We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Beautiful Stain Glass Windows”

St Giles' Cathedral
Ranked #40 of 397 things to do in Edinburgh
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: St Giles’ Cathedral is the historic City Church of Edinburgh. With its famed crown spire it stands on the Royal Mile between Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh, it is the Mother Church of Presbyterianism and contains the Chapel of the Order of the Thistle (Scotland’s chivalric company of knights headed by the Queen). Please do not book any tours through TripAdvisor, as they are not endorsed by the cathedral.
Reviewed July 23, 2013

As we were walking along the Royal Mile we came across the lovely St Giles Cathedral. Entry is free (donations welcome) and there is a £2 charge for a camera permit. It is lovely inside with a very interesting pulpit but for us the highlights were the beautiful stain glass windows - each telling a story. Outstanding is all I can say.

There is a shop inside where you can purchase cards, books etc.

Well worth a visit as when walking down the Royal Mile.

Thank zoli18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (5,786)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
  • More languages
All reviews
"stained glass"
in 302 reviews
"royal mile"
in 930 reviews
"take photos"
in 257 reviews
"john knox"
in 129 reviews
"photo permit"
in 85 reviews
"high kirk"
in 63 reviews
"pipe organ"
in 47 reviews
"light a candle"
in 39 reviews
"lovely church"
in 43 reviews
"old church"
in 42 reviews
"worth a visit"
in 165 reviews
"free entry"
in 62 reviews
"gift shop"
in 79 reviews
"lots of history"
in 47 reviews
in 309 reviews
in 356 reviews
in 151 reviews

3,552 - 3,556 of 5,787 reviews

Reviewed July 22, 2013

Been a person of Presbyterian faith, I truly enjoyed the visit to St.Giles and learnt its historical connections with the reformation and the reformer John Knox. However the name of "cathedral" doesn't have its real meaning, since it is a protestant church of Scotland. The visit is a free will donation, but asking £ 2 for photo taking. This Gothic style structure was dated back 14th century and constantly renovated over the years. The Crown Steeple is an unique feature added to the Church. Inside the church, worth of mention are: (1)The Holy Blood Aisle- a monument for James Stewart, Regent of Scotland, was assassinated. He was a friend of John Knox and was buried there. The stained glass windows depict the assassination and funeral sermon by John Knox. (2) A statue of John Knox, leader and preacher of the Scottish reformation, who served the minister from 1559-1572. (3)The Thistle Chapel, a small prestigious, noble place of worship for the Order of Knights of the Thistle (H.M. The Queen is head of the Order) is a place not to be missed during the visit, although Cathedral is asking another £ 2 donation to enter the Chapel. The chapel was built between 1909-1911 designed by Robert Lorimer, with the atmosphere of medieval in mind. inside is decorated with highly ornate finest wood carvings and wood panels, and lists of Order of Knights of the Thistle. An angel playing bagpipes is hidden on the corner of the Chapel, it took some effort for me to located it (walk straight in from the entrance toward the wall, on the upper right corner). There are many decorated stone bosses on the ceiling, one of them carved with the Motto of "Nemo Me Impune Lacessit" ("No One Provokes Me with Impunity"). (4)The Preston Aisle, hung with heraldic banners of Knights of the Thistle, built around 1454, house the relic of St. Giles' arm bone, and is a memorial place for Sir.William Preston.

2  Thank unescotravelbug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 19, 2013

Beautiful cathedral. A must do while walking down the royal mile. Be sure to pay the pound or 2 to get into the Thistle Chapel in the right rear corner of the cathedral.

Thank sofaman61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2013

In the centre of the Royal Mile, a beautiful place to visit, has coffee shop inside. Very interesting, free admission, good gift shop

Thank Diane T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
See more reviews
Reviewed July 17, 2013

Beautiful. I would highly recommend; no charge to enter, however they request a donation. They did have a photography charge of 2 pounds; but I didn't really see anyone buying a permit. I did see people taking photos discreetly. The gift shop was nice too, because you could buy resin castings from the carvings in the church. There was a unicorn one that was particularly pretty, but I settled on the green man. Pricing for these resin carvings was very reasonable, in the 12-20 pound range. The stained glass was stunning. They also had a pianist there playing some old classic songs.

Thank globalnomad12345
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed St Giles' Cathedral also viewed

Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh, Scotland

Been to St Giles' Cathedral? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing