Greyfriars Kirk and cemetery

Located near Grassmarket, Greyfriars Kirk is an early 17th-century church, the first built in Edinburgh after the Reformation.

About this building

The name of the church refers to the monastery of the Greyfriars, or Franciscans, which was located at the eastern end of Grassmarket until 1558. The adjacent cemetery is often what leads tourists to visit this site. Indeed, the bucolic Greyfriars Kirkyard houses the tombs of notable Edinburgh residents.

Key Features

  • Monuments
  • Atmosphere / quiet space
  • Churchyard
  • Links to national heritage
  • Famous people or stories

Visitors information

  • Bus stop within 100m
  • Level access to the main areas
  • Ramp or level access available on request
  • Accessible toilets in the building
  • Café in the building

Other nearby buildings


St. Giles Cathedral

St. Giles Cathedral was founded in the 11th century but the original cathedral burned down in 1385 and was rebuilt shortly afterwards. In 1466 St. Giles became a collegiate church and around 1490 the lantern tower was added. In the 16th century, the reformer John Knox became a priest of St. Gilles and was buried there, making the cathedral the mother church of Presbyterianism. He is commemorated by a 19th-century stained glass window in the south wall of the church and, since 1904, by a bronze statue on the north side.

Wikimedia Commons/Kim Traynor

St Margaret's Chapel

St Margaret's Chapel is the chapel of Edinburgh Castle. This example of Norman architecture is the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh, probably built in the early 12th century. St Margaret's Chapel fell into disrepair during the Protestant Reformation and then served as a powder keg from the 16th century until the mid 19th century when Sir Daniel Wilson undertook the restoration of the building with the support of Queen Victoria. In 1929, further work was carried out to return the chapel to worship, consecrated on 16 March 1934.