VISITORS to an iconic cathedral in Edinburgh city centre will soon be charged an entrance fee for the first time in its 900-year history.

Founded in 1124, St Giles’ Cathedral on the Royal Mile predates the building of the city’s Old Town.

Following the death of the Queen, her coffin lay in state in St Giles’ Cathedral overnight and welcomed thousands of people wishing to pay their respects.

However, while the kirk currently asks visitors for a £5 donation, it is reported that they will soon be forced to pay a mandatory entrance fee on non-worship days.

The Church of Scotland says the money earned will go towards maintenance fees for the building, which it says have risen to nearly £1 million per year.

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However, tour guides are calling for caution in how the church decides to implement the charge.

The Scottish Tour Guide Association told The Times: “I think if it’s a modest charge and people have notice of it, then it may not significantly reduce the visitors.

“It depends on how they do it. If it is just turning up and [paying] I don’t think it’ll have a huge impact, but if it is [booking] up in advance, that could put people off.”

Charges are not due to start until next year but are expected to be around £5 per visitor.

A Church of Scotland representative said: “Without voluntary donations, we would struggle to maintain access to the building.”