Results 1-8of 8 Reviews
Perth, Scotland, United Kingdom
December 29, 2009
From journal St Andrews
by Red Mezz
Inverness, Scotland, United Kingdom
January 29, 2008
From journal A Local's Essential Scottish Castle Tour...
May 9, 2007
In a country utterly filled with castles and ruins and the grandeur of old stone battlements hanging precariously on the edge of rocky cliffs, St. Andrews Castle easily holds its own. The remains of this castle which was used as the main residence for bishops and archbishops of St. Andrews as early as 1200 AD still stand amazingly picturesque on the edge of the coastline on the shores of St. Andrews. Aside from its stunningly beautiful profile - with the castle rising up out over the edge of the cliffs with the sea crashing into it, and the hills of the lowlands in the distance - this was the place of some of the more important events in Scottish history. Like all of St. Andrews, the castle which houses its bishops became the centre point for a lot of religious activity in Scotland, and being such, was the target of many invasions during the wars of Independence. What remains of the castle today is not the original structure, it has been rebuilt many times over the years through various wars and invasions. The structure still standing was probably built around 1400. But that in no way diminishes the feel of antiquity that is impossible to miss in the remaining stone, and when you see its location and solid building it is easy to see that it was built with 'defending itself' in mind. In my time in the British Isles I've had the opportunity to see, visit, and photograph many castles. Some spectacular and other's fairly ordinary. If for nothing but the surrounding setting and the stunning outline, I would have to rank St. Andrews high on my list of most beautiful Scottish castles. As most other attractions in St. Andrews, it too caters nicely to those with or without a budget for spending. Some castles, I have found, are hardly worth driving to if you can't afford to get in, as the view is obscured or simply not worth photographing. But St. Andrews is perfectly set up to enjoy - even if you can't afford (or are not inclined to pay) the entrance fee. Having said that, it is a very reasonable fee of £5, (and for £7 you can gain entrance to both the castle and the cathedral, which is very reasonable indeed.)
The immense history of the place may well leave you intrigued to see the detailed interior of the castle, but if not it is still very easy to enjoy from its Eastward view on the costal path. Stroll through the ruins of St. Andrew's cathedral and graveyards until you come to a path on the left hand side of the wall. Step out onto a walking path that runs the length of the coast down to the stone pier. A quick glance to your left and you can see the stunning profile of these castle remains. Take photos until your heart is content! This is a stunning spot, and easily worth a stroll to see.
From journal Easter on the Green, a St Andrews Holiday Weekend
February 15, 2007
Like playing golf, you have not truly been to St. Andrews if you haven't visited both the castle and cathedral ruins there. Miss them, and you miss a bit of Scottish history.
Built in the 1100s, around 1200, the castle was adopted as the main residence of the bishops and archbishops of St. Andrews, making it the principal administrative centre of the Scottish Church and the setting for some of the key events in Scottish religious history. It also served as a prison for the bishop's enemies.
Start the visit with the taped narration and displays at the Vistor Centre, then walk over the bridge entrance into the castle's sign-posted grounds. It was fun playing at being a medieval maiden from a window opening in the one mostly remaining wall.hat's a castle without a dungeon and hidden passages? This one's got both chilling underground artifacts. The bottle dungeon was dug 22 feet down with only one narrow bottleneck entrance into which prisoners were lowered. Escape was not possible. The entrance is now grated over so no one falls in. It looked very scary and I could only imagine being stuck down there with big, filthy rats!
The other feature is the Countermine. During a long siege in 1546, a determined effort to undermine the walls of the castle via a spacious tunnel large enough to take pack animals was intercepted, after several false starts, by the defenders. They dug a low, narrow, and twisting countermine through the rock that eventually broke into the mine itself. Visitors are able to make their way down the countermine and into the mine, though it's not somewhere for those who are claustrophobic, as I am. I tried and couldn't bring myself to go down. My husband was able to adopt a crab-walk stance allowing him to go down the slanted tunnel, though he did get his pants a bit dirty. If you have small children, I'd keep an eye on them here or they just might pop down the tunnel before you know it.
Since the castle ruins overlook the sea, it is worth it to walk (climb) down to the little beach at the base of it. I found lovely surf-worn stones and sea glass that look almost like gems to collect.
From journal St. Andrews - Home of Golf and a wee bit of Scottish History
by Taylor Shelby
Charleston, South Carolina
March 15, 2005
After leaving the welcome center, you can cross the moat and go into the actual ruins of the castle. The castle was the residence for the Archbishop of St. Andrews, the most powerful clergyman in the Country. It was built here sometime around 1200. It was at this castle, in 1306, that the Archbishop crowned Robert the Bruce, declaring Scots' independence from England and defying the powerful Edward I.
This castle was also home to the grisly murder of Cardinal Beaton, the powerful leader who went head-to-head with the Protestant Reformation in Scotland. The conspirators disguised themselves as bilders and sneaked into the castle early in the morning, surprising the prelate asleep in bed. His body was burned, hung from the walls for a few days, then pickled and thrown into the chilling bottle dungeon.
The castle was taken over by the Protestants, led by John Knox, and was eventually retaken by the Scottish Queen, Marie de Guise. Knox was imprisoned and sentenced to spend some time rowing in the French Galleys. During this seige, there was a network of mines and counter-mines dug to try and get into the castle. You can actually crawl down into them, which is quite memorable (read: terrifying!).
Today, the castle is very much in ruins. You can make out the shape and, in a few instances, climb up to the upper floors, but it is hard to get a sense of what it actually looked like. You can, however, imagine how terrible it must have been to spend a cold, howling, Scottish winter cooped up in that place. No, thanks!
Admission to the castle is 4 pounds, and you can get a joint ticket with the cathedral to save a few pounds.
From journal The Mystique of St. Andrews
dundee, United Kingdom
November 15, 2002
From journal Out n About In St Andrews
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
June 23, 2002
From journal St Andrews, Without the Golf
March 4, 2001
The recently renovated visitor centre is fascinating, offering a good quick history of the area, and Scotland in general.
The castle is beautiful, located on a cliff over the ocean. You can see an example of a medieval bottle dungeon, hollowed out of solid rock. Prisoners would be lowered part of the way, then dropped, and the only way out was death.
My traveling companion found the tunnels particularly interesting. The castle was particularly well-situated to withstand siege, so at one time an attaching army decided to dig a tunnel under the walls, planning to come up in the courtyard and thus attack from the inside.
However, those in the castle foiled their plan by digging counter tunnels (or mines, as the Scottish call them) to intercept. You can see the several false starts- they were trying to intercept based on sound alone, after all. Eventually, they were successful with their counter-mine, and the castle was saved.
From journal More than a golf course