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St Andrews Castle landscape and sea, ruins.
United Kingdom
United Kingdom

St Andrews Castle

Please be aware of government guidelines before setting off.

Government Guidelines
  • Visit St Andrews Castle to explore the turbulent story of this medieval structure.
  • Check out the tours, views and sights from the ruins of this castle, as you truly immerse yourself in the history of this significant Scottish attraction.
  • Don't miss out on the golf course at the top of the hill, with views over the town, offering a relaxing day out.

Explore the historic ruins of St Andrews Castle and immerse yourself within the past of this 13th century church, sitting on rocky land overlooking the Castle Sands beach and North Sea. Home to the Archbishops of St Andrews, and the centre of Scotland during the years prior to the Protestant Reformation, this is a significant site, with much to offer. Managed by Historic Environment Scotland as an archaeologically important site, you can learn so much about the Scottish Government and the likes of Cardinal Beaton, John Hamilton, James Beaton, the French Fleet and more.  

Originally built for the religious royals of St Andrews, the Castle has since been subjected to grave sieges, catastrophic storm damage and attacks by French ships, along with more bombardment, which has contributed to its castle ruins, with not much left to show, although what is left tells many stories, with hidden gems lurking between the ruined castle and perimeter wall.

If you and your family are visiting some St Andrews attractions, then this is a trip you definitely need to make, to see the ruins of what was once a mighty castle. Fortified by the 12th century, this imposing Scottish castle has gone through many changes, becoming a residence for the religious royals of St Andrews in the 13th century, and remaining a significant site, an epicentre for the church in medieval Scotland. For more historic days out in Fife, check out St Andrews Cathedral located right by the castle, and pop over to experience the story of Scotland's biggest and most significant medieval church, home to fabulous sights, occasional events and more to discover.

Looking for things to do in St Andrews? Your little ones will have a blast in the 16th-century siege mine and counter-mine which is located deep below the castle, underground.  Here let your imaginations run wild, immerse yourself into a past turbulent time, home to  the 'bottle dungeon', which is one of the most feared and well known castle prisons that existed in medieval Britain, literally cut out of the solid hard rock. Learn about the scary stories of the people, like John Knox and George Wishart, who experienced imprisonment during this time.

Make sure to check out the exhibition in the castle where you and your little ones can learn so much about St Andrews as a town more generally, as well as the castle itself. Through displays and mannequins, you will be told the fascinating stories of the people who frequented this castle, along with the other attractions in the town. The exhibition details the etymology of the town, and how it became home to significant and ancient relics of the past, like the Saint Andrews Sarcophagus from the 8th century, which can still be seen in the museum.

Your little ones will be enthralled exploring the fascinating features and hidden gems that you'll find among the ruins of the castle. Check out the siege tunnels that were dug during an attack in 1546. Through smarts, interceptions, skill and resilience, the story behind this impressive feat is well worth a listen. Plus, have fun learning about the tunnel entrances which were built and then aborted for being in the incorrect location, now you can see them in rooms that are on both sides of the castle.

Get your little ones to the towers of St Andrews, where they can experience the view from the top, overlooking the impressive Scottish ruins. Get the kids' imaginations active as you travel carefully through the the defenders tunnel, you'll have to crouch and really get into the act of immersing yourself in what life was like here in a past time. What makes this experience even more fun is the electric lights soaring through the tunnel, so it makes the crouching worth it!

If you're a fan of horror, ghouls and ghosts, then you might want to visit the bottleneck dungeon entrance if you feel confident enough. This is a spooky place where those who were imprisoned were dropped down into this pit, it has a ghostly atmosphere, with many stories of sightings and hauntings by the Cardinal David Beaton. Captured and killed, he was never seen again after the Protestant Reformers got him. Are you brave enough to check it out?

Don't miss out on the St Andrews Castle course for golfing that is located on site, this might be more your thing if ghost sightings scare you too much. Boasting many impressive feats, such as being one of the largest public golfing complexes in Europe, among others. This glorious golf course is set atop the beautiful rugged cliff top, so while you're waiting for your turn, you can gaze at St Andrews from this highpoint. This is truly an unforgettable experience.

For more fun days out in Fife, check out Pittencrieff Park in Dunfermline, where your little ones can enjoy themselves in fun play areas, explore the area with nature trails and relax in one of the many stunning gardens, plus host to many great events, festivals and more.

What to know before you go

  • St Andrews Castle opening times are from 10am to 4pm.
  • When you're feeling peckish, there are great eateries nearby if you're looking for some good local grub. Plus there are loads of benches for picnics.
  • There are toilets, accessible toilets but no baby changing facilities on site.
  • The site is partly accessible, although as the castle is old, there are many parts inaccessible to those using wheelchairs and pushchairs, with many steps to climb, like the areas of the dungeons, upper floors and mines.  There is wheelchair access, plus a display with multi-sensory aspects for visitors with sensory impairments.

Getting there

  • St Andrews Castle is located at The Scores in St Andrews.
  • If travelling via public transport, you can get to St Andrews via the train station and it has good bus routes, too. Once in St Andrews, to get to the castle, you can walk as it isn't far from the centre, or get the 99A departing to Dundee City Centre, getting off at Abbey Street.
  • If travelling via car, from Edinburgh to get to St Andrews, go via A92. From Glasgow, go via A91. From Dundee, via A91. From Stirling, go via A91. Once in St Andrews, go via South Sreet or the A918 and A917 to reach the castle which is conveniently located in the centre.
  • There is parking available on streets, and one accessible parking bay. Bruce Embankment is the closest car park.

Please follow the latest government guidelines if travelling by public transport.

Government Guidelines


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Historic Environment Scotland

Historic Environment Scotland, previously known as Historic Scotland, runs and cares for 360 monuments. It’s responsible for safeguarding Scottish heritage, caring for Historic Scotland sites like the Antonine Wall, Bothwell Castle, Edrom Church and more. It’s an intrinsic part of looking after Scottish history.

This public body has been protecting historic Scottish listed buildings and sites since 1991. Not only does Historic Environment Scotland care for these properties, but it also cares for the environment strategy to make sure the buildings are available for future generations. They also care for manuscripts, art collections, and other works in their archives which all tell the history of Scotland.

A Historic Scotland membership allows you to have free admission to castles and heritage attractions across Scotland. Your custom helps protect the buildings, with a magazine each month explaining what they’re doing. Your Historic Scotland pass will also give you retail and cafe discounts, discounted entry to other attractions like ones owned by English Heritage, and access to Historic Scotland events. There are different types of memberships so you can pick the one which works best for you.

If you’re looking for places to visit in Scotland, start with Historic Scotland.

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