Like a tapestry of epiphanies embellishing the mind, the buildings in St Andrews are all part of its charm. From ancient ruins to university quads, here is the most beautiful architecture that adds to the allure of Scotland’s favourite bubble.
As the university’s star collegiate chapel, it’s only fitting that St Salvator’s is beautiful in looks and ambience. Founded in 1450 by Bishop James Kennedy, this holy place has been frequented by hordes of students and spiritual seekers ever since. The string of pointed arches and dramatic essence are concurrent with the late Gothic style, and the stained-glass windows tell many a captivating visual narrative. Known for melodic masterpieces, St Salvator’s is Scotland’s only university chapel that counts six bells hung for full-circle change ringing. The chapel underwent refurbishments from the 1600s through the 20th century.
Whatever the weather, Rufflets St Andrews hotel never looked better! A sight for sore eyes, this pukka mansion was built in 1924 and boasts beautiful whitewashed walls caressed with swathes of cascading ivy that add oodles of charm. Between the refreshing tones of deep green and romantic red, the seasonal ebb and flow of the ivy always mimics that of a fairy tale and are enhanced by the window panes that punctuate the building and the 10 acres of impeccably manicured gardens.
St Salvator’s Hall is one of the many impressive St Andrews University halls of residence, which span the architectural gamut from brutalist to Gothic revival. Perhaps among the prettiest, St Salvator’s Hall, or Sallies, has Gothic idiosyncrasies and English domestic appeal. It’s like something J.K. Rowling would conjure up to complement Hogwarts. Frequented by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge back in their uni days, this building boasts myriads of striking windows and immaculate stone.
A striking structure, St Rule’s Tower plays a prevalent role in the colourful history of St Andrews. Located amidst the ancient ruins of St Andrews Cathedral—but built before the cathedral—the tower once hosted the relics of St Andrew. It was also a temporary house of worship whilst the cathedral was under construction. Still standing strong since its days as a beacon for pilgrims, St Rule’s is considered notably tall for its time and serves as a substantial land and sea mark. The views atop this tower are the stuff of dreams.
St Mary’s College is an architectural slice of history and overall feast for the eyes and soul. Founded in the late 1530s, this part of St Andrews University plays host to the School of Divinity. Highlights include an array of breath-taking 16th century buildings, including The Roundel, the age-old renowned King James Library and a thorn tree that was supposedly planted by Mary, Queen of Scots.
As a building of great magnitude and Scotland’s largest ever church, it’s no surprise that the ruins of St Andrews Cathedral are as awe-inspiring as its size. With each ancient brick comes a fleeting glimpse of its glory days as the seat of the Medieval Scottish Catholic Church and the more sinister times that led to destruction and turmoil during the Scottish Reformation. It’s hard to know what’s more mind reeling—the picturesque rays of light that dot across the arches or the fact that it dates back to the 12th century.