Universally recognized as the birthplace of golf, St. Andrews, a village of nearly 18,000 residents on the east coast of Fife, is home to the legendary Old Course, where golf was first played nearly 600 years ago. As a result of this august history, many St. Andrews event venues tend to play up The Game; but for general groups, the town's appeal is the University of St. Andrews, historical sites, ancient churches, and quaint shops, pubs, and restaurants.
Most visitors to St. Andrews fly into Edinburgh, 52 miles away, and Glasgow, 74 miles.
For meeting and incentive groups, the two main options are the 144-room Old Course Hotel, Resort & Spa, bordering the 17th "Road Hole" of the Old Course, with 11,000 square feet of meeting space, and the 209-room Fairmont St. Andrews with 15,000 square feet of meeting space. Smaller hotel venues in St. Andrews with limited meeting space include the 70-room Macdonald Rusacks Hotel and 22-room Hotel Du Vin St Andrews.
Special event venues in St. Andrews include a university of the same name, Scotland's oldest (founded in 1413), which offers 90 meeting rooms; and the British Golf Museum, where groups of 10 or more receive discounted admission rates.
A golfer's nirvana, the St. Andrews area features the seven courses operated by the St. Andrews, Links Trust, two courses at Fairmont St. Andrews and celebrated layouts like Kingsbarns and Carnoustie, which are enthusiastically enjoyed by golf-driven incentive groups. For spouses and non-golfers, there are six museums, the St. Andrews Aquarium, St. Andrews Botanic Garden, and a wide variety of shops and art galleries lining the cobblestone streets in the town center.
When it's time to wind down after intense meetings or rounds of golf, there's an exceptional selection of pubs ideal for socialization, bonding, and networking. Topping the list are the Jigger Inn, adjacent to the Old Course Hotel, Dunvegan Hotel Lounge Bar, a favorite with Americans, and Ma Bells, near the University of St. Andrews. Leading fine-dining options include the Sands Grill, Esperante, and Rocca St. Andrews.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons user: Peter Gordon