Scotland's contribution to medicine is world-renowned. The Scots' discovery of antiseptics, anesthetics, and penicillin all played a major role on the world's health stage. Medical meeting attendees will feel right at home here. And as a bonus, Scotland is also the home of golf, Edinburgh Castle, haggis, shortbread, and some of the most stunningly rugged scenery in the world. With a rich culture, friendly people, sophisticated cities, exceptional special event venues, and a large variety of accommodations, the most northern part of the British Isles is a very appealing destination for health care conferences.
In the past, Scotland was often combined with trips to London and was considered more of a pre- or post-destination. But much has changed, and more often than not, Scotland stands on its own. Hotel standards are very high, the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh are truly cosmopolitan, and Aberdeen, the oil capital of Europe, has prospered and grown.
Edinburgh Edinburgh, Scotland's capital, is a majestic city steeped in history. With an international reputation for medicine and medical research reaching back to 1726, Edinburgh is particularly well suited as a medical meeting venue. Edinburgh Medical School graduates traveled the world, and two of them, Benjamin Rush and John Witherspoon, signed the American Declaration of Independence. Now planners can use some of the most prestigious locations in the medical field for their events. The Royal College of Physicians, housed in a beautiful building, is popular for symposia. The college's Great Hall and New Library have been the venue for television programs, art exhibitions, concerts, receptions, and dinners. Equally impressive is the Royal College of Surgeons, which houses a fine museum with exhibits tracing the history of Scottish medicine and surgery. Other venues of note include the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and the Law Society's Signet Library.
While the city is rich in medical history, its most famous landmark, by far, is the 12th century Edinburgh Castle, rising 250 feet above the Old Town. (Planners can arrange a dinner and a private viewing of the Crown Jewels of Scotland.) The city is also home to a royal palace, three national art collections, five major theaters, and more than 60 art galleries and museums. Each August, Edinburgh hosts the internationally acclaimed Edinburgh Festival, which attracts performers in opera, ballet, classical music, and theater from around the globe.
Edinburgh's newest special event venue is the recently retired royal yacht Britannia. Available for private cocktail parties and dinners, the yacht offers meeting attendees a taste of the British monarchy's lifestyle. They can stay in rooms slept in by kings, queens, presidents, and members of the royal family. Other exceptional event venues are the Royal Museum and the Scotch Whisky Heritage Center on the Royal Mile. For an exhilarating day ofand fun, Cluny Clays, just across the Firth of Forth, can organize clay pigeon-shooting, off-road driving, and falconry events.
There are a number of high-quality hotels in Edinburgh, ranging from the Sheraton Grand, The Balmoral, Caledonian, George Intercontinental, to the more intimate Bonham and The Howard. For something completely different, consider the art deco Malmaison, with its sister property in Glasgow.
Glasgow Since its tenure as European City of Culture in 1990, Glasgow has continued to build on its reputation as one of Europe's great cultural destinations. Famous for its art and architecture, Glasgow has been chosen as the U.K. City of Architecture and Design in 1999.
To herald this achievement, a new conference facility, The Lighthouse, will open in early 1999. Designed by one of Scotland's most celebrated architects, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the building has been extensively renovated and will play a major role in the millennium preparations. Another Mackintosh design, House for an Art Lover, has just been completed and is ideal for private entertaining.
As more neighborhoods are renovated, new event venues come on line. Two of the more spectacular include the Burrell Collection, featuring more than 8,000 artifacts housed in a gallery in scenic Pollock Country Park, and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, located in a red brick, Victorian-era building.
Like its close neighbor Edinburgh, Glasgow has a varied selection of accommodations. Meeting properties include the Glasgow Hilton (whose grand ballroom can accommodate up to 1,200 guests), to Glasgow Moat House (close to the Scottish Exhibition & Conference Center), to the smaller properties of One Devonshire Gardens and Gleddoch House Hotel.
Aberdeen Aberdeen, Scotland's third-largest city, is renowned for its floral beauty, having won the prestigious Britain in Bloom trophy 10 times. Its ancient university was established in 1494, and much of the original character is still retained. There are fine museums, art galleries, and concert halls. Located in the northeast of Scotland, Aberdeen is recognized as Europe's oil capital, and the revenues earned from oil have been very beneficial to the city's development--road, rail, and air connections are all excellent.
Ardoe House Hotel, the Marcliffe at Pitfodels, Stakis Craigendarroch Hotel, and Thainstone House Hotel & Country Club are fine examples of Aberdeen's upscale country-house hotels that are ideal for meetings.
Royal Deeside, located to the west, offers a plethora of castles, historical sites, whisky distilleries, and amazing views. The summer Royal Residence of Balmoral, selected as the Royal Family's holiday home by Queen Victoria more than 100 years ago, is nearby.
