Smithsonian at St. Andrews


As the oldest university in Scotland, St. Andrews holds centuries of history within its walls. As you walk these storied halls, attend bespoke courses taught by St. Andrews faculty, lodge in student accommodations on campus, and explore the charming town of St. Andrews.

Highlights Include 

  • Courses of Study: Choose from two courses taught by St. Andrews faculty members—Scottish Castles and Scottish Crime Writing: From Gothic Horror to Tartan Noir. (Travelers should select their choice of course at the time of booking. Enrollment is limited.)
  • Excursions: Combine classroom learning with engaging excursions that bring your subject to life. Everyone will make a day excursion to Edinburgh, a favorite setting for Scottish crime writers and renowned for its castle. Those enrolled in Scottish Castles will also explore the remains of St. Andrews Castle and Falkland Palace. Scottish Crime Writing dives into the settings of historic and contemporary crime writers, from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to Ian Rankin.
  • Extension: Join an optional four-day extension to Glasgow to explore the life and works of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the renowned Scottish architect and designer whose work influenced the Scottish Secessionism and Art Nouveau movements.
  • Lifestyle: Perched on the east coast of Fife, St. Andrews reflects a combination of history and contemporary charm. Castle ruins and a rugged coastline abut a lively Scottish town where shops and dining are only a short walk away. Stay at historic McIntosh Hall and sample life as a student. McIntosh Hall is centrally located in St. Andrews along the length of Abbotsford Crescent and many rooms offer views of the Old Course and West Sands. Live in a dormitory room (with shared bathroom), have breakfast in the college hall, and use the University’s common rooms. Travelers may also choose to upgrade to the nearby Ardgowan Hotel at a supplemental cost.
travel deeper:


Day 1 – Depart the U.S. for Scotland

Day 2 – Welcome to Scotland

Arrive in Edinburgh Airport this morning and transfer to St. Andrews and its historic university. After settling in at McIntosh Hall,* gather for an orientation walking tour of St. Andrews.

A welcome reception will be held in McIntosh Hall this evening with St. Andrews faculty who will provide an overview of the week and discuss the educational system at the university. Dinner this evening is at a local restaurant. (R,D)

*Note: Travelers may choose to upgrade to the nearby Ardgowan Hotel at a supplemental cost.

Day 3 – Crime and Castles

Travelers will enroll in a choice of two courses—Scottish Castles or Scottish Crime Writing: from Gothic Horror to Tartan Noir—and attend a series of lectures and excursions to historic sites.

Scottish Crime Writing. Explore the theme of Gothic Scotland with a focus on the works of James Hogg and Robert Louis Stevenson.

Scottish Castles. Attend a talk on St. Andrews Castle and its role in the Scottish Reformation. This afternoon, enjoy a visit to St. Andrews Castle for an up-close look at this historic site.


Day 4 – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Falkland Palace

Scottish Crime Writing. Delve into Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, then take an afternoon trip to the charming seaside villages of Crail and Anstruther. Enjoy a local favorite of fish and chips for lunch today.

Scottish Castles. Learn about Falkland Palace, a 17th-century royal palace, and the broader subject of the Scottish crown—then head out for the quick drive to the palace and explore it in person. Lunch will be at a popular local café.

Late this afternoon, both groups gather for a tour and tasting at a local distillery.


Day 5 – The Streets of Edinburgh

Both groups are bound for Edinburgh today to explore the city with a different focus.

Scottish Crime Writing. Your morning talk is on renowned crime writer Ian Rankin, with a particular focus on his novel Fleshmarket Close. In Edinburgh, enjoy a walking tour that showcases crime writing themes, plus visit the Writers’ Museum, home to artifacts from Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Burns, and Sir Walter Scott.

Scottish Castles. Lecture topics this morning include the “Athens of the North” and Edinburgh Castle. Once in Edinburgh, tour the castle—perched high on Castle Rock—as well as Holyrood Palace, the official residence of the British monarch when in Scotland, located at the other end of the Royal Mile.

