Spooky sights in St Andrews

St Andrews is a town full of history and legend and with the oldest university in Scotland and more than 500 years of ruins, there’s no shortage of ghosts and spooky tales.

If you enjoy a good ghost story or a visit to a haunted house, there’s plenty at St Andrews to keep you busy whether you visit during Halloween or at any other time of the year.

Although you’ll find plenty of ghostly myths around the town, St Andrews’ Cathedral is brimming over with apparitions and sightings of other worldly visitors. Here’s a look at who you might bump into – sometimes quite literally – during a visit.

The Tower

st andrews cathedral and tower

St Andrews Cathedral and Tower

A visit to the Cathedral is never complete without venturing up the stone staircase which winds its way to the top for some of the most spectacular views.

In the summer months, the Tower is likely to be heaving with visitors making their way up and down but in the winter, the winds can leave it with an almost desolate feel.

If a kindly soul offers to help you make the ascent, take a close look before moving on as it’s likely to be the spirit of a former Prior, Robert de Montrose.

The Prior was very fond of climbing up to the tower and enjoying starlit views, but after disciplining some of the monks for bad behaviour, one of them crept up behind him and stabbed him in the back before flinging him off the edge.

These days Prior Robert can be seen offering his help and concern to make sure everyone makes it up the staircase without injury.

The White Lady

Arguably the most famous spook to walk the grounds, the White Lady is well known and renowned for her ethereal beauty.

Just east of the cathedral’s east gable stands a wall-tower two storeys high; the White Lady is often seen gliding soundlessly near here. Although she’s never caused harm to visitors, historically locals had avoided visiting for fear of seeing her late at night.

Her exact identity is not known but she’s thought to be the spirit of a young woman who was sealed into the walls of this haunted tower. The body found in the walls in 1868 was of a female wearing a flowing white dress, just like the apparitions which had previously been reported.

Most often seen in October and November, the White Lady seems to most often reappear when there’s a sea mist on the horizon.

The murdered Archbishop

The Murder of Archbishop Sharpe on Magus Muir near St. Andrews, 1679

The Murder of Archbishop Sharpe on Magus Muir near St. Andrews, 1679

The ghostly goings-on don’t dissipate once you step outside because St Andrews is a town steeped in history wherever you go.

Between 1661 and 1679, the Archbishop of St Andrews was James Sharp, his reign only coming to an end when he was savagely murdered. Pulled from a coach on the streets of St Andrews and stabbed to death in front of his daughter, he was given an honourable burial beneath a monument in the Holy Trinity Church. However, in 1849 the tomb was opened and discovered to be empty a fact which to this day remains a mystery…

If you’re out on the streets of St Andrews late at night, particularly along Strathkinness Road, keep your ears peeled for the sound of hooves. There have been many reports of the Archbishop’s deathly coach, pulled by four black horses as they glide past in an echo of the past.


St Andrews is full of culture and history, with many beautiful ruins and buildings to visit. Whether you’re there for a weekend or for a longer holiday, expect to find yourself falling in love with this beautiful part of Scotland.

Of course, before you begin planning your itinerary, you’re going to need somewhere to stay. Look no further than St Andrews Coach Houses. We offer luxury self catered accommodation with beautiful aesthetics and all of the amenities you’ll need. For more information about our coach houses or to enquire about booking one please call us on 01334 477593.


Image Credits: Linda Cammack and Wikipedia

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