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Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in St Andrews, Scotland

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The small town of St Andrews, situated on the Fife peninsula about 12mi/20km southeast of Dundee, overlooks a long sandy beach. For many sports enthusiasts, St Andrews is the home of golf. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club was founded here in 1754 and since 1897 its members have been recognized internationally as golf's ruling body. Every two years the famous "British Open" championship is held at one of St Andrews' five 18-hole courses (there is one nine-hole course too). The little town also boasts numerous ancient buildings and what is thought to be Scotland's oldest university. The many student bars around College Street and Market Street contribute to the town's lively atmosphere.
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Old Golf Course

Royal and Ancient clubhouse, St Andrews.
The famous "Old Course" (par 72) runs alongside the coast. Originally there were 22 holes, but in 1836 the number was reduced to 18 ("nine out" and "nine home"). With huge "double greens", putts of 100ft/30m or more are sometimes required. Behind the first tee stands the majestic clubhouse of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club - the European headquarters of the sport's governing body.
A new course has also been added, completed in late 1995. The course was designed by Peter Thomson, and is located at Craightoun Park.

British Golf Museum

Golfing enthusiasts should not miss the new British Golf Museum (1990), which documents the history of this home of golf from the Middle Ages to the present day. As well as many historic exhibits, the exhibition shows the development of the golf ball, the club, the rules and the techniques. Detailed information is also given on some of the famous championships and golfing celebrities, starting with Tom Morris (father and son), who in the middle of the 19th century both won the "Open" four times, Harry Vardon, six times winner of the "Open" between 1894 and 1914, Lady Margaret Scott who was Ladies Champion three times at the end of the 19th century, not forgetting Peter Thompson and Nick Faldo, names from the recent past who were both winners of the "British Open" on more than one occasion.
Address: Bruce Embankment, St Andrews KY16 9AB, Scotland

St Andrews Festival

In the middle of February a biennial (1997, 1999...) festival of culture with music, drama, cabaret, films and art exhibitions takes place.

Kate Kennedy Procession

Since 1848 at the end of the spring term, students from St Salvator College have participated in the colorful Kate Kennedy Procession.

Sea Life Centre

Only a short distance away from the British Golf Museum in St Andrews, the Sea Life Centre gives a fascinating insight into the underwater world. Attractions include an aquarium, shark pool, seal enclosure and marine laboratory. The beach cafe with its sea view is a good place to conclude the visit.


Ruins of the cathedral at St Andrews.
St Andrews has played an important part in Scottish ecclesiastical history and this is evident from the wealth of churches and monuments in the town. According to legend St Regulus landed here in the fourth century with the bones of St Andrew - although it now seems more likely that the reliquary actually arrived in the eighth century. Soon the small town was an episcopal see. About 1200, several churches were constructed in the town, including the huge cathedral and also the castle. By the 15th century St Andrews was the center of religious and spiritual power in Scotland and in 1472 it became the seat of the archbishop. Some 335ft/102m in length and 160ft/49m wide, the cathedral (built between 1160 and 1328) was once the largest church in Scotland. Robert I attended the consecration and 200 years later James V and Mary of Guise married here establishing the Franco-Scottish "Auld Alliance". Destroyed in June 1559, the cathedral's stonework was plundered and now only parts of the late Romanesque east front, a section of the west front, the southern side aisle and a gatehouse remain.

St Rule's Tower

The tiny church of St Rule with its original chancel and square tower was built for Augustinian monks between 1127 and 1144 by master craftsmen from Yorkshire.
Address: Longmore House, Salisbury Place, Jedburgh TD8 6JQ, Scotland


A building at St Andrews University.
St Andrews University is both the smallest and oldest of Scotland's seats of learning. It was founded in 1411 by Bishop Henry Wardlaw. The Colleges of St Salvator (1450) and St Leonard (1511) which were combined in 1747 are devoted to the Arts and the Sciences, while St Mary's College, opened by Cardinal Beaton in 1538, serves as the theology faculty. The College Chapel in St Salvator contains the pulpit from Holy Trinity Church in the town where the reformer John Knox first preached. St Leonard's Chapel houses some fine tombstones from the 16th and 17th century and is certainly worth a visit.
A rose bush that Mary Stuart is supposed to have planted near St Mary's College still flowers and the house in South Street where she stayed is now St Leonard's College library.

Lammas Fair

This annual five-day event takes place in early August and is said to be one of Scotland's oldest medieval markets. Traditional events including market stalls, food and drink stalls, concerts, dances and public functions make up most of the fair's program.

Preservation Trust Museum

A museum documenting local history of St Andrews is situated in former fishermen's houses on North Street.
Address: 12 North Street, St Andrews KY16 9PW, Scotland

St Andrews Castle

Castle tower and graveyard at St Andrews.
The remains of the bishop's palace and stronghold (ca. 1200) crown a rock that overlooks the sea. Cardinal Beaton lived here in great luxury until he was murdered by Protestants in 1546. Among the famous prisoners held captive here was John Knox, who was later condemned to work as a slave on a French galley. Interesting features inside the castle include the Bottle Dungeon and the underground escape passage. The Visitor Center relates the full story of the castle and cathedral. About 2mi/3.2km to the southeast lies the bizarre rock formation known as the "Rock and Spindle".
Address: The Scores, St Andrews KY16, Scotland

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