Sick of the Library? Check out St Andrews’ alternative study spots

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St Salvator's Quad

Have you ever wandered into the main library on a given afternoon with your arms full of books, determined and mentally prepared for hours of study, only to have your hopes dashed? That each and every corner is occupied by an over-caffeinated, sleep-deprived honours student frantically typing away on their MacBook? If you prefer not to study at home, whether due to insufficient heating or the boundless distractions of YouTube and noisy roommates, there are plenty of attractive alternatives around town that you may not have considered, but could just end up making your study experience far more bearable. Once you let go of the notion that the main library is the only place in St Andrews where you can enjoy peace and quiet while getting work done, you may discover another productive spot that fulfils all your revision needs.


The Union
When the Union isn’t crammed full of students crowding around the bar or dancing up a storm during one of the Bops, the Union can be the perfect place for peaceful revision. During the day, the Union is fairly deserted so you can relax, study to your heart’s content and enjoy an affordable and tasty meal in the bar while you are at it.

Caffeine and studying go hand in hand so what better place to work then Taste? Not only do they offer some of the best coffee in town, but also a relaxed environment with the added bonus of free Wi-Fi. So settle in for the day in one of the plush couches and enjoy a great latte as you revise.

Another perfect place for the caffeine addicts, Beanscene is an optimal place to revise. It’s quiet, relaxed and offers comfortable couches and tables to lay out your books and notes. Naturally the best part is that you can enjoy a good caffeine (and pastry) injection as you work.

The Bell Pettigrew Museum
Located in the Bute Building, this Victorian natural science museum offers a quiet and visually stimulating alternative to the library. Comfortable chairs and large tables surrounded by fascinating displays make this a convenient and unusual study spot. Have a wander around the multitudinous collection on study breaks. The museum is open to the public on Tuesday and Friday afternoons.

Hall Libraries
For those days when you don’t feel like leaving your hall, using hall study spaces can be your best bet. Each hall offers its own study areas, usually a hall library or two. These libraries are stocked with plenty of computers, books and a printer. Hall libraries are usually overlooked for the main library but offer you an equally quiet place to revise without leaving the comfort of home.

The King James and St Mary’s College Libraries
Smaller, but very atmospheric, these two libraries offer a suitable space to revise, particularly for those who can’t stomach the bustle of coffee shops, and prefer extremely quiet spots. Keep in mind the hours are shorter than the main library.


Saint Mary’s Quad
On a gorgeous day in St Andrews nothing is more enjoyable than walking up that cobblestone path into Saint Mary’s Quad. The Quad is one of the loveliest places to study. Grab your textbooks and thermos and take a seat on one of the benches as you revise while enjoying the peace and quiet that goes along with the harmonious vibe within the Quad.

Lade Braes
Walking down Lade Braes is one of the most popular things to do in St Andrews. Energetic joggers and cyclists frequent it. However, Lade Braes doesn’t just offer a good place to walk or exercise, but also a candid study spot. You can revise while enjoying nature at its finest so bring your notes and books and make yourself comfortable on one of the benches along the path, or on the grass at the end park.

Botanic Gardens
The Gardens have frequently been described as one of Scotland’s horticultural gems. It has 18 acres of exotic flowers and plants, which offers a peaceful atmosphere, making it an inviting study location. You can read on one of the benches along the path or in the gardens. As a bonus, a nice stroll through the gardens is a perfect study break!

The Cathedral
Perhaps an odd suggestion, but during optimal weather the cathedral grounds have plenty of benches and sunny, sheltered spots for reading. Provided you don’t mind the steady stream of tourists, the cathedral can be a wonderfully calming spot for those who prefer to read outdoors when conditions are favourable.


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