New Surgeons’ Hall attraction draws global tour operators and guests

The first fortnight of Slàinte is being hailed a huge success and could prove fruitful for the Edinburgh economy 

Visitors from Venezuela to Japan have flocked to a new Edinburgh attraction in its first fortnight – suggesting the traditional Scots night could become the next globally popular attraction for the city.
They’ve been checking out Surgeons’ Hall’s newest venture, Slàinte, a showcase of Scotland’s finest traditional food, drinks, dancing and music – which all take place in the ancient Playfair Hall.
Launched on Friday 13 May, the event’s first fortnight has seen visitors travel from locations as far flung as Quebec, Alabama, Sweden and Spain, with the broad appeal of the night providing a flavour of Scotland’s many traditions.
Located in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic Old Town, the team at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh Commercial Enterprises has made some minor changes to the set-up of from a pilot night and says it plans to refine the evening programme to best reflect the appetites of show-goers.
Scott Mitchell, commercial director at Surgeons’ Hall, said: “There is an undoubted demand for these kinds of events – we knew this from the success of Jamie’s Scottish Evening at the King James Hotel.
“For 40 years visitors have been flocking to Scottish evenings – think how much more amazing that experience will be in the unparalleled setting of the Playfair Hall.
“We are hugely excited about opening up the genuine Scottish architectural gem to visitors from all over the world and seeing the Slàinte reputation grow.”
On the guest list since launch has been a number of international tour operators from across the globe, including both Japan and Venezuela, a promising sign for the potential of the event.
Mitchell added: “While targeting visitors to the city on a small group basis is of course important to the running of such an ambitious entertainments package, getting interest from tour companies can boost numbers to a level that will see Slàinte become one of the city’s most popular nights.
“From the interest we have received across the board from those who have attended the few nights we have run so far, we know we are well placed to make Slainte more regular and more popular, not only in the coming months but in the long term as well.
“We expect to be able to use this as a base to expand to as many as seven nights a week, which, of course, is fantastic news for everyone involved.”
Not resting on its laurels, Surgeons’ Hall say it’s continuously looking to improve on the entertainment on offer, having already added a lyrics sheet for each guest so they can join in with some of the folk classics being played by the live band. The most recent event saw visitors giving their all to renditions of Loch Lomond and Flower of Scotland.
Changes have also been made to better show off the venue, drawing greater attention to the ornate features and works of art within the building.
One of the world’s oldest medical institutions, Surgeons’ Hall was founded in 1505 after receiving a Royal Seal of Cause from the town council which was ratified by King James IV in 1506.