Accessibility

We welcome all to St Giles’ and are keen to make sure we can cater to any accessibility requirements you might have. If you would like to talk to us further, please email info@stgilescathedral.org.uk or call on+44 (0)131 226 0674

Getting here

Buses and Trams: While there is no bus which stops directly outside St Giles’, there are plenty of bus stops nearby. A bus or tram to Princes Street requires an uphill walk. The nearest bus stop is the Victoria Street bus stop on George IV Bridge, which is also uphill from Princes Street. There are regular services across the city from South Bridge and the Museum of Childhood bus stops that are available by walking down the Royal Mile from us.

You can plan your bus journey via: https://www.lothianbuses.com/live-travel-info/journey-planner/ or trams: https://edinburghtrams.com/plan-journey

Car: There are some parking spaces available directly in front of the Cathedral entrance (West Parliament Square), please email or phone ahead if you need to use them, as these spaces are shared with other businesses. Please be aware that this parking space is cobbled. 

There are also two disabled parking bays for Blue Badge holders to the rear of the building adjacent to the Mercat Cross (Parliament Square).

We are happy to call a taxi for you on request.

Facilities

Ramp: We have a ramp going into the building, and one just inside the building when you enter, this is the main walkway all visitors will use. Please see pictures below. There is no ramp on the exit side of the one-way system, so you are welcome to return the way you came or cross the seating area to reach the entrance ramp. To do this you will need to lift a rope barrier. Please ask if you would like assistance.

The Thistle Chapel has four steps to the entrance. For those unable to use the steps we have a video available, or we can find you a guide to tell you about the Chapel and its history.

The video has captions and is usually in silent mode. We are happy to turn on the audio commentary for you. We wouldn’t be able to turn the audio commentary on during services, such as the weekday service at 12p.m.

Some of the aisles in the building have a few steps into them.

Toilets:

In general, toilets are not available for the public, but we are happy to make exceptions for medical reasons or emergencies. There is always a volunteer or member of staff at the Welcome desk when you first enter, so please ask them and they will be able to help you.

We do not have an accessible toilet in St Giles’. We can offer one toilet on the same level as the rest of the building which does not require steps, but it is small and there is no emergency cord or handrails. Please see pictures below for entrance way and the bathroom itself.

The nearest accessible bathrooms are in the National Library Scotland, they have a unisex accessible toilet on the ground floor and on the first floor. The library is on George IV Bridge, so continue up the Royal Mile towards the Castle and turn left at the first crossing, and stay on the left hand side of the road. The entrance is just past the bus stop.

Seating: There is seating available to the general public, and we are happy to provide more if necessary.

Signage: We have some signage throughout the building, with various text sizes on different coloured backgrounds.

Further Information:

Quiet Hours: The cathedral can be loud, especially if there is an organ rehearsal, large group tour, midday service, or midday concert. If you are interested in visiting during quieter times, please contact us and we can advise you of a suitable time.

Tours: All are welcome on our daily tours, with run twice a day during the week and on Saturday mornings. These tours are in the main body of the cathedral so all on one level, only the Thistle Chapel is down some steps.

If you would like more information about these tours or are interested in booking a specialist or sensory tour for yourself or a larger group, please email groups@stgilescathedral.org.uk. We have offered touch-sensitive or quiet hour tours in the past and are happy to chat to you about doing them again.

Please note we do not have hearing loop systems in the building.

All dogs are allowed in the building, ask a member of staff or volunteer if your dog would like some water.

We have two manual wheelchairs available, please ask.

We do not have a cloakroom or storage area, so please keep your luggage with you at all times.

Volunteer and Staff Training

Our volunteer guides are the heart of St Giles’ and are on hand to answer your questions about our beautiful building’s architecture and history. We have recently done a volunteer workshop with the charity Euan’s Guide to learn more about accessibility and inclusion. You can check our reviews on Euan’s Guide here.

Should you require medical assistance we have a trained first aider in the building at all times.