St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral is unique in many ways, and not just for its height. It’s one of only three cathedrals that boast three spires, and it’s actually part of a World Heritage Site. Built in 1879, the building is teeming with history which is evident through its beautiful architecture and breathtaking interior. Intricate stained glass windows and a Victorian Gothic design make this place the perfect setting to host mesmerizing events including the spellbinding Candlelight concert series.
Located in the west end of the New Town, the cathedral is situated a 20-minute walk from Edinburgh Waverley station. It’s within easy reach of the city’s main shopping district and a 10-minute walk from the famous Princess Street, so you really can’t miss it.
Facts, Curiosities and Interesting Things about St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral
1. A time capsule in a stone
Designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, plans for the cathedral were drawn up in the early 1870s and the first stone was laid in May 1874. A trust deed, coins and a newspaper were inserted into a bottle that was placed inside the stone, making for a hidden little time capsule that lived for many years within the grounds of the cathedral.
2. A cathedral of many firsts
This place is the only cathedral in Scotland that hosts daily choral services from its own choir school. In 1978, the cathedral made history as the first of its kind in Great Britain to welcome both girls and boys in the treble line of the choir. In 2005, it was also the first cathedral to employ a female alto, too.
3. Twin spires
At the west end of the cathedral, there are two famous spires commonly know as “Mary” and “Barbara.” They’re named after the Walker sisters who were the original owners of the site where the cathedral now stands. Construction of the two spires started in 1913 and was only completed in 1917, and they were designed by none other than Charles Marriott Oldrid Scott, Sir George’s beloved grandson.
A sea of flickering candles continues to light up this historic venue to provide the magical setting for this series of Candlelight concerts. These concerts pay tribute to a range of artists and genres, so audiences can find a concert that best suits their music taste. From modern day stars like Coldplay to rock legends like Queen and Pink Floyd, there’s truly a concert for everyone. Cinema buffs can enjoy tributes to the likes of Hans Zimmer, Ludovico Einaudi and Joe Hisaishi, and the works by Fleetwood Mac, Vivaldi and more will also be performed by talented musicians in an intimate candlelit atmosphere.
What else can you do at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral?
St Mary’s is one of the biggest cathedrals in the UK, so it’s no surprise that hundreds of people flock to the religious landmark every day for worship. Every year, the venue also opens its doors to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s largest performance arts festival. Theatre productions, recitals and art exhibitions have been hosted here as well as charity events and coffee mornings.
St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral is one of many remarkable venues playing host to these enchanting Candlelight concerts in Edinburgh. This perfect blend of live music and light makes for the perfect evening to unwind in one of the city’s most beautiful locations, including Ghillie Dhu and Nicolson Square.