Mass gathering at the ruins at St Andrews Cathedral.
Scotland
United Kingdom
Scotland
United Kingdom

St Andrews Cathedral

Please be aware of government guidelines before setting off.

Government Guidelines
  • Visit St Andrews Cathedral to immerse yourself in the history of this fascinating structure, and learn about all it's been through.
  • Check out the glorious sights around the castle, including sights from the top of the tower, the ruins and the memorials.
  • Don't miss out on the museum in the castle grounds to learn more about history and art, and even take a gander at the St Andrews sarcophagus.

St Andrews Cathedral ruins, overlooking the rocky stretch of beach which is known as Castle Sands, is a sight to behold. The Cathedral was once the largest church in Scotland, being a hotspot destination for religious pilgrims in the medieval era, its allure and grandiosity remaining even despite its ruins. What's great is that entrance to the ruins and graveyard is free of charge, although it’s definitely worth shelling out a few pounds for a ticket to enter the cathedral’s museum, as this includes entry to St Rule’s Tower, where here, the view from the top is astounding, and really just unbeatable.

Based in the home of the University of St Andrews since 1413, this seaside town on the east Fife coast boasts an eclectic range of both historic tradition and contemporary intellectualism for your family to enjoy, with many things on offer to do. From its ancient streets which have been walked upon by the likes of students, locals, and golf tourists alike, to its historic sites and cultural relevance, St Andrews is a joy to visit. For more fun days out in Fife, check out Pittencrieff Park, a public park in Dunfermline, that is great fun for families, with many events on during the year including the Bruce Festival and the yearly fireworks display.

The Cathedral of St Andrew was built in 1158, now a ruined structure as it is so old, it has a rich history, being the religious epicentre of Catholic Scotland in the Medieval times. Nowadays, the cathedral is a significant monument in the custody of Historic Environment Scotland. The ruined structure suggest that the building was around 119 metres long, and is the largest cathedral church to have been built in Scotland.  Learn about the site used as a religious site since the 8th century, when legend has it that the remains of the apostle St Andrew himself are said to have been brought here from Greece.

Your little ones will love exploring the remains of Scotland’s largest and most fantastic medieval church. Highly visible from the sea, this prominent landmark, even in its ruinous state, is great fun to experience. Immerse yourself in the history of this site. The church has roofless walls, meaning you can look up at the sky as you wander the cathedral grounds and wonder what life would have been like for those living almost a thousand years ago.

The historic west door is one of the most well preserved features for you to check out on your visit. You'll also be able to see traces of the Augustinian monastery which used to exist on the site. The mile-long wall that protects the Cathedral encircles the entire structure. Within the historic walls, the cathedral reveal much about their history. See if you can spot the tall tower, all that remains of the ancient St Regulus's church, that has been on site for the past 900 years. From this church, you would have been able to look out over the whole of the historic St Andrews area. Check out the corner turrets of the east front, built around the same time as St Regulus's church, as well as the remains of the additions to the east and west fronts that were built over the years.

Don't miss out on the museum at St Andrews Cathedral which is housed in the area of the attractive vaulted chambers that had been restored in the late 1800s. View early and later medieval sculpture among other relics  that are found on the site in the cathedral museum. For those interested in religious history and art, then you will be have a blast, taking your time to experience and visit this museum, where you can see the St Andrews Sarcophagus. Here you can learn much more about the cathedral and check out some ancient artefacts. You can also head up the steps of St Rule's Tower with a token from the visitor centre. The views are simply magnificent, overlooking the Scottish sea and along the historic ruins of St Andrew's Castle.

Within the cathedral area, there are a number of memorials that are interesting to look at, as some date back to medieval times, withstanding the tumultuous history. There is a modern memorial that will pique the interest of the groups of golf fans who return to St Andrews each year, so be on the lookout. For more historical days out in St Andrews, check out St Andrews Castle and explore how it was caught in the Protestant Reformation struggle for hearts and minds, and its other uses as a prison, a fortress, and more.

What to know before you go

  • St Andrews Cathedral opening times are from 10am to 4pm.
  • When you're feeling peckish, there are plenty of eateries nearby, plus places to sit nearby so you could bring something with you to eat.
  • There are toilets on site but check before hand as sometimes they are not in use, ask a member of staff where the nearest baby changing facilities are and accessible toilets.
  • As the site is old, some parts are inaccessible and have steps with gravel and grassier areas. The memorial gate has level access.
  • Assistance dogs are permitted. Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times.

Getting there

  • St Andrews Cathedral is located at The Pends in the city of St Andrews.
  • If travelling via public transport, St Andrews Cathedral is conveniently located in St Andrews city, so it is accessible via train and bus.
  • If travelling via car, once in St Andrews city, the cathedral is via South St/A918.
  • There is on-street parking is available nearby. Visitors can be dropped off in front of the war memorial at the top of North Street.

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

Government Guidelines
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