25th International Conference on 
Very Large Databases
Edinburgh - Scotland - UK
7th - 10th September 1999
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General Information

About Edinburgh

Edinburgh, Scotland's capital city, is the perfect location for an international conference. It offers all the facilities international delegates expectů a magnificent city-centre setting, with its ancient castle dominating Princes Street - the main shopping thoroughfare and a plethora of architectural delights. The buildings of the 18th century "New Town" and the Palace of Holyrood House contrasting with the 16th and 17th century tenement buildings of the High Street and Old Town.

The relaxed pace of life in Edinburgh and the city's wonderful variety of cosmopolitan bars, cafes and restaurants will provide the perfect ambience for the Conference.

What to do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a city where there are many things to see and do and visitors to Edinburgh will never be bored. The problem is not what to see but managing to fit it all in.

Festivals

During the month of August Edinburgh hosts several festivals and over a million visitors come to Edinburgh to see an assortment of dance, drama and music. The Edinburgh International Festival (15th August to the 4th September) is over 50 years old and has earned its reputation as one of the world's greatest celebrations of the arts. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe (8th - 30th August) which grew up alongside the International Festival is now the largest arts festival in the world with over 1500 shows this year. There is also the Book Festival (14th - 30th August), the world's largest celebration of the written word and the Film Festival (15th - 29th August) now in its 52nd year and the world's oldest continually running film festival.

Probably one of the best known is the Edinburgh Tattoo (6th - 28th August) held on the Castle Esplanade presenting a mixture of military bands and music from all over the world. A highlight not to be missed is the Fireworks Concert on the 4th September where the Castle is the set for a magnificent fireworks display to music by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Museums and Galleries

There are over 60 art galleries and museums in Edinburgh, ranging from well know ones such as the National Museum of Scotland to smaller ones like the Museum of Childhood. All are equally as fascinating. Two well-known art galleries, the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art and the National Portrait Gallery are situated on the mound, relatively near to the EICC.

Shopping, Eating and Drinking

There are a vast number of shops, restaurants and pubs in Edinburgh. Princess Street is home to many of the high street stores including the oldest independent department store, Jenners, which is a must for shopping with its many floors selling a variety of goods including great souvenirs of Edinburgh.

No matter what kind of food you like there is bound to be a suitable restaurant in Edinburgh as there are such a wide range of restaurants and pubs. If visitors want to learn about beer in Edinburgh they can take a tour of the Caledonian Brewery, near to the EICC, which explains the brewing process and a chance to taste the different beers in the sample cellar. If your taste is for whisky, visitors can see how whisky is made, including a taste of different brands, at the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre.

Sightseeing

There are many attractions to see in Edinburgh, many of which can be viewed on an open top bus tour. In close proximity to the EICC is Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh's most popular attraction. The castle offers an insight into Scottish history, the Scottish Crown jewels and spectacular views over the city. If you time it right you can see and hear the one o'clock gun being fired. The nearby Outlook Tower with the Camera Obscura also offers spectacular birds eye views of the city. Holyrood Palace, Her Majesty the Queens official residence in Scotland, is another popular visitor attraction. New to Edinburgh is the Dynamic Earth, which uses special effects and state of the art technology to tell the story of our planet, from its creation to the future.

For those visitors that don't want to see all the usual tourist attractions, Edinburgh offers a few, more unusual ones. The Witchery Tours - a tour through Edinburgh's closes, telling visitors about Burke & Hare, the hanging of witches and the darker side of Edinburgh's history. Another place with a sinister history is Mary Kings Close. This close lies beneath the City Chambers on the Royal Mile and has been built over since its original inhabitants died of the plague, some say the close is haunted.

If you don't have much time it is very pleasant to stroll around the city, either along the Royal Mile or Princess Street and just admire the beauty if the buildings or sit in Princess Street gardens and take in the surroundings. Edinburgh is always bustling at this time of year and there is always something to see and do.

Weather

The weather in Edinburgh is always unpredictable. It is advised that delegates not only bring summer wear, but also some warm clothes, a raincoat and umbrella. Comfortable walking shoes are always a good idea.

Banks and Currency Exchange 

The United Kingdom's currency is the Pound Sterling. Currency exchanges are available at:

  • All UK airports 
  • Edinburgh Waverley Rail Station
  • Bureau's de change in Edinburgh 
Delegates will also be able to exchange currency in most Edinburgh city centre banks. The nearest bank to the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (5 minutes walk) is The Bank of Scotland, 1 Castle Terrace, Edinburgh, open from 09.00 until 17.00, Monday to Friday, with the exception of Wednesday when the opening hours are 10.00 until 17.00

Customs/Entry Regulations

EU and US citizens require a valid passport but no visa for a UK visit (however, we recommend checking with your travel agent at booking time). 

Official information for all countries is held at The Foreign & Commonwealth Office. (http://www.fco.gov.uk/travel/imm_visa.asp).

Time Zone

Edinburgh is located in Greenwich Mean Time Zone, however during the conference we will be in British Summer Time, which is GMT+1.

Useful Telephone Numbers 

All numbers are for calls originating within the UK. For calls made outside the UK add 44 and remove the initial "0".
 
Airports and Airlines  Telephone Number URL
Aviation.uk.com    http://www.aviation.uk.com/airports.html
BAA   http://www.baa.co.uk/
Edinburgh Airport 0131 333 1000 (links to these airports can be found
Glasgow Airport 0141 887 1111 at the above web sites)
London Gatwick Airport 01293 535353  
London Heathrow Airport 0181 759 4321  
London Luton Airport  01582 405100  
Air France  0131 333 5050 http://www.airfrance.com/
Air UK 0345 666777 (reservations)  
  0131 344 3325 (enquiries)  
British Airways  0345 222111 http://www.british-airways.com
British Midland 0345 554554 (reservations) http://www.iflybritishmidland.com/
Continental Airlines 0800 776464  http://www.flycontinental.com/
Delta Air Lines 0800 414767 http://www.delta-air.com/
Easy Jet  01582 702900 http://www.easyjet.com
Go-fly 0845 6054321 http://www.go-fly.com/
KLM  08705 074074 http://www.klmuk.com/
Sabena 0131 344 3222 http://www.sabena.com/
Trains    
Rail Enquiries 0345 484950 http://www.railtrack.co.uk
Buses    
Bus Station, Edinburgh 0131 558 1616  
National Express 0990 808080  http://www.nationalexpress.co.uk/
Stagecoach 0141 333 1100  
Traveline 0131 225 3858 (local service information)  
Taxi Cabs    
Capital Castle Taxis 0131 228 2555  
Edinburgh Tourist Board 0131 557 1700 (general enquiries)  
Clansman Monarch 0131 226 5222 http://www.clansman.com/
EICC 0131 300 3000 http://www.eicc.co.uk/eicc.html


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