Where to Plan Now: Edinburgh, Scotland

By Erin Caslavka Deinzer, July 16, 2015

Author J.K. Rowling found inspiration for the magical world of Harry Potter while living and writing in the city of Edinburgh. Today, planners can discover their own kind of magic in the vibrant Scottish capital city that has more than 25,000 beds—50 percent of which are within a one-mile radius of the city center.

According to the CVB, Marketing Edinburgh, the city has confirmed more than 140 conferences since April 2013. Meetings in the field of energy, medicine, life sciences and electronics have been secured as far out as 2021.

Home of the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh (a World Heritage Site) hosts the international headquarters of banking and financial institutions, as well as the University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583. The International Congress and Convention Association designates the city as the second-most popular meeting destination in the United Kingdom (of which Scotland remains a part after citizens voted against independence in September 2014), trailing only London.

A year-round program of art exhibits, festivals, musical gatherings and performances keeps the city lively even during winter months, with Edinburgh Castle hosting a spectacular New Year’s Eve celebration known as Hogmanay. With more restaurants per capita than any other city in the U.K., Edinburgh also has unusual venues for planners. The historic Royal Yacht Britannia has hosted kings, queens, prime ministers and presidents. The Scotch Whisky Experience can host up to 150 seated for catered meals and whisky tastings. Incentive planners will be lured by the famed centuries-old golf courses, including St. Andrews and Muirfield, which brandish their own storied enchantment.

Quick Facts:

Nearest Airport: Edinburgh Airport

Airlift: Direct flights from Newark Liberty

Main Convention Center: Edinburgh International Conference Centre

Transportation: Lothian Buses

Entry Requirements: No visa required for U.S. passport holders visiting for fewer than 90 days.

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