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St. Giles Cathedral Tours

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6 Reviews
St. Giles Cathedral
The official church of the Church of Scotland, St. Giles Cathedral and its famous crown spire tower over the Royal Mile in Edinburgh’s Old Town. With a history stretching back over 900 years, St. Giles is renowned for its beautiful stained glass windows, ornate Thistle Chapel, and busy concert calendar.
 
The Basics

The interior of St. Giles Cathedral, also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh, is spacious and filled with nearly 200 statues and memorials to distinguished figures from Scottish history, including John Knox, the Protestant leader of the Scottish Reformation, who preached here. Other highlights include exquisite stained glass windows, the intricate Thistle Chapel, and one of the most impressive organs in Europe, with 4,000 pipes. The church holds numerous musical performances throughout the year, with a number of free events that are popular with locals and visitors alike.
 
Many Edinburgh city tours include a visit to St. Giles Cathedral, along with other top attractions along the Royal Mile such as Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyrood House. Take a hop-on hop-off bus tour to visit all the top sites at your leisure, or opt for a fully customizable private tour.
 
Things to Know Before You Go
  • St. Giles Cathedral is free to enter, but donations are encouraged.
  • Purchase a permit to take photos inside the church.
  • This is an active place of worship; be respectful and do not take photos during services.
  • Guided rooftop tours are available and must be booked the same day.
  • On-site facilities include restrooms, a café, and a gift shop.
  • Most of St. Giles is wheelchair accessible, with the exception of the Thistle Chapel and the café.
 
How to Get There
St. Giles Cathedral is located at Parliament Square, along the Royal Mile, in Old Town, Edinburgh. The city’s main train and bus terminal (Waverley Station) is also within walking distance of St. Giles.
 
When to Get There
St. Giles Cathedral is open daily, with slightly shorter visiting hours in the winter (October to April). Regular services are held daily at noon, with more services on Sundays. The church is usually closed around Christmas and New Years. Musical performances are held throughout the year. It’s best to check their calendar for the latest schedule.
 
Thistle Chapel
At the southeast corner of the cathedral, find the Thistle Chapel, the private chapel of the Knights of the Thistle, the only Scottish chivalric order. There are stalls for the 16 knights, one sovereign stall, and two royal stalls. The interior is filled with intricate carvings, including those of an angel playing bagpipes.
Address: St Giles Cathedral, High St, Edinburgh, Scotland
Admission: Varies
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60 Tours and Activities to Experience St. Giles Cathedral

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Historical Walking Tour with Optional Skip the Line Entry to Edinburgh Castle

Historical Walking Tour with Optional Skip the Line Entry to Edinburgh Castle

star-4.5
See the best of medieval yet modern Edinburgh on this walking tour with optional skip-the-line access to Edinburgh Castle. As you walk, listen as your guide shares the history of this formidable city with ancient Roman roots and UNESCO-listed pockets. Explore atmospheric cobbled walkways along the Royal Mile, breeze into Edinburgh Castle to witness royal opulence (if option selected), and pass iconic locations like St. Giles Cathedral, Parliament Square, and John Knox House.
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  • 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$21.02
From
$21.02
Taking safety measures

Royal Mile Guided Walking Tour in Edinburgh

Royal Mile Guided Walking Tour in Edinburgh

star-5
Explore famous landmarks and hidden secrets in Edinburgh on this walking tour. Explore Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile with a guide, and gain insight into famous writers and inventors who have called the city home. Hear tales of Scotland's national bard—Robert Burns—and discover top landmarks such as St. Giles’ Cathedral and the National Galleries of Scotland. Capture Edinburgh through the eye of your camera as you go, and find out what makes this ancient city tick.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$31.52
From
$31.52
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh Night Walking Including Underground Vaults

Edinburgh Night Walking Including Underground Vaults

star-4.5
Explore a sinister side of Edinburgh on this late-night ghost walking tour that includes the Blair Street Vaults under South Bridge. Stroll mysterious alleyways as you listen to your guide’s grim and ghastly tales of treason and torture. Then venture underground for a candlelight tour of the 18th-century chambers and hear haunting stories of supernatural forces lingering in the city's darkest corners.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$21.02
From
$21.02
Taking safety measures

