Beginning of main content
Trip Type
Flight 1
Flight 2
Flight 3
Flight 4
Flight 5
Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) travel advisories, some destinations may be unavailable for certain dates. Find out more.

Search over 1 million properties and 550 airlines worldwide

Members save 10% more on select hotels, cars, activities and vacation rentals. Sign up.

Free cancellation on most hotels. Because flexibility matters.

St. Giles' Cathedral

See stunning artwork, beautiful chapels, poignant memorials and musical performances at this ancient place of worship.

For more than 600 years, the crowned spire of St. Giles’ Cathedral has been a prominent feature of Edinburgh’s skyline.

St. Giles’ was founded as a Catholic place of worship in 1120 and switched to Protestantism after the Scottish church severed ties with Rome and the pope in 1560. It was recognized as a cathedral from the 17th century. The landmark spire was a late 15th-century addition.

St Giles’ Cathedral is the official Church of Scotland and the Mother Church of Presbyterianism. It’s named after the patron saint of beggars and disabled people.

The most elaborate part of the cathedral is the Thistle Chapel, the spiritual home of The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle. This is an order of chivalry with roots in the Middle Ages. Take your time to study the decorative and highly detailed interior with its oak carvings, ornate stonework and distinctly Scottish features such as angels with bagpipes.

The cathedral has many memorials to distinguished Scots and Scottish soldiers. They include a bronze memorial to the writer Robert Louis Stevenson and a statue to the Protestant reformer John Knox.

Try to time your visit with a musical performance. The cathedral has an extensive schedule of lunchtime concerts, organ recitals and choral pieces. Many are free. Visit the cathedral’s website for details.

Volunteer guides are available to answer questions and can conduct free guided tours on request. If you want to take photographs inside the building you’ll need a permit. These can be obtained for a small fee at the information desks at the Thistle Chapel and the main West Entrance.

St. Giles’ Cathedral is located on The Royal Mile in Edinburgh’s Old Town. It’s open to visitors every day of the year except after the mid-morning service on Christmas Day, December 26, and January 1 and 2. There are different opening times at different times of the year; for details check the cathedral’s website.


Guide to Exploring around St. Giles' Cathedral


Map

Best Lodging Options Near St. Giles' Cathedral

See all 3,543 Properties near St. Giles' Cathedral
The Balmoral Hotel
The Balmoral Hotel

The Balmoral Hotel

1 Princes Street, Edinburgh, Scotland
     
    5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in New Town, this luxury hotel is steps from Waterloo Place and Princes Street. George Street and Edinburgh Dungeon are also within 5 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley Station is only a 4-minute walk and Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 24 minutes.

    The Scotsman Hotel
    The Scotsman Hotel

    The Scotsman Hotel

    20 North Bridge, Edinburgh, Scotland
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Old Town, this boutique hotel is steps from City Art Centre, Princes Street, and Royal Mile. Edinburgh Dungeon and Real Mary King's Close are also within 5 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley Station is only a 2-minute walk and Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 28 minutes.

      Novotel Edinburgh Centre
      Novotel Edinburgh Centre

      Novotel Edinburgh Centre

      80 Lauriston Place, Edinburgh, Scotland
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Old Town, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of The Meadows, Grassmarket, and Royal Mile. University of Edinburgh and Usher Hall are also within 10 minutes. Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 15 minutes by foot and Edinburgh Waverley Station is 17 minutes.

        ibis Edinburgh Centre Royal Mile – Hunter Square
        ibis Edinburgh Centre Royal Mile – Hunter Square

        ibis Edinburgh Centre Royal Mile – Hunter Square

        6 Hunter Square, Edinburgh, Scotland
           
          3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Old Town, this hotel is steps from City Chambers, Royal Mile, and Princes Street. Real Mary King's Close and St. Giles' Cathedral are also within 5 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley Station is only a 3-minute walk and Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 28 minutes.

          Stay Central
          Stay Central

          Stay Central

          139 Cowgate, Edinburgh, Scotland
             
            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Old Town, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Royal Mile, Princes Street, and National Museum of Scotland. University of Edinburgh and National Gallery of Scotland are also within 10 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley Station is 6 minutes by foot and Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 22 minutes.

            Kick Ass Greyfriars (18+ hostel)
            Kick Ass Greyfriars (18+ hostel)

            Kick Ass Greyfriars (18+ hostel)

            37-39 Cowgate, Edinburgh, Scotland
               
              2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Old Town, this hostel is steps from Greyfriars Kirk, Grassmarket, and National Museum of Scotland. Royal Mile and Princes Street are also within 5 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley Station is 8 minutes by foot and Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 20 minutes.

              Grassmarket hotel
              Grassmarket hotel

              Grassmarket hotel

              94-96 Grassmarket, Edinburgh, Scotland
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Old Town, this hotel is steps from Witchery Tours, Grassmarket, and The Hub. Royal Mile and Princes Street are also within 5 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley Station is 9 minutes by foot and Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 19 minutes.

                Hilton Edinburgh Carlton ¥7,123
                Hilton Edinburgh Carlton

                Hilton Edinburgh Carlton

                19 North Bridge, Edinburgh, Scotland
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Old Town, this eco-friendly hotel is steps from City Art Centre, Princes Street, and Royal Mile. Edinburgh Dungeon and Real Mary King's Close are also within 5 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley Station is only a 2-minute walk and Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 27 minutes.