Pleasantly situated in a sheltered bay on the east coast of Fife, St Andrews is a place of fine character and a long Celtic history. During the Early Medieval period the area was a stronghold for the Pictish Kings of the Scots. Later in the 8th century, the town became an important destination for pilgrims who came to visit the remains of St Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland.

St. Andrews Abbey
St. Andrews Abbey © Travel About Britain

The streets of the town are wide and spacious with many attractive stone buildings, including the formidable ruins of its stone-built Abbey and Cathedral Church, and the prestigious buildings of the university. West Port (1580), at the end of South Street, is one of very few surviving burgh gates in Scotland. Market Street is the main shopping area. A fountain now marks the site of the ancient Mercat cross. Near the entrance to Baker Lane is a shop showing the emblem of the Maltese Cross. The premises at the back were once the property of the Order of the Knights of St John.

The great sweep of West Sands to the north of the town provides a fine resort beach, that was famously used as the backdrop for the stirring film 'Chariots of Fire'.

University of St. Andrews
University of St. Andrews © Travel About Britain

The University of St Andrews is the oldest in Scotland and comprises three main colleges: St Salvator's (1450), St Leonard (1512) and St Mary's (1537). These were merged in 1747 to form United College. St Salvator's is noted for its fine clock tower and rambling ivy-clad buildings. Bishop James Kennedy, whose richly carved tomb lies in the chapel, founded the first college here in 1450. The pavement in front of the archway into St Salvator's marks the spot where Patrick Hamilton was burned at the stake, in 1528, for preaching Lutheran doctrines. St Mary's College has a fine quadrangle of lawns and gardens. Adjoining the college is the Old University Library. The lower hall of the library, known as Parliament Hall, housed the Scottish Parliament in 1645-6.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Course
The Royal and Ancient Golf Course © Travel About Britain

St. Andrews is the home of the game of Golf, which has been played in Fife since at least the 15th-c. James II banned the game in 1457, to ensure that men concentrated on their archery practice instead. Mary Queen of Scots played here in 1567 and the town now has six golf courses. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club was founded in 1754, and its famous fairway on the edge of town still hosts the Open Golf Championship on various occasions.

Attractions in St. Andrews

R&A World Golf Museum

Golf Museum

Sited next to the clubhouse of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club. This purpose built museum tells the story of golf with interactive displays.

Opening times: see website for details - Admission Charge
Location: Bruce Embankment, St Andrews KY16 9AB
Tel: 01334 460046

St. Andrews Cathedral

The Cathedral was founded in 1160, while the abbey and priory date from the 13th-c. Destroyed during the Reformation, the standing remains are still impressive. In the grounds is a visitor's centre and museum, which tells the story of the town. Also on display is an important collection of local Celtic and medieval artefacts.

The entrance fee includes an ascent of St Rule's (Regulus) Tower, the sole remains of the church built in 1130. Legend states that it was St Regulus who brought the relics of St Andrew to Fife. The wide reaching views from the top of the tower are well worth the 108ft (33m) climb.

Opening times: see website for details - Admission Charge
Location: The Pends, St Andrews KY16 9QL
Tel: 01334 472563

St. Andrews Castle

St. Andrews Castle

The castle dates from around 1200 AD. Strategically sited on a rocky outcrop and protected on its north and east sides by high cliffs and the sea. A formidable fortress, it was originally the seat of the Bishops of St Andrews but was later used as a prison. The castle is noted for its 'Bottle Dungeon', hollowed out of the solid bedrock below. There is also a 'mine and countermine' system, dug in the 1540s after Protestants seized the castle. The passageways of both are illuminated and open to visitors.

Opening times: see website for details - Admission Charge
Location: The Scores, St Andrews KY16 9AR
Tel: 01334 477196

Map of St. Andrews


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Towns and Villages in Central Scotland

Arbroath, Brechin, Dundee, Forfar, Montrose, Alloa, Clackmannan, Tillicoultry, Tullibody, Armadale, Bathgate, Bo'ness, Broxburn, Dunbar, East Linton, Haddington, Livingston, North Berwick, Tranent, Whitburn, Cupar, Dunfermline, Glenrothes, Kirkcaldy, St. Andrews, Arniston, Bonnyrigg, Edinburgh, Blairgowrie, Callander, Crieff, Coupar Angus, Dunkeld, Kincardine, Kinross, Milnathort, Perth, Pitlochry, Rattray, Alva, Bridge of Allan, Denny, Grangemouth, Kilsyth, Falkirk, Stirling

Attractions in Central Scotland


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