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St Andrews Cathedral, St. Andrews

4.6
#1 of 196 in Things to do in Fife
Architectural Building Religious Site
Though now in ruins, the fragments of what was once Scotland’s largest and most magnificent church demonstrate how imposing St Andrews Cathedral must have been. It occupied a site used for worship since the 8th century, and the relics of St. Andrew, Scotland’s patron saint, are said to have been brought here. The Roman Catholic cathedral, constructed in the 12th century, was the seat of Scotland’s leading bishops until the Protestant Reformation. Wander through the grounds and imagine the mighty cathedral as it might have been. Explore the graveyard and check the dates on the ancient headstones dotted around it. Climb St. Rule’s 33 m (108 ft) tower, which would have served as a beacon for pilgrims, and enjoy spectacular views of the cathedral, the town, and the North Sea. Visit the museum to see a collection of medieval sculptures and other relics found on the site. To visit St Andrews Cathedral and other attractions in St. Andrews, use our St. Andrews vacation planner.
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13 days in Scotland BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in St. Andrews BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM September, kids, popular PREFERENCES: September, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 14 days in Scotland BY A USER FROM ROMANIA July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Fife BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in St. Andrews BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 14 days in Scotland BY A USER FROM MEXICO September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, fast-paced, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 14 days in Scotland BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA December, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 11 days in United Kingdom & Johannesburg BY A USER FROM SOUTH AFRICA October, culture, romantic, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: October, culture, romantic, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in St. Andrews BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM July, culture, historic sites, hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, culture, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 50 days in United Kingdom BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 12 days in Scotland BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA September, culture, outdoors, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: September, culture, outdoors, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 15 days in St. Andrews BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM August, kids, popular PREFERENCES: August, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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Where to stay in St. Andrews

less expensive lodging and luxury rental apartments are located around the town center and the university buildings. Be sure to book accommodations overlooking the sea and St. Andrew Cathedral ruins early, because they fill up fast during the good weather months. Rental properties in the town center on narrow streets, such as Market Street, are within walking distance of the main architectural and cultural attractions. Save money by renting a room farther west of the town center. These are residential neighborhoods that are well-connected to the town center but offer quiet nights and inexpensive nightly rates.
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4.6
  • Nice wee wander in the sun with the kids and great views and paths to the harbour. Very interesting historical site  more »
  • I visited here before going to church on Sunday, and found it to be most interesting walking around, even though I did not find the pay kiosk until later, also there was a coach group there at the tim...  more »
  • St. Andrews Cathedral is absolutely amazing. The ruins, the tower (which we did not climb), and the cemetery offer wonderful opportunities for exploring. We arrived later than I would have liked becau...  more »
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  • St Andrews is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, mostly because of its cathedral. It is very well cared for and free to visit. It does not matter if you visit on a rainy day, all weathers give you a different perspective of this great monument. As you walk in from the main entrance, the first thing you see is a lonely tree framing a landscape of grave stones paving the ground around the cathedral. There are few sights as classically romantic as this one. Should not miss the chance to see it if you are visiting Scotland.
  • During my last days in Scotland I decided to spend weekends travelling, alone, on one of which I visited St Andrews. The Cathedral is an identity of the town of St Andrews and a very beautiful place worth visiting. Although almost in ruins, it still succeeds to impress with the massive structure and huge area it had covered. You don't have to pay to wander around the ruins and the cemetery, but a single ticket is enough for the cathedral museum, St Rules Tower and the St Andrews Castle nearby, worth every penny! Climbing the St Rules Tower through the rock-cut very cozy stairs could be a bit difficult, especially for plumps (I meant fat ;-) ) but indeed would be an amazing experience. What a spectacular view of the town you can have from the top! You'll never regret climbing the tower. The castle nearby is a bit more enjoyable. Museum is also good.
  • On a sunny day, it made for a great place to stroll through. The ruins are majestic, and surprisingly extensive, given how little remains. (Also very well kept; the grounds being highly maintained.) If you're interested in the history of the place, there are informative signs dotted about that offer interesting context and tidbits. Otherwise, it's definitely worth the visit just for the spectacle.
  • No matter how pitiful it might be to see this structure in ruins, the fact that the cathedral is incomplete almost makes it appear more majestic and immense. Exploring the ruins and the churchyard (including Tommy Morris' monument) is fun and doesn't take too much time either. Buying the ticket to see the cathedral museum, the view from St. Rule's Tower and the castle is a personal choice: the museum under the cathedral is straightforward (unless you like tombstones with skulls and crossbones), but the tower makes the investment worthy. Then of course, the castle is more entertaining, but that's a different location. On the whole, a walk around this sacred ground is recommended; a visit to the museum is average; but a climb to the tower is unforgettable.
  • A wonderful place to get a feeling for what used to be here. the information centre is well worth a visit for a history lesson. wandering the grounds and reading the grave inscriptions gives a wonderful insight into the past. climbing St Rules tower is a must for the spectacular views over St Andrews and the countryside.