Religious sites in Scotland
The tiny island of Iona is often described as ‘the Cradle of Scottish Christianity’ and is a popular place to start a journey of discovery into Scotland’s religious heritage. With a restored abbey and carved stone crosses that are over 1,000 years old, this is a place with a very special atmosphere, and a reminder of the religious fervor and artistic achievement of eighth and ninth century Scotland. Be sure to visit the wonderfully carved Kildalton Cross, an eighth century ringed cross on the island of Islay.
Journey through the south west of Scotland where there are many other places of early religious significance. Whithorn, a Christian settlement associated with St Ninian, was founded as early as the fifth century – making Whithorn possibly Scotland’s oldest town.
Throughout Scotland there are places associated with early worship which have their own special ambience – tiny ruined chapels in peaceful settings, such as St Blane’s at the south end of the island of Bute. At the other end of the scale, there are much grander ruins – notably of the four great abbeys of the Scottish Borders – at Melrose, Dryburgh, Jedburgh and Kelso. The story of these influential religious centres is told at Jedburgh Abbey.
Equally picturesque, the time-worn cathedrals such as St Andrews in Fife and Elgin in Moray are well worth a visit. You can also find a fascinating overview of world religions at the St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, close to Glasgow Cathedral in the city.