Wizards, Poets, Inventors and an amazing dog - all part of Edinburgh's history at Greyfriars



Welcome to a place that is JK Rowling’s supposed inspiration for many Potter characters, the spot where Greyfriars Bobby guarded his owner for 14 years after death, and the headstone for Scotland’s infamous ‘worst poet.’ If all that isn’t enough to add Greyfriars Kirk and Kirkyard to your ‘Must See in Edinburgh’  list, then wow – you need to slow down, relax and enjoy peace more!

Greyfriars Kirk may just be the catalyst for that renewed sense of peace. Steeped in history; from the eponymous monks and the signing place of the National Covenant to free music concerts, a recording space renowned for its acoustics, hosting a wedding or showcasing a gallery of original artwork – it’s all here.

We love telling the stories of Greyfriars, and we love to welcome visitors to the Kirk. We are open from April to October 6 days a week and we are open on Thursdays in our winter season. Please see our opening times for more details. As we are occasionally closed for special services or private events, it pays to check to avoid disapointment.

 

Alive with History

Greyfriars Kirk occupies an important place within the history and culture of Edinburgh, and the history of Scotland. The National Covenant was actually signed here in 1638. Greyfriars Kirkyard, arguably the most famous in Scotland, has been part of Edinburgh’s history since 1562 when Mary Queen of Scots granted the land for use as a burial ground.

The Kirkyard contains memorials covering centuries of history and is the final resting place of many famous Scots including the graves of poet William McGonagall, chemist Joseph Black and philanthropist Mary Erskine (among many more).

Greyfriars Bobby is buried near the entrance to the Kirkyard and attracts many visitors to the Kirk. More recently, a certain Ms Rowling used to apparently spent time strolling the grounds in the mid-’90s, perhaps seeking inspiration for her tale of a put-upon boy wizard… 

 

FREE Concert every Thursday

view of a microphone

We organise a regular lunchtime concert series known as Greyfriars at 12 throughout the year, on Thursdays at 12.00 pm. The 45-minute concerts feature internationally renowned performers, as well as local music students, and are free to attend.

 

Greyfriars Tours

We’d love to show you around! Daytime and nightly tours are available of the Kirkyard. Weekly day tours are held Thursdays at 11 am and can be booked through Eventbrite or by stopping by Greyfriars Kirk shop during visitor open hours. Night time tours are available daily through City of the Dead Tours and meet at 9 pm the roadside wall of St Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile. Tickets are available at Bobby’s Bothy or by calling 0131 225 9044.

Day Ticket

  • Adults £8
  • Children £6

Night Ticket

  • Adults £13
  • Children/Concessions £11

Special discounts are available to adults who purchase both a day and night ticket. Show proof of purchase of a day ticket and receive £5 off a night ticket!

 

Looking for a coffee after exploring the Kirk?

Look no further than the award-winning Grassmarket Community Project Café, just down the hill from us, and part of our Greyfriars family, open Monday-Saturday from 9.00 am-4.00 pm.

 

What people are saying about us…

“If you are interested in old churches, graves and tombstones, then this a must for you. The tombstones are very interesting to read as there are many names and dates on a single stone. Its like trying to put a puzzle together. The church was old and beautiful. The pipe organ was playing and so nice to sit and listen to it for a while.”

“I had done a lot of research before going to Scotland and was very familiar with its history. So much of what is tied to Edinburgh’s history can be experienced here. Greyfriars Bobby is certainly not the only thing to see…church and grounds are so important to Scottish history.”

Read more reviews by clicking here.

The Kirk has recently been awarded a Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor due to the high number of positive reviews. Please click here to leave a review of your visit to the Kirk on TripAdvisor.  The Kirk is also rated as a 4-star Historic Attraction by the Scottish Tourist Board.

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