Shortlisted Venues ()

Hold your conference in a meeting venue with a difference

Each carefully chosen Unique Venue of Edinburgh has the key ingredients of the latest facilities, advanced technology and a pinch of that je ne sais quoi – something a little more, well, unique.

The word conference comes about from the 16th century Latin meaning a ‘general talk’ or ‘bringing together’ of people. But a conference is so much more than that – It’s the bringing together of minds and ideas too. Set up the scene for innovation with one of our unique conference venues below.

Edinburgh venues with a twist

No two conferences are ever the same when you choose one of Unique Venues of Edinburgh’s carefully selected spaces. Edinburgh’s rich medical history is ever-apparent at The Royal College of Physicians, some of which dates back to the 1770’s. Its Georgian Cullen Suite is great for small meetings while the modern Conference Centre caters for up to 300 people and comes complete with advanced AV equipment. This venue is a great choice for conferences with a medical theme, as the venue houses a large library of 50,000 books.

Further afield lies the Edinburgh International Climbing Area which can accommodate up to 1,800 for large-scale conferences. This enormous venue boasts disabled access, Wi-Fi, parking and an abundance of on-site activities – making it a great choice for big conferences of large team-building.

Conferences with the wow factor

Impressing delegates comes easy for some of our venues. The Merchants’ Hall is a prime example of a venue doing this on a grander scale. Networking events, product launches and large conferences can all be held in a venue bursting with heritage and style.

It sits just 5 minutes from Edinburgh Waverley train station, enjoying a unique city centre location and making it even easier for delegates to visit. The awe-inspiring domed ceiling floods the room with natural daylight while evening lighting brings the venue to life as the evening goes on. The venue is equipped with free Wi-Fi, in-house equipment and state-of-the-art technology.

Nothing screams the city of Edinburgh as your host as Edinburgh Castle. It’s one of Scotland’s most famous landmarks and can be host to unforgettable conferences. It’s got an array of function rooms to choose from including the Queen Ann Building which is great for lunches or banqueting, or the Jacobite Room which has a flexible adjoining room for something more adaptable.

Larger groups of up to 800 people can be catered for, for a larger event. Impress your delegates with an exclusive look at the Castle’s highlights including the Scottish Crown Jewels and Stone of Destiny, available for viewing on a private tour. For an unusual and invigorating outdoor meeting, The Gatehouse is the perfect outdoor daytime venue.

If neo-Romanesque architecture is more your thing, then you can’t go wrong with the Mansfield Traquair, a completely unusual space catering for up to 600. It’s a venue that offers both exquisite murals and advanced equipment, all in the same place. 

Venues to Spark Ideas

Sometimes a total change of scenery can pave the way for truly innovative thinking. Hold your next conference in an altogether more unusual venue, with some of our suggestions. How about The National Museum of Scotland,  Scottish National Gallery, Scottish National Portrait Gallery or the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. We’re particularly excited about the Scottish National Gallery’s Hawthornden Lecture Theatre; a vast lecture theatre that can seat up to 200. It comes with full AV support, to really impress delegates.

In keeping with the arty theme comes Dovecot Studios, a collection of grand Victorian Baths which have been renovated to become a quirky venue for up to 300 guests. There’s a choice of function rooms from The Weaving Floor and Balcony to The Meeting Room; each of which provide flexible and adaptable meetings spaces. There’s disabled access and complimentary Wi-Fi at this venue, which has a range of capacities including classroom, banquet, reception and boardroom.

If an Old Town venue with an impressive history is your thing then The Signet Library will not disappoint. It’s a working law library with architecture dating back to the 1820’s. It boasts free Wi-Fi and can be adapted to suit a range of layouts including Classroom, Board-room and Theatre styles.

Sitting proudly at the top of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile lies The Hub, a Grade A listed building with modern interiors and state-of-the-art facilities. It can host gatherings of 4 to 650 with ease, offering an abundance of function rooms to set the scene perfectly for your occasion.

Nothing gets the creative juices flowing quite like a wee dram however – The Scotch Malt Whisky Society or The Scotch Whisky Experience are two whisky-themed venues that can cater for conferences. Each has an assortment of meeting spaces, and can be following by whisky tastings, for something a bit different.

The Outsiders

If there’s a city not short on alternative conference venues, it’s Edinburgh. Getting delegates out of their comfort zone is a great way to break the ice and set the scene for a conference that’s a little more unusual.

It might surprise you to learn that Edinburgh Zoo can host conferences. As well as housing almost a thousand animals, including the world-famous Edinburgh pandas, it also boasts an 18th century baronial Mansion House, and a 170-seat lecture theatre with break-out rooms in the form of the Budongo Lecture Theatre. Outdoor grounds, disabled access and parking makes it easy for all guests to access. And with capacities from 30 to 250, it’s a flexible space with a bit of a twist.

The Royal Botanical Gardens is another unexpected conference venue in Edinburgh. It has a host of function rooms to choose from, making it a very adaptable corporate space. Up to 1000 delegates can meet surrounded by the awe-inspiring beauty of 70 acres of pristinely maintained gardens. Four really unique event spaces give you plenty to choose from, from the John Hope Gateway with views over the biodiversity garden to The Terrace Café with its own private patio area and views over the Edinburgh skyline. There’s also an impressive auditorium seating up to 240.

For something to really get pulses racing, quite literally – check out Musselburgh Racecourse with its fantastic transport links and event spaces catering for numbers of up to 12,000. The versatile venue offers something a little different and has been used for everything from filming and seminars to product launches and large-scale conferences.

Alternatively, the innovative Dynamic Earth is a one-off chance to experience the wonders of the world – indoors. The award-winning venue takes inspiration from the beauty of the outdoors (for example in the Earthscape and Biosphere Rooms) while providing a fantastic conference space, equipped with state-of-the-art technology and catering facilities.

Conferences with a history

The undeniably impressive countryside that surrounds Edinburgh makes for conferences which are a little further off the beaten track. Winton House’s intertwining rooms can be used for team-building activities or evening corporate functions. Meanwhile Gilmerton House can cater for up to 100 guests in a variety of layouts and Hopetoun House can host up to 2000 in a large marquee on its manicured lawns.

Spice up conferences with on-site activities. Dundas Castle is a great example of a grand privately owned Scottish stately home with space for outdoor activities on the thousand-acre estate including a nine-hole golf course, a 4×4 course and clay pigeon shooting.

Alternatively, join two centuries of prestigious conferencing at the Assembly Rooms, which has welcomed monarchy and celebrity royalty for decades. It’s a Georgian A-listed building with a stake in history, catering for events for numbers of 10 to 750. There’s a selection of dramatic, large spaces (such as The Music Hall and Ballroom) as well as an additional nine rooms. It’s hosted important gatherings as part of Edinburgh’s lively cultural and commercial life ever since it opened in 1787. Join leagues of prestigious conferencing hosts by choosing it as your unique conference venue.

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