FEATURE – The Assembly Rooms, George Street

The Ballroom

Assembly Rooms Edinburgh is back

Following a £9.3 million restoration, Assembly Rooms Edinburgh opened its doors for the first time in 18 months, to reveal the results of a magnificent refurbishment. With over 500,000 sparkling crystals, historically accurate gilding and half a tonne of exclusive Zoffany damask curtain fabric used in the project, the Assembly Rooms has undergone a breathtaking transformation.

Over 250,000 man hours have gone into the project, which has seen plasterwork restored, ornate finishes repaired and 25 chandeliers reconditioned. The entire building has been renovated, with many local skilled craftspeople employing traditional methods to recreate and revitalise the iconic Georgian features which make the venue so well-loved.

Ceiling of the music hall

No other building of its kind exists in such a complete state in the British Isles in public ownership, and this refurbishment has seen the A-listed building restored to its 18th century splendour. As well as the aesthetic enhancements, considerable investment in technology has introduced substantial acoustic and lighting improvements, with state-of-the-art sound systems and flexible seating to transform the venue to host a much broader range of events. Wi-Fi has been installed throughout the venue as well as new heating and ventilation, a large passenger lift, soundproofing, digital signage and better circulation space.

View from the stage in the Music Hall

Commenting on the re-opening of the building, Councillor Richard Lewis, Culture and Leisure Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Today’s official reopening is an extremely special day in the Assembly Rooms’ history. The refurbishment over the last 18 months has breathed new life into this uniquely important venue, combining sensitive and significant repairs and renovation with fully modernised events facilities fit for the 21st century. The Assembly Rooms has been restored not just to its former glory but to where it belongs – at the very heart of Edinburgh life, all year round.”

West Drawing Room

East Drawing Room

Shona Clelland, General Manager of Assembly Rooms Edinburgh added:  “This has been such an exciting project and the whole team is very proud of the work that’s been done – it’s everything we all set out to deliver and more. Everyone involved hopes that the people of Edinburgh are as delighted as we are to have the venue back.”

Steeped in history, the Assembly Rooms has been entertaining Edinburgh for over 230 years. It has hosted visits by the Queen and other members of the Royal family; literary figures from Dickens to Bill Bryson have held readings in its rooms and, as an Edinburgh Fringe venue, comedians and performers from Jack Dee to Lee Evans have come to prominence within its walls.

The Assembly Rooms can now move confidently into the future and offer Edinburgh’s citizens and visitors alike the best in events and customer experience.

The stage from the balcony in the Music Hall

The Assembly Rooms are also the home of the new Assembly Rooms Fringe for 2012 (not to be confused with the Assembly Festival).

All housed in the new building is the new Kiehls shop  (access via George Street) and Jamie’s Italian which we have reviewed. Both Kiehls and Jamie’s are open all year round.

Stunning transformation


The Assembly Rooms can be found at 54 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2LR. Telephone 0131 220 3438.

You can like the Assembly Rooms on Facebook and follow them on twitter @AREdinburgh

Suitable for disabled?

Yes the entire building is accessible now, including the bathrooms.

The Ballroom

The Music Hall stage

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