Located right on the Royal Mile, the St Giles Cathedral, in Edinburgh, is a historical building famous for its colorful stained glass, crown spire and heavily decorated Thistle Chapel. Have a tour and plan your visit:
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PLANNING TIPS - St Giles Edinburgh Cathedral
How to get to St Giles Edinburgh Cathedral
- The St Giles' Cathedral Edinburgh is located in the heart of the old town, on the Royal Mile between the Edinburgh Castle and the Holyroodhouse Palace
Visiting the St Giles Edinburgh Cathedral
- St Giles Cathedral Opening Times in Summer: 9am to 7pm on weekdays, 9am to 5pm on Saturdays, 1pm to 5pm on Sundays
- St Giles Cathedral Opening times in Winter (Oct to Apr): 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday - 1pm to 5pm Sundays
- Check for any changes to the schedule on their official website
- Entrance is free but if you visit the Thistle Chapel, a donation is recommended
- There is a shop inside the cathedral
- Photos are only allowed if you purchase a permit. It is £2. And you get a sticker to show you are allowed to get pictures.
- There are volunteer guide conducting tours on request
Edinburgh has 2 Cathedrals:
- St Giles Cathedral, also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh - some of its oldest parts supposedly date back to 1124. It was rebuilt during the 14th century. It is not formally the cathedral as it is the principal place of worship of the Church of Scotland. But it used to be during the 17th century.
- St Mary's Cathedral was built in the late 19th century. It is located in the New town and home to the Bishop of Edinburgh.
St Giles Cathedral from the Outside
As you walk down the Royal Mile in central Edinburgh. It is impossible to miss the cathedral. It is not the most impressive building from the outside.
What stands out is the crown spire. It stands at just under 50 meters in height (the lantern being at 43m). It is only 60 meters in length.
The entrance is traditionally sculpted although just around the door. The rest of the facade is rather neutral.
Visiting St. Giles Edinburgh
Inside this is not the most impressive cathedral. But the blue-colored ceiling and the colorful stained glass windows (see later) make up for it.
It did not have my tripod so pictures are not the best, but it gives you an idea.
There are a lot of flags in the St Giles' Cathedral Edinburgh but I am still not sure why. Should have asked...
Stained Glass is St Giles Cathedral
One of the best features of the St Giles Edinburgh Cathedral is the stained glass. All windows are very colorful with many different scenes including Scottish Saints. They are used as a narrative to help illustrate Bible story. Most of the windows are from the 20th century.
The Organ in St Giles Edinbrugh Cathedral
One of the particularity of the St Giles Cathedral is the organ.
Built in 1992, it was set up so that you can walk behind and discover the inside of the instrument. Just go towards the red wooden panel and press the button at the top for the inside to illuminate.
The most heavily decorated part of the St Giles Edinburgh Cathedral is the Thistle Chapel.
It is dedicated to the most ancient order of the Thistle, the order of Chivalry. It was built in 1911.
Decor is made of wood, colorful stained glasses and a sculpted ceiling.
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