Edinburgh and the Lothians Travel Guide

Edinburgh and the Lothians Sights

High Kirk of St. Giles (St Giles' Cathedral)

  • High St. Map It
  • Old Town
  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

Published 05/04/2017

Fodor's Review

St. Giles, which lies about one-third of the way along the Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle, is one of the city's principal churches. However, don't expect a rival to Paris's Notre Dame or London's Westminster Abbey; it's more like a large parish church than a great European cathedral. There has been a church here since AD 854, although most of the present structure dates from either 1120 or 1829, when the church was restored.

The tower, with its stone crown 161 feet above the ground, was completed between 1495 and 1500. Inside the church stands a life-size statue of the Scot whose spirit still dominates the place—the great religious reformer and preacher John Knox. But the most elaborate feature is the Chapel of the Order of the Thistle, built onto the southeast corner of the church in 1911 for the exclusive use of Scotland's only chivalric order, the Most Ancient and Noble Order of the Thistle. It bears the belligerent national motto "nemo me impune lacessit" ("No one provokes me with impunity"). Look out for the carved wooden angel playing bagpipes.

Sight Information


High St., Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH1 1RE, Scotland

Map It



Sight Details:

  • Free; suggested donation £3; photography permit £2

Published 05/04/2017


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