St Giles' Cathedral



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Our View

The dark stonework of the High Kirk of Edinburgh, near the top of the Royal Mile, is forbidding at first sight. The columns inside which support the 49m (160ft) tower with its distinctive crown top are a relic of the 14th-century chapel which occupied the site. The tower itself dates from 1495, and the rest of the church from the 15th and 16th centuries. The cathedral is the mother-church of Presbyterianism in Scotland. Presbyterian reformer John Knox (c1505–72) became minister here in 1559, arguing openly against Mary, Queen of Scots’ attempts to revive the Roman Catholic cause. Inside, the exquisitely carved Thistle Chapel is by architect Robert Lorimer (1864–1929). The body of the great soldier, James Graham, Marquis of Montrose (1612–50) is interred here, and there is a bronze memorial to writer Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–94), who died in Samoa.

St Giles' Cathedral
Royal Mile, EDINBURGH, EH1 1RE


  • Suitable for children of all ages
  • Parking nearby
  • Cafe
  • Facilities: Induction loop, ramps, wheelchair available
Opening times
  • Open all year
  • Opening Times: Open May–Sep, Mon–Fri 9–7, Sat 9–5, Sun 1–5; Oct–Apr, Mon–Sat 9–5, Sun 1–5. Closed 26 Dec and 1-2 Jan

About the area

Discover Edinburgh

Edinburgh is one of Britain’s most spectacular cities and both Old and New Towns have UNESCO World Heritage status. At its heart, the Old Town is a treasury of architecture stretching back to medieval times with its labyrinth of narrow lanes (‘wynds’ or ‘closes’). While the New Town's splendid district of squares, crescents and gardens are surrounded by impressive Georgian town houses.

It isn’t just a magnificent, bustling city, it’s surrounded by countryside – offering visitors the best of both worlds. Dominated by hills and the sea, with the rolling Pentland Hills to the south and the broad expanse of the Firth of Forth estuary to the north, it benefits from a rugged and varied landscape. So much so, the city has its own miniature mountain, Arthur’s Seat, which looms over the Old Town and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, dwarfing even Castle Rock and its crowning fortress, Edinburgh Castle.

A couple of miles east, Portobello is Edinburgh’s seaside area, with a long stretch of golden sand that attracts droves of city dwellers on sunny summer days. 


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