Scotland Glasgow, one of the busiest and wealthiest shipping centers of the 19th century, is having a cultural and economic resurgence. The U.K. City of Architecture and Design in 1999, Glasgow boasts some of the finest Victorian architecture anywhere, including the Kelvingrove Art Galley and Museum, a sandstone landmark available for private functions. Another 19th-century gem: The Corinthian, a recently restored home that is now a luxurious restaurant and club, with elegant private dining and meeting rooms for groups of fewer than 100. And for a one-of-a-kind ceremonial venue, consider Stirling Castle's recently restored Great Hall, which dates to the 1500s.

The city's 10,000 hotel rooms are expected to jump another 20 percent by 2002, attesting to its growing popularity as an international meeting destination. A key to its success is the Scottish Exhibition & Conference Center, next to which a stunning new center for 3,000 recently opened. Built along the historic River Clyde, the complex holds up to 10,000 for theater-style meetings and 6,000 for banquets, with 15 smaller meeting rooms.

For small conferences, try the Cameron House Hotel & Country Club on the banks of the magnificent Loch Lomond, 20 minutes from Glasgow International Airport. It offers 96 guest rooms, an array of recreation options, and antique-furnished meeting rooms. Bustling Edinburgh, home to Edinburgh Castle and surrounding Old City, offers many special event venues, including the geologically themed Dynamic Earth museum, set against the Salisbury Crags overlooking the city. The Hub, home to the Edinburgh International Festival, is a 19th-century building with a glorious, colorful, contemporary interior. And the Royal Yacht Britannia, a majestic yacht that until recently belonged to the British family, is now berthed in Edinburgh's historic Port of Leight. Receptions for between 50 and 250 guests and gala dinners for up to 90 can be accommodated in the vessel.