Situated on the Royal Mile, St Giles’ Cathedral, the High
Kirk of Edinburgh is positioned in the heart of the city and is one of
Scotland’s most iconic buildings.
Founded in 1124 by King David I it has gone through a number
of changes in its history from being a Catholic church to being now regarded as
the Mother Church of World Presbyterianism.
St Giles’ is first and foremost a working church but it also
welcomes visitors to experience the history of the building. St Giles plays
host to a variety of concerts, lectures, exhibitions and civic ceremonies
throughout the year and it is worth checking on the cathedral’s website when
these take place.
Entry to the building is free with a suggested donation of
£5, and visitors are welcome to explore the building at their own pace. You can
pick up a Walk –Round Leaflet for £1 at the welcome desk and discover more of
the cathedrals history or take a guided tour for groups of 5 or more can be
booked in advance, otherwise volunteer guides are on hand to answer questions.
A must see is the Thistle Chapel which is home to the Order
of the Thistle, an order of Scottish chivalry. Its intricate neo-gothic
woodwork and stunning gold-leaf ceiling makes it one of Edinburgh’s must-see
hidden gems. Entry to the chapel is free but depends on the availability of the
volunteer guides. Please ask at the Welcome Desk for more details.
If you have time and are visiting the cathedral a Rooftop Tour
is run on a Saturday from 10:30am-4pm and Sunday from 1:30pm -4pm. The tour
takes a maximum of 4 people and the cost is £6 per person. All bookings are
taken on the day, as occasionally depending on the weather etc tours are
cancelled at short notice. For Health and Safety reasons no children under the
age of 8 are allowed and those between the age of 8 and 16 must be supervised
by an adult. The turnpike staircase leading up to the roof is very narrow and
leans over slightly at one point, it is 91 steps up and they are all differing
heights and sizes as a result climbing the Tower may not be suitable to those
with heart conditions, vertigo, claustrophobia, high blood pressure, angina,
breathing problems, poor mobility. etc Due to the nature of the climb up the
tower wearing a comfortable footwear is a must and no large luggage can be
taken up the tower, these can be stored in a locker at your own risk. It is
important to have both hands free to hold the hand rails, there are also some
areas with low head clearance. Once on the roof the gangway is fairly narrow
and has a slight tilt, so if you have a head for heights, this is for you. The view of Edinburgh is worth it.
If after all of that exercise you are feeling a bit peckish
visit the Cathedrals’ café situated below the Cathedral, if offers freshly-
prepared dishes, home-baked cakes and speciality coffees. For those looking for
lunch, there are home –made soups, refreshing salads, deli-filled rolls and hot
Daily Specials. Open Monday – Saturday 9am – 5pm and Sunday 11 am-5pm