As restrictions begin to ease and in-person events feel like more than just a pipedream, we asked some of our friends and clients to share their fondest memories of Edinburgh and what they’re most looking forward to about returning to our city. So whether you’re planning a post-pandemic trip or just suffering from lockdown-induced wanderlust, let these memories and reflections transport you back to the sights and sounds of our much-loved city.
James Seabright – Producer, Seabright Productions
I’ve spent 20 wonderful Augusts in Edinburgh working on Fringe shows, so it was strange to take a break from that habit in 2020. I’m really hoping that the Fringe and I will be reunited this August! The festival environment is normally busy and hectic, so when I need to take a moment to escape from the hubbub and enjoy the natural beauty of the city, my go-to place is Holyrood Park.
“It is one of the great features of Edinburgh as a city that such great expanses of unspoilt natural beauty are just a few minutes’ walk away from the centre of the Fringe action”
This Royal Park is right on the doorstep of where I stay when I’m in Edinburgh. If I’m feeling especially energetic, I might go for a jog around the road circling Arthur’s Seat. For a more relaxing walk I’ll head over to see the swans at the lake that features in the photo above, or take a stroll through the Innocent railway tunnel which is the gateway to a nice long walk out to Portobello for taking in some sea air.
It is one of the great features of Edinburgh as a city that such great expanses of unspoilt natural beauty are just a few minutes’ walk away from the centre of the Fringe action, and I cannot wait to get back to the festival city to enjoy it all afresh.
James Seabright has been an independent theatre producer and general manager since 2001. With his company Seabright Productions, James is the producer of Trainspotting Live, which has been a staple of EICC’s fringe output since 2017. Find out more about the company at www.seabright.org
Lindsey Whitehouse – Managing Director, Integrity Corporate Events
I can’t wait for Edinburgh to truly come back to life, most of all for the sheer joy of seeing people meeting up again. Even without handshakes or hugs, it will be remarkable. During the pandemic, the simplest things have become so much more meaningful to us – someone remarked to me yesterday how emotional she’d felt just noticing people having meals outside a pub! It will also be interesting to see how event attendees “are” together. I think we still have a lot to learn about getting used to the “next normal” and that’s where venues like EICC and partners like us come in – to ensure people feel and are safe in that environment.
“The simplest things have become so much more meaningful to us – someone remarked to me yesterday how emotional she’d felt just noticing people having meals outside a pub!”
The other aspect of the city coming back to life isn’t quite as obvious, but for me is exciting. It’s more than just delegates coming to the city – it’s the venues, hotels and other suppliers opening up, that teamwork kicking fully back into action to deliver what Edinburgh does so well – brilliant events! Many of us have had to endure a compromised level of activity (or none at all) during all this time – and we’re ready! So I also think that in this next part of (“get thee gone COVID”) life, it will be a time when we, the Edinburgh events industry, appreciate the value of each other, how we all fit together and what we can achieve together.
Integrity Corporate Events is an Edinburgh-based agency specialised in event planning and management, experts in all aspects of events - from event marketing to technology and production. Find out more at www.integrity-events.com
Christopher Garrett – Director of Conference & Event Services, British Association of Dermatologists
We will be back in Edinburgh in September and I am really looking forward to exploring the city and finding those tucked away bars and restaurants to share with colleagues and friends old and new. Relaxing after a long day at the conference, laughing, joking, and enjoying the collective experience in the beautiful surroundings of Edinburgh.
“With the Castle as our backdrop, we can enjoy great food and the unique social atmosphere that Edinburgh has to offer.”
With the Castle as our backdrop, we can enjoy great food and the unique social atmosphere that Edinburgh has to offer. Some of my favourite spots include The Jolly Botanist, Malones, Vietnam House and Thai Orchid – all of which are within walking distance of the EICC.
This photo is from our 2018 Annual Meeting, held at the EICC, showing some of the team on a summer’s evening stroll through the streets of Edinburgh.
The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) is a charity whose charitable objects are the practice, teaching, training and research of Dermatology. It works with the Department of Health, patient bodies and commissioners across the UK, advising on best practice and the provision of Dermatology services across all service settings.
Dale MacPhee - General Manager at Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian
The excitement of building relationships with clients, learning about their vision for their event and their stay with us. The internal buzz from our teams as we plan and prepare to go above and beyond client expectations to make their visit extra special. Seeing the success of an event and receiving brilliant feedback. All in all, this unquantifiable experience is what our team is very much looking forward to returning. The demand is returning, along with wonderful messages of support and we are all in great anticipation of the industry being given the go ahead for a full comeback.
“As soon as you arrive here, you can’t help but fall in love with the city!”
There is something truly magical about Edinburgh; it’s such a unique destination. As soon as you arrive here, you can’t help but fall in love with the city! From the welcoming people to the history-rich culture to the creative, dynamic culinary scene - and despite what they say, it doesn’t just rain in Scotland – Edinburgh is a beautiful city through all the seasons.
Situated in the heart of the city, the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – the Caledonian is just a stone’s throw away from many of the main attractions and with the most castle view rooms of any hotel in the city.
Joe Viña – Vice President & Managing Director, ConferenceDirect
I am blessed to have travelled to over 65 countries, and what has truly stood out the most to me is the people of Scotland… specifically, the folks of Edinburgh.
My favourite activities include visiting Edinburgh castle (try the Haggis…it’s actually really good), or setting up a city tour with one of my favorite ‘Blue Ribbon’ guides like Kenneth – who has never worn trousers his entire life (always a kilt!) and who you would think is Scotland’s official ambassador as he treats everyone like family! Of course, going for a whisky tasting is a must; I just wish we could bring home some of the special local-only favourites.
“I have never met such warm, friendly and genuine people as the folks in this wonderful town.”
Although most of my time has been spent attending conferences at EICC and lovely hotels in the city centre, I have always found time to drop in to a local pub. I have never met such warm, friendly and genuine people as the folks in this wonderful town.
So at the end of the day, getting back out and traveling once again after this pandemic, I could not desire any return as much as my return to Edinburgh. And although there are amazing things to see and do…the best part remains the people.
ConferenceDirect is a full-service global meetings solution company and a leading provider of Virtual and Hybrid meetings. They assist with site selection, conference management, housing and registration to planning the perfect incentive program. Find out more about their services at www.conferencedirect.com