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Elgin Cathedral

Home to Scotland’s finest octagonal chapter house

Elgin Cathedral

Elgin Cathedral is one of Scotland’s most ambitious and beautiful medieval buildings. It was the principal church of the bishops of Moray.

Begun in 1224, the cathedral was expanded after a fire in 1270 and further altered after an attack by Earl of Buchan in 1390 and Alexander, Lord of the Isles in 1402. The cathedral is central to the history of the region, and carries evidence of that history.

It lost its roof a few years after the Reformation, and the central tower collapsed in 1711. The fortunes of the neglected building began to change in 1807, when a ‘drouthy [thirsty] cobbler’ named John Shanks was appointed as keeper. One of his duties was showing visitors around. In the 1820s, this new visitor attraction was stabilised and partially repaired.

New for 2016
See the impressive collection of over 100 medieval stones in a new light in a new exhibition here at Elgin Cathedral. The effigy of Bishop Archibald brought back to its former glory with stunning light effects is one of over 100 medieval carved stones going on public display for the first time in 20 years. Come and explore the messages that might be contained within the stones – from moral lessons drawn from the wonders of nature, to hidden surprises and startling warnings against sin.


  • The wonderful 13th-century west front – one of the finest architectural sights in Scotland.
  • The stone bishop – this ‘larger-than-life’ statue in the nave looks for all the world like a giant chess piece. It once stood in the crossing tower.
  • The octagonal chapter house – the meeting room of the cathedral clergy still stands remarkably complete.
  • The Pictish cross slab, found on the site of St Giles Parish Church, where the town hall now stands. This grey granite slab features a rare depiction of falconry.
  • Scotland’s tallest gravestone – placed against the south choir aisle, it stands 5m high and records the Anderson family of Linkwood from 1674 to 1813.
  • Guided tours available Monday–Friday.

Green Tourism Award - Gold


Region – North and Grampian
Postcode: IV30 1HU

Opening arrangements

25 March - 30 September, Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun, 9.30am to 5.30pm (last entry 5pm)

1 October - 24 March, Mon Tue Wed Sat Sun, 10am to 4pm (last entry 3.30pm)

Admission prices

All year
Adult £7.10, Child £4.30, Concession £5.70

Joint ticket with Spynie Palace available (summer only)
Adult £8.70, Child £5.30, Concession £7.00

Events at Elgin Cathedral

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2 May 2016

Weaving the Unicorn exhibition

Stirling Castle

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David Roberts Exhibition

Duff House

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Kaleidoscope II

Duff House

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Music Through the Ages

Edinburgh Castle

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