Each stone of St Andrews Cathedral is a portal to the past, reminding onlookers of a different time when this holy place was the main stomping ground of the Medieval Catholic Church in Scotland.
Although now a mere shadow of its former self, this ruined Roman Catholic cathedral, located in St Andrews, Fife, was built in 1158 as the largest church ever to been constructed in Scotland during its time. Construction went on for over a century.
Following the demise of the west end of the building (due to a treacherous storm), the damaged parts were rebuilt during 1272 until 1279, with the cathedral’s dedication occurring in 1318 at the hands of King Robert I. The year 1378 saw additional damage from a fire. In its heyday, St Andrews Cathedral sported six turrets and a central tower.
As the headquarters of the Scottish Medieval Catholic Church, the cathedral served as the seat of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and the Bishops and Archbishops of St Andrews. According to legend, St Regulus, also known as St Rule, is responsible for delivering St Andrew’s relics to this pocket of Scotland from Patras, Greece.
Standing tall amidst the ruined remains of St Andrews Cathedral is St Rule’s Tower, a notable landmark and tower of grey sandstone ashlar — it sports striking views across St Andrews and Fife. This tower actually frequented the grounds before the cathedral and is what’s left of the 11th century church created to keep St Andrew’s relics. A guiding beacon for pilgrims in search of the Apostle’s relics, the tower transformed into a temporary space of undisturbed worship the moment cathedral construction began.
Operations continued as normal until 1559 when the Scottish Reformation resulted in the abolition of Catholic Mass, which then led to the ransacking of the cathedral. Eventually, the place was subjected to abandonment in 1561, causing it to fall into a derelict state of decay.
By the late 16th century, chunks of the leftover ruins were whisked away from the site following the collapse of the centre tower and the north wall. In 1826, the ruins finally received adequate attention. Today, St Andrews Cathedral is in the custody of Historic Scotland and open for endless exploration along with a museum.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.