An iconic 19th century landmark in the heart of Edinburgh. We are proud to present the beautifully refurbished McEwan Hall - perfect for a large conference or event.

Seating up to 1,700 delegates in its tiered auditorium, the McEwan Hall is Edinburgh First's largest conference venue. Our other venues nearby - including Appleton Tower and David Hume Tower (DHT), located less than five minutes' walk away – can increase delegate numbers further by utilising their lecture theatres, breakout and catering spaces.

McEwan Hall boasts a Main Hall and full basement access, where there are six seminar rooms equipped with state-of-the-art audio visual equipment and accessible facilities.

Please note that due to the nature of the space, McEwan Hall must be hired as an exclusive venue.

The McEwan Hall was presented to the University in 1897 by William McEwan, not only as a ceremonial hall for graduations but also as a gift to the people of Edinburgh. This iconic Grade A listed building was designed by Sir Rowand Anderson, with lavish interiors by William Palin. The building was actually completed in 1894 but took another three years to complete the interior designs, the centrepiece being the 15 beautifully painted mural panels that make up the vast dome. 

The hall was reopened in 2017 following a painstaking 3-year, multi-million pound refurbishment. This was meant to not only 'refresh' it's beautifully intricate painting and stonework; but also to expand the function of the hall to meet the modern ceremonial and commercial demands of the University of Edinburgh. New spaces were created for conferences, exhibitions, events and education - particular highlights being access to the upper gallery to increase seating capacity and a new expansive basement space that can hold up to 578 people.

At a glance

1,700 Delegates
250 Reception
6 Seminar rooms
Tiered auditorium
Other Edinburgh First venues nearby
State of the art audio visual facilities

Suitable for

  • Conferences
  • Residential conferences
  • Annual general meetings
  • Presentations
  • Lectures
  • Launches
  • Concerts

Venue address

  • George Square area
    Bristo Square

Room Capacities

Main Hall: Ground Floor728108--250144180
Main Hall: First Tier571------
Main Hall: Second Tier476------
Foyer 1501616-503240
Foyer 2872224-804060
Foyer 3872224-804060
Foyer 41223628-1205680
Foyer 5872212-803250
Full hire basement578141104-560200360

Technical Info

Room Size sqm
Ceiling Height
Stage Area
Blackout Possible
Disabled Access
Induction Loop
Main Hall: Ground Floor2262.5mYesYesYesYesYesYes
Main Hall: First Tier--------
Main Hall: Second Tier--------
Foyer 1662.5m--YesYesYesYes
Foyer 2992.5m--YesYesYesYes
Foyer 3992.5m--YesYesYesYes
Foyer 41312.5m--YesYesYesYes
Foyer 5982.5m--YesYesYesYes
Full hire basement--------

Our Location

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Our Accreditations