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St Andrews Cathedral, St. Andrews

4.6
#2 of 285 in Things to do in Fife
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. Plan your visit to St Andrews Cathedral and a wealth of other attractions, well-known and undiscovered, using our St. Andrews itinerary tool .
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St Andrews Cathedral Reviews
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  • Although this is only the remains of the medieval cathedral for suggestion, location and extent of the collection shall transmit all the glory and Majesty of the past of this place
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  • Being a church goer I was keen to go to St Andrews Cathedral and look around it - but I didn't know it was a ruin!! So much for looking at the various chattels and so on. Doh. It was still very intere...  more »
  • This old cathedral, which had attached a convent, should have been majestic. Even in ruins to see what was the seat of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland. A view not to be missed from the top of St Rule's Tower (to pay).
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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.

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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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