The Mountebank Comedy Walk of Edinburgh

The Mountebank Comedy Walk of Edinburgh

star-5
Comedy club meets history class on this walking tour with a professional comedian. Explore Old Town Edinburgh’s highlights and ask anything you want to know about Scotland. Be forewarned: this host doesn’t get too bogged down with pesky details like dates, proper names, or exact locations and there may be profanity, but if you want to have fun while learning about Edinburgh, this is your tour.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$20.73
From
$20.73
Taking safety measures

Blair Street Underground Vaults Evening Walking Tour in Edinburgh

Blair Street Underground Vaults Evening Walking Tour in Edinburgh

star-5
Edinburgh’s dark and desultory past means its streets are haunted by restless souls and wandering specters. This ghost tour—perfect for those fascinated by the supernatural—takes you to two of Edinburgh’s most haunted locations. Under the cloak of darkness, descend to the Blair Street vaults to explore a shadow-shrouded underground world. Visit Canongate Kirkyard, the final resting place of famous characters, and listen to gruesome tales of torture, cannibalism, and murder.
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  • 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$25.21
From
$25.21
Taking safety measures

Withlocals 90 Minutes Kickstart: Covid-19 Regulated Edinburgh Private Tour

Withlocals 90 Minutes Kickstart: Covid-19 Regulated Edinburgh Private Tour

star-5
Enjoy the perfect introduction to Edinburgh and its top attractions on this flexible, private tour. Pick between multiple daily departure times, and meet your guide in the city center. Then, set off on foot. You’ll visit numerous city highlights, from St. Giles' Cathedral and Edinburgh Castle to the Greyfriars Kirkyard and National Museum of Scotland. As you go, learn insider stories about the city, plus tips about where to eat and drink.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$30.86
Price varies by group size
From
$30.86
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Private Food Tour with a Local Expert including 10 Tastings in Edinburgh

Private Food Tour with a Local Expert including 10 Tastings in Edinburgh

star-4.5
Feast your senses on the diverse cuisine of Edinburgh during a private food tour that allows you to tailor your itinerary according to personal tastes. As well as receiving undivided attention from a private guide, you’ll discover eateries and restaurants that you may otherwise have missed, and collect food recommendations for the rest of your vacation.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$129.38
Price varies by group size
From
$129.38
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

2-hour Whisky Tasting Tour of Edinburgh

2-hour Whisky Tasting Tour of Edinburgh

star-4.5
Scotch whisky is one of Scotland’s most famous exports and this 2-hour tour reveals all the secrets of Edinburgh’s favorite tipple. Stroll through Edinburgh’s UNESCO-listed Old Town, visit Megget’s Cellar for a candlelit tasting, and sample a variety of Speyside, Highland, and Islay whiskies.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$50.43
From
$50.43
Taking safety measures

Scottish Church History, Reformation And Presbyterian Heritage Tour

Scottish Church History, Reformation And Presbyterian Heritage Tour

star-5
Led by Bible believing Scottish Christians, we will guide you through Edinburgh's Old Town visiting locations of significance to Scotland's Reformation, the Covenanters and Presbyterian history. We will stop at locations and hear the stories of the people and the events of this period We are a non-profit ministry of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Any funds remaining after direct costs are paid, are used to facilitate church planting in Scotland. Our tours are not merely sight-seeing arrangements. Our goal is to encourage you in your Christian faith, and to point out how and where the people and places you learn about honoured Jesus Christ in everything they did and how you can do the same today. Our tour guides are Bible-believing Christians who care deeply about helping to build up your faith. We are also happy to add in any other location you would like to visit within a reasonable distance. We are 5 star rated on Tripadvisor.
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  • 2 to 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$53.24
From
$53.24

Edinburgh Private Tour Brazilian Guide

Edinburgh Private Tour Brazilian Guide

We make private and personalized tours, according to the client's interests, in private vehicles with great comfort and safety. Our guides accompany you on all attractions, providing the most support and historical information. Departure and return of the tour will be at the client's hotel.
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  • 8 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$588.33
per group
From
$588.33
per group
Taking safety measures

Private Tour of Edinburgh Old Town Architecture

Private Tour of Edinburgh Old Town Architecture

star-5
You can certainly wander around Edinburgh's medieval Old Town on your own, but for a more enriching experience, book this guided walking tour, which introduces you to the architectural concepts and history behind the curious buildings. Your guide leads you along the winding Cockburn Street, to the Royal Mile, and Canongate, delving into each street's architectural influences and the development of Scottish styles.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$69.97
Price varies by group size
From
$69.97
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

