High St, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
0131 225 9442
NileGuide Expert tip:
Spit on the Heart of Midlothian (outside the cathedral) for good luck. Just don't walk over it later!
St. Giles' Cathedral is the mother church of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland and is located at the midpoint of the Royal Mile. Its interior central pillars date back to 1124. The church boasts some of the most exquisite stained glass windows in the United Kingdom, which were created during the Victorian era. On the exterior, it is distinct for its traditional Scottish crown steeple. Explore the interior and see the organ and its mechanisms from a glass panel in the back. The Chapel of the Knights of the Thistle, built in 1911 for the Order of the Thistle, is particularly beautiful: each Knight's stall is carved in wood with an impressively intricate touch. Call for a list of services.
On the ground near the church is the Heart of Midlothian, a heart-shaped carving on the site of the former Tolbooth Prison. Legend has it that the prisoners used to spit before entering the jail, and locals carry on this tradition by spitting on the heart for good luck. Also, the local football team Heart of Midlothian has this same heart-shaped badge on its uniform. As a show of disrespect, fans of Hibernian, the rival team, have taken to spitting on the heart carving as well.