St Giles Cathedral

A church has stood on the site occupied by St Giles Cathedral for around 900 years, although the present building has its origins in the 14th century with extensive restorations carried out during the reign of Queen Victoria, including its distinctive Crown Spire which remains an iconic feature of the city skyline.

St Giles should more accurately be called the High Kirk of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh, as it was only a cathedral in the formal sense – that is, having its own sitting bishop – for just two short periods during the 17th century. At that time, Edinburgh was included as part of the Diocese of St Andrews and records show that the Bishop of St Andrews owned a residence in Edinburgh on the very site of the present development at 123 High Street!

Whilst performing its principal role as a place of worship, St Giles has also become a popular visitor attraction. Of particular interest is the Thistle Chapel, the official chapel of the Order of the Thistle, Scotland’s highest honour awarded on the personal discretion of the reigning Monarch.

The cathedral is also renowned for its magnificent stained glass windows depicting Saints with particular Scottish connections including Saint Giles himself, the medieval hermit adopted as the patron saint of Edinburgh