St Andrews Cathedral
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Sun - Sat 10am - 4pm
Medieval Ruins on the Edge of the North SeaOften called, "Scotland's Greatest Cathedral" the now-ruined medieval St. Andrews, overlooking the North Sea in its namesake town, is a splendid sight any time of day or night.
However, in my several days of residence in the town made famous by golf and a royal romance, I preferred to visit during sunrise and at dusk just before sunset. At these times, the cathedral's ruins become a haunting place that's dramatic in a way entirely different from the middle of the day.
Begun in 1160 by Bishop Arnold, work on the cathedral continued for 150 years. This work was twice. First, in 1272, by a storm which blew down the west front; and again between 1296 and 1307 when the first War of Independence against England ravaged Scotland. Eventually dedicated in 1318, in the presence of King Robert I, it was by that time the largest church in Scotland.
Today, little remains of the once-stunning church. However, what is present gives the visitor more than enough to draw an impressive mental image of religious beauty and architectural supremacy.
The ruins are free to visit and as they're located on one end of the town just above the sea wall, I'd recommend following your time with a jaunt down to the ocean. In January, the sunrises are simply spectacular over the ruins and the water just on the other side of the main wall. Plan to somehow time your visit accordingly.