Venue FAQs

How do I confirm a booking?
Just let us know you want to go ahead and that’s you confirmed. We’ll then give you a contract to sign which we’ll need back within two weeks. We’ll also need a deposit from you to secure the booking, then you’re good to go!

Can I provisionally book a date for a venue at AccessEA?
Yes, that’s no problem. We’re always happy to provisionally hold space at the venue while you make decisions. Generally this will be for a week or two, but we might be able to stretch to longer, it depends on what you need. Just talk to one of the team and we can negotiate!

Can I book a viewing at the venue?
Yes, we’d love to show you around. Call us on 0131 624 4919 and we’ll get you booked in.

Do you provide in-house catering? If not, do you have a preferred list of caterers?
We've carefully selected a small number of preferred caterers to help make your event a success. We can contact them on your behalf, or we're happy to put you in touch and let you speak to them direct. Find out more here (link to services section)

Can I appoint my own caterer?
No, but we have a carefully curated list of caterers who we know do a fantastic job and have worked in our spaces before. Between them they offer a wide range of menus and catering options, so there’s bound to be something you like. Link here to services section

What are my options for food? Buffet, family style, individual plates?
We match food and the way it is served to your event and can offer everything from a formal dinner to a casual buffet.

Can you accommodate special diet requests?
Yes of course, just give us some warning - two weeks if possible. Just let your event designer know as soon as you can about any special diets we need to consider.

How many choices can you offer my guests for meals?
It depends on the venue and how many people you have coming to your event, but there are definitely spaces where we can offer meal choices. This is one to chat to your event designer about.

How many wait staff will be provided?
This depends on how many people are coming to your event and how you are serving food. Once we know this, we’ll figure out how many people we need to help with service and then book them in.

When do I need to give final numbers for catering?
We’ll need final numbers and dietary requirements 14 days before your event. This means we can

get everything organised in good time with suppliers. Small changes can be made at no charge up to seven days before your event.

Can we have a menu tasting with the caterers?
Yes, we can arrange menu tastings. There might be a small charge on occasion (it depends how fancy you are going), but please do talk to us and we’ll go from there.

Can we supply our own drinks?
No, all drinks must be bought at the venue. We have a hand-picked selection of caterers that can provide you with a variety of drink menus. Find out more here (link to services section)

Do your spaces have a bar?
We can add a bar to any space you like, as long as we have licensing approval.

Does the venue have a liquor license to serve alcohol?
We operate under an occasional liquor license so need a minimum of six weeks to apply for an event licence with Edinburgh Council. As long as you book in advance, a licence shouldn’t be a problem.

Do you provide the alcohol and bar service?
Yes, our preferred catering suppliers will provide the bar service and alcohol.

What drinks are included in the pricing?
Please speak with your event designer to confirm drinks packages.

Do you provide a cash bar or an open bar?
We are able to provide either a cash or open bar.

Do you offer a corkage fee?
No, we don't at this time, but please speak to your event designer who can talk to you about our preferred caterers and the drinks menus they offer.

Can wine/liquor be given as an event favour?
Yes, a single measure, sealed for drinking off the premises.

Is there a standard event finishing time?
Yes, it’s carriages at midnight please. (We don’t cater for pumpkins).

Are children allowed at functions?
Yes, although it does depend on the event. When we apply for an occasional liquor licence we need to detail whether children will be present and it may affect whether or not the licence is granted. It's usually fine for events like weddings where there is a mix of ages, with a stipulation that children are kept away from the bar, but if it's something like a gig we might only be granted a licence if we admit over 18s only.

Are there booster seats or high chairs available for children?
Yes, just let us know in advance what you need and we’ll hire these in for the day.

Do the rooms have air conditioning?
The James Clerk Maxwell Science Centre foyer has automatic temperature control which will open roof vents when a certain level is reached, keeping the room cool. We also have air con in the Studio (part of the Sports Centre). The rest of the spaces rely on natural ventilation.

Do I need to have event insurance?
Yes, you’ll need liability insurance to secure your booking of £5m minimum.

How many people can sit at one table?
Our round banqueting tables can seat ten guests comfortably.

Do your venues have accessible toilets?
Most spaces have direct access to toilet facilities. However, not all are accessible. Please chat to your event designer about how we can make sure you have the right facilities for your event.

Do AccessEA venues have their own entrance?
Yes, most spaces have their own entrance. The only exceptions are the Studio (Arboretum Road) and Mill’s Suite (Henderson Row).

What if I book an outdoor space and the weather is terrible on the day?
We have a range of indoor alternatives which we can use as a back-up plan. Your event designer will talk about contingency plans and make sure you have a plan B.

Is there a designated smoking area?
No, there is no smoking anywhere in all AccessEA venues and grounds.


Is there car parking available on site?
Yes, and it’s free! We have room for more than 200 cars at our sites. And if you’re expecting even more people, there’s also on-street restricted parking near both sites. We can also accommodate coaches if people are arriving on masse.

Where is the nearest train station?
Edinburgh Waverley and Haymarket train stations are just a short taxi drive or less than 15 minutes’ walk away.

Where is the nearest motorway?
The M8 J1 is only seven miles from the venue.

Can I bike to the venue?
Both AccessEA sites are well served by cycle paths through Edinburgh and have on-site cycle shelters to safely stow your bike.