Return to St. Andrews this evening. (B,L)

Day 6 – Tartan Noir and Dunnottar Castle

Scottish Crime Writing.  Take a modern turn and as your tutor examines the rise of the “Tartan Noir” genre and the contemporary Scottish crime writing scene. Enjoy lunch at a popular local restaurant in town.

Scottish Castles. Depart St. Andrews this morning for Dunnottar Castle with lunch and a lecture en route. Dunnottar Castle is a striking medieval fortress, known most famously as the hiding place of the Scottish crown jewels during the invasion of Oliver Cromwell’s army in the 17th century.

This evening, everyone is invited to attend a private reading by a contemporary Scottish crime writer. (B,L)

Day 7 – Graeme Macrae Burnet and Glamis Castle

Scottish Crime Writing. Your final lecture features the works of Graeme Macrae Burnet, a rising Scottish author whose novel His Bloody Project was shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize.

Scottish Castles. Head out this morning for Glamis Castle, where your tutor relates the history of this beautiful castle, once the childhood home of the Queen Mother.

Back in St. Andrews this evening, gather together to toast the end of your seminar with a farewell reception and dinner at a local restaurant, joined by St. Andrews staff. (B,R,D)

Day 8 – Departure

Depart this morning for Edinburgh Airport and individual flights home, or continue  to Glasgow for the optional extension. (B)

Glasgow Post-Tour Extentsion – 4 days, 3 nights

Day 1 – To Glasgow: This morning, travel from St. Andrews to Glasgow. Stop in Dundee en route to visit the new V&A Museum on a guided tour. The new V&A is Scotland’s first design museum, and is set to open in September 2018. The next stop is Hill House, one of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s most famous works. Continue on towards Glasgow and check in to your hotel. (B)

Day 2 – House for an Art Lover: After breakfast, enjoy a guided visit to the House for an Art Lover. This fascinating building was constructed in the 1980s and 90s based on a 1901 design by Mackintosh and his wife Margaret MacDonald. Different parts of the house vary greatly in style and color, creating an eclectic whole. Enjoy tea at the newly opened Mackintosh at the Willow tea rooms, a careful reconstruction of his iconic tea rooms. (B, Tea)

Day 3 – The Mackintosh Collections: Begin the day with a guided tour of Mackintosh House at the Hunterian Museum. Here, the interior of the Mackintoshes’ home in Glasgow has been meticulously recreated to look just as it did at the Southpark home where they lived from 1906 to 1914, where each detail down to the furniture was designed by Mackintosh and MacDonald. Continue to the impressive Kelvingrove Museum for a curator-led tour focusing on Mackintosh and the Glasgow design rooms. Back in the city center, visit the Lighthouse—now Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture—which features a distinctive tower designed by Mackintosh. Cap off the evening with a farewell reception and dinner at a local restaurant. (B,R,D)

Day 4 – Departure: Depart Glasgow this morning on individual flights home. (B)

Blythswood Square has been a prestigious address since the early 19th century. Overlooking a private garden square. One of Glasgow’s best-established and luxurious hotels, and the only one with an AA five-star accreditation. Widely acclaimed for its exceptional service.


McIntosh Hall
Price Pre-tour Ext. Post-tour Ext. Occupancy
$4,995 $2,695 Double
$5,290 $3,315 Single


Alternate hotel for those choosing to upgrade
Price Pre-tour Ext. Post-tour Ext. Occupancy
$5,720 Double
$6,795 Single

trip details

McIntosh Hall

St. Andrews, United Kingdom

McIntosh Hall is centrally located in St. Andrews along the length of Abbotsford Crescent and many rooms offer spectacular views of the Old Course and West Sands. Highlights of St. Andrews are easily accessible from this convenient point. The hall was originally constructed as a hotel, and was acquired by the university in 1921. The hall serves as student accommodation during the school year. Rooms are simple but comfortable and are equipped with one or two single beds, a desk, bedside table, internet, and phone access. Please note that bathroom facilities are shared (one communal bathroom with several showers, toilets, and sinks for every five guests). Guests have access to communal facilities including a common room and library. Breakfast is provided daily in the dining hall.

Number of nights: 6

this trip

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