St Andrews Castle, Scotland – The Episcopal Palace For 400 Years

A few hundred metres along the craggy coastline from St Andrews Cathedral sits the remains of St Andrews Castle. It was built on a headland, projecting into St Andrews Bay and protected by steep cliffs that run along two sides, as well as a great ditch cut through the solid bedrock to the south and west.

Little remains of original castle, which was the St Andrews Episcopal Palace for 400 years. As well as being the main residence of the bishops, and later the archbishops, of St Andrews, the castle has also served as a fortress and a prison. Throughout its history, it was also the setting for many important events, including James I’s Christmas celebrations in 1425, and is thought to be the birthplace of James III in 1452.

The castle was always intended to impress and the south side, facing the town, housed the main entrance, contained within the imposing fore tower. The entrance was moved to its current location during the time of Bishop Walter Traiil (1385-1401). The impressive front that can be seen today was built in the time of Archbishop Hamleton (1546-71) and once displayed his coat of arms.

Today, the Fore Tower contains some of the castle’s earliest surviving stonework, which is thought to belong to the original castle of the 1100s.


  • Information signs at St Andrews Castle
  • Official Souvenir Guide: St Andrews Castle, Cathedral and Historic Burgh

9 thoughts on “St Andrews Castle, Scotland – The Episcopal Palace For 400 Years

  • December 13, 2017 at 9:27 am

    Is the round stone wall the entrance to the bottle neck dungeon ?

    • Profile gravatar of Uncover Travel
      December 24, 2017 at 8:38 am

      Actually the bottleneck dungeon is on the other side, in front of the sea. It is also the subject of our next post! 🙂

  • December 13, 2017 at 10:50 am

    It is quite an impressive ruin give where it sits, with the road on one side and the water on the other. Thank you so much for this post. I live about 13 miles away

      • December 24, 2017 at 10:50 am

        Yes it does. Secret tunnels and everything. Very turbulent times this castle saw xxx

  • December 20, 2017 at 10:56 am

    I’m going to Scotland for the holidays! It’ll be rainy and dark, but I think I might have to make a trip here anyway!

    • Profile gravatar of Uncover Travel
      December 22, 2017 at 11:04 am

      Yes, you definitely should! I imagine it would be even more dramatic in the winter!

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St Andrews Castle, Scotland – The Episcopal Palace For 400 Years

by Uncover Travel time to read: 1 min
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