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20 January 2023

St Rule’s Tower Reopens to the Public

The historic tower is once again accessible to visitors following repairs, Historic Environment Scotland announced

An aerial photoof St Andrews Cathedral at St Andrews, Fife showing the now reopened St Rule's Tower.

Visitors to St Andrews can once again enjoy access to the town’s highest vantage point.  

St. Rule’s Tower has now reopened to visitors, after temporary access restrictions were put in place by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) to carry out essential high level masonry work, in the face of accelerating climate change,  

The result of ongoing risk assessment and sample surveys, the High Level Masonry Programme, run by HES is assessing the impact of climate change on a number of historic sites across Scotland as well as the scale of deterioration caused by several other factors, including the materials used in the building’s construction, its age and physical location. Whilst this is not an issue unique to Scotland, HES is believed to be amongst the first heritage managers to approach it in this way, with the results shared with peer organisations.  

St Rule’s Tower is the latest historic site to reopen following inspection, with ongoing work taking place at several sites across Scotland. HES has completed detailed, tactile inspections at 25 sites across the country since May, with a further 13 due for completion by Spring 2023.   

Last summer, part of the site was reopened to visitors with an access route put in place through the grounds of St Andrews Cathedral to provide access to the graves of famous golfers including Old and Young Tom Morris before St Andrews hosted The Open as well as to the museum and its important treasures, and exhibition.  

Further inspection and repairs were required at St Rule’s Tower, built in the 11th century, a structure that pre-dates the cathedral itself. From the top of the tower, you can see right across the cathedral precinct, across the town, the castle and out over the sea and countryside. Ladders between wooden floors inside the tower were originally the only way to get to the top, but a stone staircase was added in the 18th century which visitors use to this day.

Craig Mearns, Director of Operations at HES, said:

"I am delighted to announce the reopening of St Rule’s Tower at St Andrews Cathedral following essential restrictions that were put in place for high level masonry inspections and subsequent repairs. 

We know how important it is to be able to offer visitors the opportunity to visit and engage with these historical sites and are working as quickly as we can to carry out these necessary inspections. It’s wonderful to open these doors and to know that visitors will once again be able to look out across St Andrews from the highest point in the town.”

St Rule's Tower will be open Fri to Sun, 10am to 4pm., from Friday 20 January. For more information and to book tickets visit historyawaits.scot

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES) 

  • We are the lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. We will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.
  • Historic Scotland, Scran, Canmore, The National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP), The Engine Shed, Stirling Castle and Edinburgh Castle are sub-brands of HES.
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For further information, please contact:

Laura Ely
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
Mobile: 07221 959 962