There are so many things to consider when hosting a party, but be it business or pleasure, one of the most important is the venue.
National Museums Scotland
The National Museum on Chambers Street is well know for its Grand Gallery, which has a capacity of a staggering 1,500 for a reception, but lesser known is the Boardroom Suite.
The Suite is comprised of three areas, one on top of the other, in the round tower at the east end of the building. The lower two of the three areas have unrivalled views of Edinburgh Castle and are neutrally decorated, with the first being furnished to suit your event. The room above has a round table to seat 24 people with a clever design meaning its outer layer can be removed to host up to 12 people.
There’s no denying that both these areas are impressive in their own right at any time of year, but during sunny summer evenings your guests can be hosted in the unique roof top garden, with twinkling lanterns and views of the floodlit Castle on one side and all the way across the Firth of Forth to Fife on the other.
Address: National Museums Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1JF
Telephone: 0131 247 4113
Website: National Museums Scotland
The imagination and creativity used to make Dynamic Earth a famous educational facility by day lend themselves equally well to stylish evening receptions, with many of its event spaces unique in Edinburgh
The tropical rain forest, with an indoor waterfall, has a vibrant atmosphere even before the first guest arrives, but add to this a selection of cocktails and canapés and your party can’t fail to be a success.
The walls of the Polar Gallery, bathed in blue light, are hung with extraordinary photography from both poles, and the room even has its own iceberg which guests will enjoy melting their finger or hand print into.
Amongst the larger spaces in the venue is the Stratosphere, which can accommodate up to 1,200 for a reception, 600 for a banquet or 550 for a dinner dance. This magical space takes on a whole new persona with a wash of colour lighting the glass walls, towering canopy ceiling and inner dome or how about the 360 degree cinema where guests can see one of a selection of mesmerising films before dancing into the wee small hours.
Address: Dynamic Earth, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8AS
Telephone: 0131 523 1269
Website: Dynamic Earth
Real Mary King’s Close
Mary King’s close, a labyrinth of underground rooms and passages on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, has atmosphere seeping from its every pore and offers spaces that range in style from small and intimate to spacious and grand or relaxed al fresco.
The outside terrace, which is drenched in sunlight during summer months, is a peaceful area for either a bar-be-cue, seated meal before heading down to the close itself.
The vaulted rooms running of the Close vary in size and can be used in conjunction with one another to provide separate bar and dance area. Being totally enclosed makes the spaces ideal for lighting to create a celebratory atmosphere where you won’t be able to disturb the neighbours.
The high ceilinged Burgh Courtroom on the ground level, which acts as a café and gift shop by day, features wood paneling and intricate plasterwork giving it an air sophistication, creating a wonderful contrast to the thrill of the vaults themselves.
Address: Real Mary King’s Close, 2 Warriston’s Close, High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1PG
Telephone: 0131 225 0675
Website: Real Mary King’s Close
National Galleries Scotland
Art lovers can’t fail to be impressed by the remarkable works on display at these three world class venues, but may, however, be surprised at their ability to host events ranging from the most grand of dinners to lively parties and outdoor drinks receptions.
Few people could claim to have been entertained to a background of Van Gough, Vermeer, Constable and Cezanne, but a sophisticated reception for up to 1,000 or dinner for up 250 at the National Gallery, at the bottom of The Mound, provides exactly this.
The Great Hall of the National Portrait Gallery, with gothic arches, stained glass, and surrounding ambulatory above, has a enchanting atmosphere equally suitable for lively or more formal entertaining, but if you prefer a more contemporary setting Modern 1 and Modern 2 will be more your style.
The two modern art galleries offer a choice of indoor spaces, as well as an outdoor terrace twinkling with light or a marquee in the beautifully manicured gardens.
Address: Scottish National Gallery, The Mound, Edinburgh, EH2 2EL
Telephone: 0131 624 6216
Website: National Galleries of Scotland
The Dovecot Studios, formerly a bathing house, has entertaining spaces which offer everything from Victorian splendor to a modern industrial ambience.
The Weaving Floor and its surrounding Viewing Gallery combine historic features with contemporary décor to create a feeling of space and majesty for sophisticated entertaining to the backdrop of the magnificent weaving looms.
On the ground floor of the Dovecot Studios are two interlinked areas hung with modern artwork which, with a combined capacity of 150, make them ideal for use as a dining area at one side, with a large dance floor and cocktail area at the other. For smaller gatherings, the Meeting Room, with large arched windows along one wall, a wooden floor and blank white walls is easily transformed into a party venue with a wash of light and music.
Address: 10 Infirmary Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1LT
Telephone: 0131 550 3660
Website: Dovecot Studios
The magnificent Assembly Rooms, with stylishly understated neutral décor and glittering chandeliers, has an atmosphere so palatial that the simple dimming of lights and introduction of music creates enough atmosphere for a night of celebration.
The same neutral décor, however, also creates the perfect backdrop on which to paint your own theme, whether that be in the elegant Ballroom, which has its own small stage for a band or DJ, or in one of the two adjoining Drawing Rooms where up to 100 guests can be entertained.
Having recently been refurbished the venue has a state of the art sound system in most areas, as well as full lighting rigs or mobile lighting units throughout.
Address: The Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2LR
Telephone: 0131 220 4348
Website: The Assembly Rooms