City Sightseeing Edinburgh Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

City Sightseeing Edinburgh Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

star-4
An Edinburgh bus tour is the perfect way to hear commentary on city sights and get a panoramic overview. This City Sightseeing tour of Edinburgh lets you hop on and off at several strategically placed stops as many times as you like. Board the open-top double-decker bus and travel the entire route, or stop at Edinburgh Castle, the National Museum and many more. Buses depart regularly and tickets are valid for 24 hours from first use.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$20.73
From
$20.73
Taking safety measures

Reformation and Church History tour of St Andrews and Edinburgh

Reformation and Church History tour of St Andrews and Edinburgh

star-5
Led by Bible believing Scottish Christians, we will drive you through beautiful rural Fife to St Andrews, stopping at places along the way relevant to the Reformation and Scottish Church history. We will then return to Edinburgh to visit sites of significance in the city. We are a non-profit ministry of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Any funds remaining after direct costs are paid, are used to facilitate church planting in Scotland. Our tours are not merely sight-seeing arrangements. Our goal is to encourage you in your Christian faith, and to point out how and where the people and places you learn about honoured Jesus Christ in everything they did and how you can do the same today. Our tour guides are Bible-believing Christians who care deeply about helping to build up your faith. We are also happy to add in any other location you would like to visit within a reasonable distance. We are 5 star rated on Tripadvisor.
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  • 6 to 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$466.46
per group
From
$466.46
per group

A Day in Medieval Edinburgh

A Day in Medieval Edinburgh

Your tour will take you on a comfortable walk in the Old Town along the famed Royal Mile. Hear stories of the murderers, geniuses, body-snatchers, witch hunters, firebrand priests and philosophers. See the eerie site of witch burnings and the castle sitting high above the city on its volcanic rock, then it's down Victoria St and into the Grassmarket and up the "Candlemakers Row" to see the Greyfriars churchyard and a statue to Greyfriars "Bobby" before heading past the "Birthplace" of Harry Potter. After lunch, we continue on our walk with a visit to the High Kirk of St Giles a pre-reformation Cathedral. Further down see the former home of John Knox, the Calvanistic reformer, then it's on to the Canongate Kirk and graveyard, where Her Majesty the Queen worships when in Edinburgh. A little further down "The" Mile and sitting in the shadow of Edinburgh's extinct volcano, and across the road from the Scottish Parliament building sits Holyrood Palace & Abbey (12c).
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$65.76
From
$65.76
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh half day / full day tour with Hugh

Edinburgh half day / full day tour with Hugh

I qualified as a Blue Badge tourist guide in 2014, after 2 years of training. Since then I have shown this city where I live to hundreds of visitors, of all ages and backgrounds. As a former British diplomat, a retired ambassador, I also work in German or Spanish. I can tailor your tour to what you wish to do - the main sites, themed tours, hidden gems or a bit of a mix. . For example:- • we can head up to the castle, home of the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny • Old Edinburgh: we can walk down the Royal Mile from the Castle to Holyrood House (the Queen's official residence in Scotland) and the Scottish Parliament • we can admire the architecture of the New Town and hear about the people who lived there • or visit some places that are said to have inspired JK Rowling when she was writing Harry Potter • or visit the National Museum of Scotland or the Scottish National Gallery Or we can take a walk along the Water of Leith to the Dean Village or trendy Stockbridge.
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  • 2 to 4 hours
From
$336.19
per group
From
$336.19
per group

Silent Disco Adventure Tour

Silent Disco Adventure Tour

star-5
Explore the streets of Edinburgh on this fun walking tour. As you listen to popular theme songs and hits through your headset, sing along and dance past landmarks like St. Giles' Cathedral, the Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh Waverley Station, and more. This is an alternative to the traditional tour groups.
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  • 1 hour
From
$21.02
From
$21.02

Edinburgh Private Walking Tour

Edinburgh Private Walking Tour

star-5
Explore Edinburgh with a private guide during this walking tour. Meet your local guide right at your hotel and set out to see the city’s popular landmarks along with some off the beaten path places. Explore the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle and visit a historic pub for lunch. The itinerary of this private tour can be customized according to your interests.
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  • 4 to 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$280.16
From
$280.16

