As spring is upon us and Pret has gone up in flames, students are left to explore new study spots. From gardens, to fancy tea, and from cheap to expensive, there’s something for every St Andrews student. These past couple of weeks, I’ve spent every day going to every coffee shop and study space. Anywhere with a chair and table, and I was there!
The Old Course Hotel’s Road Hole Bar
A personal favourite, I frequent the Old Course when work feels overwhelming and I need to study in a peaceful environment. This choice might get criticized because I can’t imagine how pretentious it must sound that I fully go to the Road Hole Bar to watch my lectures. However, I can’t think of a more work-conducive environment than this one. A standard latte is a little over £4 which, in my eyes, isn’t an issue given that I’ll shamelessly set up office for three hours. The area is usually occupied by just a few golfers and old couples giving the room a bit more life and serenity than the typical workspace. The view you get overlooking the Old Course is just marvellous and when the sunset hits, order some cocktails to get those essays flowing!
This one is tough because you have to be the stealthiest and earliest of the early birds in order to get a spot – I would honestly say it’s even harder to acquire a seat than in St Mary’s, which is saying something! Combini Cafe only hosts about ten seats which makes every minute count if you hope to get a table here. I would say the success rate of getting a seat is about a 5% chance only because I’ve been too many times only to turn away and go to Costa. But if you manage to grab a seat, I salute you (and envy you). Their lattes are especially delicious with so many fun variations and the baked goods hit the spot for a midday sugary pick-me-up. The minimalistic design isn’t distracting and yet it has enough action that you won’t feel like you’re in the library. It’s a great middle ground.
If you’re craving the great outdoors, look no further than our very own Botanic Gardens. After the frigid winter, head to the Botanic Gardens if we’re lucky enough to experience an occasional sunny day. There’s nothing better than bringing a blanket and some snacks to sit and get work done all while sitting in the gardens. If you fancy a more practical arrangement, I’d utilize their picnic benches too! Even though working here feels somewhat like a study break, I still find that I can get readings for classes done and relax while doing so. And the best part is, it’s free!
The future doctors reading this might not be too happy with this addition, but it is definitely worth noting. The café in the sciences building is the perfect blend of everything you’d want in a study space. Whether you want to go to a study room with some medic friends or head to the café portion where you can grab a table or couches, you’ll find it all here. The café itself is on the noisier side but if you’re looking for quiet, just go back to the silent section of the library! This place is more for the average studier who is craving some cheap food and drinks and a variety of seating options. The best random perk is the free sparkling water!
Definitely more of an unusual study spot but Jannetta’s is good for more than takeaway ice cream. Sit yourself in one of their comfy booths and grab a single scoop, gelato, or coffee! Nothing can stop your study flow as the tables have power outlets, the Wi-Fi connection is strong, and the sugar intake keeps you energized. I wouldn’t recommend staying here for hours on end but for an hour or so, I really enjoyed the atmosphere. When I sat here, I had a couple of scoops of ice-cream which truly kept me going more than a latte. It’s a great motivator too! As long as you don’t get annoyed by the occasional screaming child or you have really good noise cancelling headphones, you’ll be all set here in Jannetta’s.
If you’re willing to make the trek out, you’ll get the ultimate relaxation experience being at the Fairmont. Whether you head to the atrium area or any of the lounges, it’s a serene and gorgeous place to call a study spot. This one needs to be played right in order to not get pestered by any staff, so I always recommend ordering drinks or food but the bill will definitely start racking up here. I find it to be the best getaway from the typical St Andrews crowd and town – it truly feels like a mini holiday coming here!
I honestly can’t say I got that much done this week given that I put more energy into rating study spots rather than doing actual work. But I’m happy that I can safely say I know where I’m heading for these final weeks of classes and revising.