Where is the nearest hotel?
The area is well served by hotels - if you want to search nearby our postcode is EH3 5BL. Some city centre options are the Raeburn Hotel, the Bonham Hotel, the Sheraton Grand and the Balmoral.

Are there decorating restrictions?
Yes, we kindly request that nothing is fixed to the walls and all decorations are pre-agreed with your event designer. But we can share lots of ideas about how to make the spaces look amazing without fixing anything on the walls.

Can we have candles?
Yes you can.

Can we have table confetti / sparkle?
No, sorry, this isn’t allowed in our spaces. But we can suggest lots of alternative ways to dress your space and make it look amazing.

Do the rooms have natural light?
Yes, they do. All of our spaces have been designed to make the most of natural light.

Do the rooms have blackout facilities?
Yes, some of our spaces have blackout facilities. Both the Main Hall and Magnusson Centre on Henderson row have these facilities, along with the Main Hall at Arboretum Road and most of our classrooms on both sites.

Can the ceiling lights in the Main Hall change colour?
Yes. They can be any combination of red, green, pink, white, light blue, dark blue and yellow.


Which of your spaces have a stage?
There is a stage in the Main Hall, Magnusson Centre and Dining Hall (Henderson Row) and one in the Main Hall (Arboretum Road). We also have 30 sections of stage deck available, so we can set up a stage almost anywhere.

Can the stage be removed?
It can be taken from the Magnusson Centre but the stages in the Main Hall (Henderson Row), Dining Hall (Henderson Row) and Main Hall (Arboretum Road) are fixed.

Do you have Wi-Fi?
Yes we do, and it’s free! We have a 100Mb uncontended internet connection, and can prioritise traffic for video conferencing and bandwidth intensive events.

Do you know any AV suppliers?
Our go-to AV partner is WarPro. Have a chat with them on 0845 519 4538 or see what they can do for you here (insert link)

Can I hold a civil partnership at an AccessEA venue?
Yes we are licensed to hold civil partnership ceremonies here.

Can I get married at an AccessEA venue?
Yes, we are licensed to hold civil wedding ceremonies at the venue.

Is the venue hire fee included in the wedding / partnership package?
Yes it is.

When will I need to pay for my wedding / partnership?
Once you have confirmed that you wish to hold your ceremony here with us, we’ll need a 25% deposit from you. We’ll need a further 25% six months after you’ve booked, and the remainder two weeks before the big day.

Can we have confetti?
Yes, but only outside the venue.

Can AccessEA accommodate the ceremony?
Yes. We have a wide variety of locations to choose from across our two sites, from the spectacular Main Hall at Henderson Row, to the intimate space of the Robertson Room, or, if the Scottish weather holds out, Donaldson's Garden amongst the blossom of the cherry trees.

Are the ceremony and reception held in the same room or separate rooms?
It’s up to you. When you book for exclusive use, the choice is yours, and it depends on what you want your event to be like.

Do you provide the seating for the ceremony?
Yes we do. Standard Chivari banqueting chairs are included in our wedding package, but we work with a range of quality event furniture hire companies and can find something different for your event, just talk to us about what you'd like. (link to preferred partners section too)

Can I have a rehearsal at the venue and a rehearsal dinner?
Yes, both can be booked as part of your hire package.

Will there be any other events taking place on our wedding / partnership day?
If you have booked on an exclusive hire basis, there will be no other events taking place on your special day.

Is there a secure area to store gifts?
Yes, we can make sure there is a safe place to keep all your gifts and goodies from your special day. Just speak to your event designer and they can sort this out.

What rooms are included with exclusive hire?
Book on an exclusive hire basis and you’ll have the space to yourself. Which rooms are included depends on how many people you plan to invite and the kind of event you are planning. This is something to chat about with your event designer, who can recommend the ideal space, or combination of spaces, that will best suit your needs.

Who is going to make sure things run smoothly on the day?
Your event designer will be with you every step of the way through the months of planning before the event. They will then introduce you to the venue duty manager who will look after you and everything that is happening on your special day.

Do you provide place cards?
We don't, but check out our preferred suppliers for someone who can. (link to preferred suppliers)

Do you provide a place for the cake?
Yes, there will be a place planned for the cake. Where possible, we ask that your cake is delivered and put in place ahead of your event. This will minimise the amount of times it gets moved about, and so lessens the chance of it being damaged. We are happy to help assemble the cake following instruction but cannot accept liability if it’s damaged.

Do you provide a cutting knife?
Yes, the catering team will provide this.

Is there a cake-cutting fee?
No. There is no additional fee if you’ve booked the venue for exclusive use. However, there is a nominal fee if not.


Can we book our own band or DJ?
Yes, we can accommodate both live bands and DJs. The live music finishing time will depend on the occasional licence but will be midnight as standard.

What kind of sound system do you have? Speakers, microphones, etc.?
Please chat with your event designer. We have a lot of AV equipment in-house and can hire in extras if we don’t have what you need.

When can the band or DJ set up?
This can be sorted out with your event designer. Just let them know how much time they’ll need and they can figure out the best time within your hire period.

What time do you allow music to play until?
Subject to licensing, music can play until 12 midnight.

Are there any photography or video restrictions?
Chat to your event designer about this - they can let you know what the deal is with the use of event imagery.