Delegates’ Guide: What to See and Do in Edinburgh

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By Stewart Mader

Edinburgh, one of the major centers of the Enlightenment, is perhaps best known today for its historic Castle and Old Towne, the Scottish Parliament, and the annual Edinburgh Festival, which roughly doubles the city’s population every August.

For delegates attending the 64th CFA Institute Annual Conference, there’s plenty to see and do in between Conference sessions. To help you make the most of your time in the capital city of Scotland, here are a few not-to-miss attractions–along with tips for one-of-a-kind experiences, from day tours to Golf at Gleneagles.

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle sits atop Castle Rock, an extinct volcano, and is one of the most visible icons of both Edinburgh and Scotland. Evidence of human activity on Castle Rock dates from as early as the 9th Century BCE, and the castle itself has been a part of significant Scottish historic events including the Scottish Wars of Independence, Union of the Crowns (with England), and the Jacobite Risings.

Today, the castle is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and houses the National War Museum of Scotland. Every day at 13:00 (except Sundays, Good Friday, and Christmas Day), the One O’Clock Gun is fired from the north face of the castle. Originally, the gun served as a time signal for ships, but is now a popular tourist attraction. Edinburgh Castle opening hours and ticket information.

Photo credit: Edinburgh Convention Bureau

Royal Yacht Britannia
The Royal Yacht Britannia was commissioned on 11 January 1954 to serve as official transport for the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. The vessel completed 696 foreign visits and 292 visits in British waters during her career and was the last Royal Yacht to be owned by the British Royal Family. After her decommissioning in 1997, the Yacht was moored in Leith, a district of Edinburgh on the Firth of Forth.

Britannia is open every day, with first admission at 10:00 and last admission at 16:00. The self-guided tour lasts about 90 minutes, and audio handsets are available in 22 languages. Ticket information and directions to Ocean Terminal.

Photo credit: The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust

Scottish ParliamentScottish Parliament
The current Scottish Parliament was established in 1997 by a referendum and is responsible for domestic policy issues within Scotland, including agriculture, education, health, and justice, as well as oversight of the Scottish Government. The legislative body conducts business in the Scottish Parliament Building, which has won nine major architectural awards including the Stirling Prize, the most prestigious architecture award in the United Kingdom, and the Specialist Prize for High Quality Urban Design and Landscape Architecture, awarded by the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust.

The next Parliamentary election takes place on 5 May, and the Scottish Parliament will be in session the following week, starting with the “Kirking of the Parliament” on Tuesday, May 10. Parliament is in session Wednesday afternoons and all day Thursday. Directions and Public Gallery ticket information.

Photo credit: Scottish Parliament

Social Activities with Fellow 64th Annual Conference Delegates
CFA Institute has arranged a variety of events and activities for delegates and their guests, from Jogging Tours of Edinburgh and Golf at Gleneagles to Sightseeing Day Tours and an Activity Afternoon including Falconry, Shooting, Spa, or Afternoon Tea.

Partner/Guest Social Activities
The 64th Annual Conference offers an excellent opportunity for delegates to bring guests to experience the excitement of Edinburgh. CFA Institute invites guests to consider two social event packages during their stay: Opening Speaker and Networking Receptions on Sunday and Tuesday evenings, and a Partner/Guest Breakfast and guided tour of Edinburgh Castle on Monday.

Tourism representatives will be available at the Conference to recommend additional places of interest and help you discover Edinburgh’s finest restaurants and attractions.

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