Aberdeen's golf courses cater to players of all levels. In addition, visitors can participate in any number of sports, from the exhilaration of hang-gliding, mountaineering, river-rafting, and buggy-racing, to the more placid pastime of fishing. For organized teambuilding programs, consider companies such as Howie Irvine Sporting Factors, which can provide the ultimate in experiences: driving a tank, picking up an egg in the jaws of an industrial digger, clay-pigeon shooting, and much more.
Conference Centers Scotland's appeal as a meeting destination has led to a growth in conference and exhibition centers.
Glasgow's Scottish Exhibition and Conference Center (SECC) is the U.K.'s largest integrated convention facility. Since opening in 1985, the SECC has organized events as diverse as rock shows, the Scottish Motor Show, and the recently held American Society of Travel Agents annual convention.
Formally opened by Her Majesty the Queen on July 5, 1996, the Edinburgh International Conference Center has quickly become popular among corporate and internationalplanners. As Edinburgh is considered at the forefront of international medical research, engineering, and technology, it's not surprising to see many related programs being held at the EICC.
The Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Center (AECC) is 10 minutes from the airport and the center of town. The home of Europe's major offshore oil and gas industry show (Offshore Europe), the AECC was opened in 1985. Based on the continuing growth in the meeting market, the center is considering adding a further conference hall for up to 800 people.
Golf Resorts Scotland is home to some of the best and most challenging golf courses in the world. And many of these superb courses are located near some of the finest meeting and incentive resorts.
* Gleneagles, a little more than a one-hour drive from Glasgow and Edinburgh airports, boasts three championship courses, a riding school, a shooting school, and a school of falconry. Set in its own 830-acre estate and surrounded by breathtaking scenery, Gleneagles was awarded the Automobile Association's (U.K.'s AAA equivalent) coveted five red stars in 1986 and has retained them ever since.
* Turnberry Hotel, Golf Courses and Spa is magnificently situated on the southwest coast. The hotel overlooks its two famous courses--The Ailsa and The Arran--and is approximately 55 miles from Glasgow and 95 miles from Edinburgh. Each bedroom and suite has been individually designed in the style of a grand Scottish country house. Turnberry is a member of Leading Hotels of the World.
* Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa, located in St. Andrews, is the birthplace of golf. The hotel overlooks the 17th Road Hole of the famous Old Course and is within a few minutes of the university town. The appropriately named Road Hole Bar serves the widest selection of Scottish malt whisky in the U.K. The hotel now has its own championship golf course, the Duke's Course.
* The Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle, set in its own 7,500-acre estate, is in one of the last great wilderness areas of Europe, the Northern Highlands. Skibo has two private golf courses and a variety of other field sports. "Heaven on earth" was how Andrew Carnegie described his highland castle, now home to the Carnegie Club.
Venue Menu From the wilds of the Northern Highlands to the romance of the Borders in the south, Scotland is blessed with a wonderful selection of hotels and resorts scattered throughout the country, many of them with, or close to, golf courses. There's Ackergill Tower by Wick in the far northeast; the Marriott Dalmahoy near Edinburgh; Balbirnie House Hotel, in the Kingdom of Fife; Cameron House Hotel, on Loch Lomond just 20 minutes from Glasgow; and Sunlaws House Hotel & the Roxburghe Golf Course in the heart of the Border Country.
For those looking for unusual venues outside of the major cities, there are many rich choices: Glenturret Distillery; Floors Castle; the awe-inspiring Stirling Castle, considered by many to be the grandest of them all; Glamis Castle, Dalmeny House; and Hopetoun House, to name just a few.
Scotland offers endless possibilities for planners who seek its tranquil shores. Greg Norman, the "Great White Shark of Golf," summed up many visitors' feelings about Scotland, when he said, "I find Scotland very peaceful and relaxing, and I come here at every opportunity. It's the real home of golf and I love it."
The Cradle of 'Gowf' The Scots are in no doubt that it was they who invented golf, or 'gowf' or 'goff' as it was spelled in 1457. In that year King James II of Scotland declared that golf should be "utterly cryit doune and nocht usit" because it was distracting his subjects from their archery practice. In Edinburgh, Mary, Queen of Scots, played Bruntsfield Links, making it today, perhaps, the oldest course in the world where the game is still played. In 1754, the first association of players, the Gentlemen Golfers of Edinburgh, moved to the breezy links of St. Andrews. In 1834 their association became known as the Royal & Ancient Golf Club.
For More Information Scottish Convention Bureau 44-131-343-1608 Fax: 44-131-343-1844 www.convention.scotland.net
U.S. Representative (212) 575-2229, (800) 262-8244 Fax: (212) 719-5763