The Edinburgh Pilgrimage

13th – 16th June 2022

You are warmly invited to join Fr Alan Gyle for a visit to Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders this June. This will be a chance to spend time in good company, getting to know one of the world’s great cities, Edinburgh – the world’s most extensive experiment in Georgian town planning, the ‘Athens of the North’, and home in the late 18th and early 19th centuries of the Scottish Enlightenment.
This will be a unique chance to learn a little about the distinctiveness of Scottish religion and life, to taste culture and sample its cuisine! We hope you will join what promises to be a thoughtful, prayerful and thoroughly enjoyable four days.

The Edinburgh Pilgrimage will follow our tried and tested approach of allowing people to book their own travel and their own accommodation (so you can tailor your travel and your stay to your own budget). We will come together each day for shared study and prayer, for visits and free time, and to eat together in the evenings. The cost of the retreat (excluding accommodation, your return travel to Edinburgh and our shared meals) is £120 per person, payable on confirmation of your place (to cover shared costs/coach travel on Tuesday, materials and fees/guides/hospitality). When it comes to our shared meals, we will again follow our tradition of totting up the cost and sending out mess bills on return to London.

Highlights of the trip

An introduction to the city and its cultural and religious life, and orientation for your free time; a planned dialogue with celebrated Scottish artist Alison Watt who will speak about her installation in Old St Paul’s Church, and a general introduction to the City’s remarkable art collections; a Welcome Dinner on MONDAY with The Very Reverend Dr Derek Browning (former Moderator of the Church of Scotland) as guest-of-honour (who will be our travelling companion as on TUESDAY we visit Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott, Melrose Abbey, and the Rosslyn Chapel) – a private drinks reception on Tuesday evening and a simple dinner together; on WEDNESDAY an introduction to ‘The Kirk’ (The Church of Scotland) and a walking visit to The Canongate Kirk and then to the Palace of Holyrood House – with free time to visit the City’s galleries and historic sites on Wednesday afternoon) – a planned Reception and Farewell Dinner in the New Club on Edinburgh’s Princess Street on Wednesday evening (with The Reverend Dr Neil Gardner, Minster of the Canongate Kirk as guest-of-honour) – then on THURSDAY an introduction to The High Kirk of St Giles, The Royal Mile and The Castle – all interspersed with times of prayer and reflection and the celebration of the mass.


Central Edinburgh has a vast range of accommodation choices, from the fabulous five-star Balmoral Hotel to innumerable simpler hotels, flats and studio apartments on AirBnB. Jury’s Inn in Jeffrey Street is an approachably priced 4* hotel moments from the venue. However, we will not be focusing on any one ‘retreat hotel’ but will rather use the Church and Hall of Old St Paul’s Church in Jeffrey Street behind Waverley Station as our daily meeting point. So, check out options on (using Waverley Station Edinburgh as the centre of your search) and find something that suits.

Dates & Duration

Our collective commitment is to assemble for our first session on the afternoon of Monday 13th June at 3:30pm, and the visit will formally end at lunchtime on Thursday 16th June. You are obviously welcome to extend your visit to Edinburgh beyond this timeframe BUT if you intend to participate, please do not either arrive late or leave early.  

How to travel

The simplest way is almost certainly to take the train (which takes c.4.5 hours from Kings Cross, London to Waverley Station, Edinburgh). Or, you can fly from London to Edinburgh on several carriers – although by the time you have travelled to and from the airports to the city centres, you will have been quicker to get the train! There is a cheap and frequent tram service from Edinburgh Airport to St Andrew’s Square.

How to book your place

Please note that places are limited, and so we encourage you to register your interest and reserve your place as soon as possible. To do so, please email:   

If you have any questions or would like to find out more about whether this trip would suit you, Katja Behrens will also be glad to fix a time for a short phone conversation with Fr Alan Gyle.

Start date: June 12, 2022

End date: June 15, 2022

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