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“A mine of history”
Review of St Andrews Castle

St Andrews Castle
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Shore Excursion to the Kingsbarns Distillery and St Andrews from South...
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Private St Andrews Day Tour from Edinburgh
Ranked #6 of 54 things to do in St Andrews
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: St Andrews Castle is the ruins of the castle of the Archbishops of St Andrews, dating in part from the 13th century. On a headland to the north of St Andrews stand the ruins of the city's castle, the main residence of the bishops and archbishops of St Andrews and the focal point of the church in medieval Scotland. Explore the underground 16th-century siege mine and counter-mine, and the 'bottle dungeon', one of the most infamous castle prisons in medieval Britain, which was cut out of the solid rock. John Knox and George Wishart may have been imprisoned in this dank and airless space, and this is where its believed Cardinal Beaton’s body was kept when he was murdered in 1546. Join ticket with St. Andrews Cathedral available - Adult £9 Child £5.40 Concession £7
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
57 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“A mine of history”
Reviewed 18 May 2014

Like pretty much all ruined Scottish castles, history abounds.
There has been a castle on this site since the 12th century, although, totally rebuilt and rebuilt again over the next couple of centuries, due to various tiffs and changes of hands between the Scots and English, it has been pretty much in a state of ruin since the 17th.
It's well worth a visit, just for the views over the North Sea, as you imagine what it would have been like in all of its former glory. There is an excellent exhibition in the visitor centre, before you enter the castle, which should be wandered round at a leisurely pace, so that by the time you're inside you know the history, and what you're looking at.
But what really sets it apart from everywhere else is the bottle dungeon, and the tunnel. Fascinating. As far as I know, you won't see these elsewhere on your travels.
The bottle dungeon is an inescapable dank hole cut out of solid rock below the north-west tower, which housed local petty criminals in the main. Once in, there was no way out until they let you out. It must have been pretty horrific, but makes for an interesting ponder now! I bet they didn't get many repeat offenders in there!
But the best bit is the mine tunnel, which was dug from outside the castle in attempt to capture/destroy it during one of Scotland's many religion rooted skirmishes, to be met by a counter mine dug by the defenders, which intercepted the attack. This can be explored by visitors. Again, read all about it in the exhibition before you go in, and think about the work involved to carve through that solid rock, pretty much because different people believed in marginally differing flavours of gods.
Overall - St Andrews is a brilliant town anyway, and this should be part of anyone's visit.

Visited May 2014
Thank LordKM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Vashon, Washington
Level 6 Contributor
404 reviews
159 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 118 helpful votes
“Beautiful Location”
Reviewed 11 May 2014

The Castle is beautifully set on a cliff looking out at the North sea. There is a brief exhibit prior to accessing the castle that gives a good overview of the history and a mine and counter-mine which is well worth exploring (not for the claustrophobic). While not in my top favorite castles in Scotland, I would recommend visiting if you are in St. Andrews. There is no dedicated parking but North Street has on-street parking within a 5 minute walk.

Visited May 2014
Thank Adam S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Spalding, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
289 reviews
164 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
“St Andrews Castle”
Reviewed 26 April 2014

Built in 1200 then rebuilt in 1390 this castle has been a fortress, prison and a palace over the years. It stands largely in ruins after being battered by 400 years of wars. It has a visitors centre which shows how people lived many years ago. Some of the stones from the walls were used to make up the harbour wall. It is open all year round to visitors. Just up the road 5 min is the Cathedral so both can be visited in a morning.

Visited April 2014
1 Thank smart5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Better than expected!”
Reviewed 22 April 2014 via mobile

Cold miserable day - but warm welcome into the centre with the staff who fussed over the kids.

The mine was brilliant but tricky. We managed with our 4 year old but not the 2. All in all the kids loved it, but we stayed about an hour so bear that in mind when pricing.

Thank WishIdreadthis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
69 reviews
42 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“St Andrews is a beautiful place :-)”
Reviewed 22 April 2014

I was pleasantly surprised by St Andrews, I just thought golf, but the town is stunning, with the castle and the abbey ruins, not to mention the beautiful beach. I would recommend a visit here if you are in the area :-)

Visited April 2014
Thank TAE2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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