottle shop, explore the stunning craft collection at J&G Innes (which also has its own top-floor gallery), and feast on fresh scallops, oysters and monkfish at sea-facing The Seafood Ristorante.
Where to stay: Rusacks St Andrews