Edinburgh: 3-Hours Walking Tour - English Tour Guide

Edinburgh: 3-Hours Walking Tour - English Tour Guide

star-5
Cover all the major must-see sights in Edinburgh and learn all about the ancient city on this 3-hour guided walking tour. Listen as your guide shares fascinating historical facts, myths and legends about the Scottish capital. • Wander along the Royal Mile, the atmospheric main thoroughfare of the well-preserved Edinburgh Old Town • See the historic fortress of Edinburgh Castle, trek to the Mound and visit the graveyard of Greyfriars Kirkyard • Listen to your guide talking about historical facts about Edinburgh
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$16.82
From
$16.82

Edinburgh City Centre private driving tour Edinburgh Castle Rosslyn Chapel

Edinburgh City Centre private driving tour Edinburgh Castle Rosslyn Chapel

star-5
Maximize time spent in Edinburgh with this full-day private driving tour in a luxury vehicle. With a group of up to seven people, set out to see popular landmarks including Edinburgh Castle, Rosslyn Chapel, the Royal Mile, and the Scottish Parliament. Learn about history and Scottish culture from your private guide.
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  • 8 to 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$641.38
per group
From
$641.38
per group
Taking safety measures

Guided Edinburgh Private Walking Tour

SPECIAL OFFER

Guided Edinburgh Private Walking Tour

star-5
Embark on an enriching 3.5 or 7-hour walking tour of Edinburgh’s cultural and historical highlights with a private guide. While you listen to insightful commentary, you’ll visit iconic landmarks and hidden gems according to an itinerary tailored to your interests. Explore the cobbled streets of the Old Town, gaze at Edinburgh Castle on its rocky perch and ascend to the summit of Calton Hill for panoramic city views. On this private tour, you’ll receive the undivided attention of your guide while gaining unique insight into the Scottish capital.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$188.75
per group
$343.20
$154.45 savings
From
$188.75
per group
$343.20
$154.45 savings
Taking safety measures

Historic Edinburgh by Night: Private Kickstart Tour with a Local

Historic Edinburgh by Night: Private Kickstart Tour with a Local

Edinburgh is a treasure trove of historical delights. From old prisons which are the subject of local legends to the stunning architecture of St Giles’ Cathedral, there is plenty to see. Explore the city with a local storyteller and hear the tales that bring the city to life. Start this history evening experience at the Mercat Cross. With a turbulent past, your friendly local will fill you in on all the former uses of this spot, from public executions to a place of trade to announcements from London. Follow your host to Edinburgh’s parliament square and visit the burial site of one of the city’s most famous former residents. Then swing by the must-see cathedral and take in this architectural gem lit up in all its glory. Head up to Edinburgh Castle which is even more spectacular when it is lit up in the evening. Then visit a historic market before stopping by one of the most haunted graveyards in Scotland, which is said to have inspired the Harry Potter series.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$43.92
Price varies by group size
From
$43.92
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Chauffeur Driven Private Sightseeing Tour of Edinburgh

Chauffeur Driven Private Sightseeing Tour of Edinburgh

star-5
Explore Edinburgh without the hassle of driving or using public transit on a private sightseeing tour with round-trip hotel transport. Your driver, who navigates for you, points out top landmarks and architectural gems, from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood House. With the flexibility to customize your itinerary and inside recommendations from your driver, this private tour is a popular choice for newcomers who wish to orient themselves in the city.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$623.79
per group
From
$623.79
per group

Private Edinburgh City Tour in a Minibus

Private Edinburgh City Tour in a Minibus

star-5
Explore Edinburgh from the comfort of your own personal minibus on a private tour of the Scottish capital city. While listening to informative commentary from your guide, you’ll gaze at the Gothic silhouette of Edinburgh Castle and hear about the historic Royal Mile. Ascend Calton Hill for panoramic city views, admire the grand architecture of the Palace of Holyroodhouse and become engrossed by tales of witchcraft, body snatching, and a loyal dog. This private tour ensures you’ll receive undivided attention from your guide while experiencing the best Edinburgh has to offer.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$656.62
per group
From
$656.62
per group
Taking safety measures

Private Half-Day Architecture Tour of the Old Town

Private Half-Day Architecture Tour of the Old Town

star-5
Get a richer experience of Edinburgh's fascinating architecture than possible alone on this private guided tour led by a local architecture graduate. In the company of just your party and guide, learn about such native styles as Scottish Baronial, as well as foreign architectural influences on the capital's buildings, as you walk through the Old Town, along the famed Royal Mile and dipping into hidden closes (alleys) and courtyards en route to the strikingly modern Scottish Parliament Building.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$147.71
Price varies by group size
From
$147.71
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What's the best way to experience St. Giles Cathedral?