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St. Giles' Cathedral
Vacation Travel Guide

St. Giles\\\' Cathedral which includes a city, a church or cathedral and heritage architecture

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.

Top Hotels Close to St. Giles' Cathedral

Courtyard by Marriott Edinburgh
Courtyard by Marriott Edinburgh
4 out of 5
1-3 Baxters Place, Edinburgh, Scotland
The price is $58 per night from May 2 to May 3
Located in New Town, this hotel is steps from Omni Centre Edinburgh, Princes Street, and Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre. George Street and Royal Mile are also within ...
4.5/5Wonderful! (656 reviews)
Spectacular stay and caring staff. We ll be back
"Our stay has been spectacular. The hotel upgraded for free our room so that we would be able to work in optimal conditions from our bedroom. The staff was very caring and lovely. In view of the Covid restrictions, they made all the efforts to accommodate us in the best condition. The room was spacious, ..."

Reviewed on Dec 25, 2020

Courtyard by Marriott Edinburgh
The Scotsman Hotel
The Scotsman Hotel
4 out of 5
20 North Bridge, Edinburgh, Scotland
The price is $171 per night from Apr 28 to Apr 29
Located in Old Town Edinburgh, this boutique hotel is steps from City Art Centre, Princes Street, and Royal Mile. Edinburgh Dungeon and Real Mary King's Close ...
4.5/5Wonderful! (999 reviews)
"Great location! Our room was spacious and comfortable"

Reviewed on Feb 28, 2021

The Scotsman Hotel
The Balmoral Hotel
The Balmoral Hotel
5 out of 5
1 Princes Street, Edinburgh, Scotland
The price is $237 per night from Apr 26 to Apr 27
Located in New Town, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Princes Street and George Street. Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre and Royal Mile are also within ...
4.7/5Exceptional! (997 reviews)
"The customer service is second to none. I stayed for work during the pandemic and they couldn't;t have been more friendly, kind and hostile. I had to eat dinner and breakfast in my room and it wasn't such a hardship because they upgraded me. I would stay again."

Reviewed on Jan 13, 2021

The Balmoral Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Best Lodging Options Near St. Giles' Cathedral

Courtyard by Marriott Edinburgh
Courtyard by Marriott Edinburgh
4 out of 5
1-3 Baxters Place, Edinburgh, Scotland
The price is $58 per night from May 2 to May 3
Courtyard by Marriott Edinburgh
The Scotsman Hotel
The Scotsman Hotel
4 out of 5
20 North Bridge, Edinburgh, Scotland
The price is $171 per night from Apr 28 to Apr 29
The Scotsman Hotel
The Balmoral Hotel
The Balmoral Hotel
5 out of 5
1 Princes Street, Edinburgh, Scotland
The price is $237 per night from Apr 26 to Apr 27
The Balmoral Hotel
Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile
Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile
3.5 out of 5
231 Canongate, Edinburgh, Scotland
The price is $75 per night from Apr 19 to Apr 20
Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile
Novotel Edinburgh Centre
Novotel Edinburgh Centre
4 out of 5
80 Lauriston Place, Edinburgh, Scotland
The price is $77 per night from May 4 to May 5
Novotel Edinburgh Centre
Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh City Centre
Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh City Centre
4 out of 5
80 High Street The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, Scotland
The price is $176 per night from Apr 21 to Apr 22
Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh City Centre
Hilton Edinburgh Carlton
Hilton Edinburgh Carlton
4 out of 5
19 North Bridge, Edinburgh, Scotland
The price is $105 per night from Apr 18 to Apr 19
Hilton Edinburgh Carlton
Apex Grassmarket Hotel
Apex Grassmarket Hotel
4 out of 5
31-35 Grassmarket, Edinburgh, Scotland
The price is $134 per night from May 2 to May 3
Apex Grassmarket Hotel
Cheval Old Town Chambers
Cheval Old Town Chambers
5 out of 5
Roxburgh's Court, Off 323 High Street, Edinburgh, Scotland
The price is $176 per night from Apr 20 to Apr 21
Cheval Old Town Chambers
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.