Informatics Forum

The 2017 Workshop on Sound Change will take place at the University of Edinburgh’s Informatics Forum, which houses the research institutes of the University’s School of Informatics. The Forum provides a large, well-equipped conference hall with seating for up to 150 delegates, as well as a large atrium for poster sessions, coffee breaks and conversation.


Located on the main University of Edinburgh campus, within walking distance of the main train station and the drop-off point of the airport-to-city-centre trams and busses, the Forum is close to the proposed accommodation as well as a huge variety of restaurants, pubs, and tourist attractions. It is situated in Edinburgh’s mediaeval Old Town, which forms a UNESCO World Heritage Site together with the 18th century ‘New Town’ just a few minutes’ walk away.

Edinburgh Old Town


For most people, travelling to the Workshop will involve either flying into or getting the train to Edinburgh and then either walking or getting a bus or a taxi to the conference venue (or to your accommodation first, perhaps). It’s easy to get into the city centre from Edinburgh airport: use the number 100 Airlink bus which leaves every few minutes and which drops you off next to the main train station (this is the last stop on the bus journey). This station (called Waverley Station) is where most intercity trains terminate, too. Another option is the Edinburgh Trams. In the city centre, the tram stops at Haymarket Station (there are some hotels in that area and around the nearby financial district), Shandwick Place (the stop is called West End — Princes Street), around the middle of Princes Street, St Andrew Square, and York Place on the edge of the New Town (quite close to the YHA hostel if that’s where you’re staying).

Waverley station is a good orientation point – it’s situated right in the centre of the city, between the New Town and the Old Town, just next to Princes Street (Princes Street is the main central shopping street in Edinburgh), and there are normally lots of taxis available at the station (if you want to take a taxi to the conference venue, ask them to take to the Informatics Forum at the University, next to Bristo Square). It’s about 15 minutes’ walk from the station to the University. You need to head south: walk up from the station into the Old Town along Cockburn Street and then up the Royal Mile and along George IV Bridge.


To book accommodation for the workshop, we recommend first trying:

which is affiliated to the university and is very close to the symposium venue and city centre. The university also has some other types of accommodation at other nearby locations, which may also be worth investigating. (Note that Kenneth Mackenzie, which we would usually advertise, is under renovation.)

If the Richmond Apartments are full, or you’d like to stay somewhere more luxurious or cheaper, the easiest way to find somewhere is to use one of the many internet accommodation search sites. If you try TripAdvisor, you’ll find lots of details and some interesting comments about the hotels (not always to be trusted, but you can probably go by the average opinion). Enter your check-in and check-out dates, select the number of adults staying in the room and click on ‘find hotels’. You can select the currency that you’d like to use and you can ‘sort by’ price or popularity. If you click on ‘map’, you can see where the hotel is – look for one towards the south of the centre. The conference venue is located here.

Some of the options which may be suitable include:

  • Ten Hill Place Hotel – Recommended, if a bit more expensive (very close to the workshop)
  • Hotel du Vin – Recommended, if a bit more expensive (very close to the workshop)
  • Residence Inn Edinburgh – Recommended, if a bit more expensive (very close to the workshop)
  • Grassmarket Hotel – This one may be quite loud (the Grassmarket is a popular drinking area) (about 10 minutes’ walk from the workshop venue)
  • Ibis Edinburgh Centre South Bridge – Fine if faceless (about 10 mins’ walk)
  • Express By Holiday Inn Edinburgh Royal Mile – Looks fine but may be a bit loud (about 10 mins’ walk)
  • Apex City Hotel – May be quite loud (it’s on the Grassmarket), but seems quite nice (about 10 mins’ walk)
  • Radisson S A S – More pricey, but meant to be nice, well situated (about 10 mins’ walk)
  • Fraser Suites – More pricey, but meant to be nice, well situated (about 10 mins’ walk)
  • Jurys Inn – This is in the ugliest building in Edinburgh, but it’s probably fine as a hotel (about 15 mins’ walk)
  • Travelodge Edinburgh Central – Faceless but probably fine (about 15 mins’ walk)
  • Hotel Indigo Edinburgh – Very central in Edinburgh, maybe a little jaded (about 20 mins’ walk from the workshop venue)


The cheapest option would be to stay at one of the many hostels in Edinburgh. These have some very cheap accommodation, and several have private rooms, too. There are a number of hostel searching websites, which should help you to see what’s available, and to book accommodation:

There are hostels all over Edinburgh. The following, listed on the hostel websites above, are all quite close (10-15 minutes’ walk) to the conference venue:

  • Budget Backpackers
  • Castle Rock Hostel
  • Argyle Backpackers
  • Royal Mile Backpackers
  • Safestay Edinburgh
  • Euro Hostel Edinburgh Halls
  • Edinburgh Backpackers
  • St Christopher’s Edinburgh

The main YHA hostel in Edinburgh seems nice, but it’s a bit of a distance from the conference (30 minutes’ walk). There are lots of buses, though.


In line with current Scottish legislation on childcare, the WSC cannot recommend specific babysitters nor provide a room to hold an informal crèche, and unfortunately providing a registered crèche is not possible within our budget. We can, however, make some recommendations.

The Care Necessities connect parents with certified babysitters and part-time nannies, based in Edinburgh. Information about childcare can also be found here: (for “Local Authority” select “Edinburgh City”)

There are several child-friendly activities within walking distance of the Workshop on Sound Change venue (the Forum). The most recommended, especially in bad weather, is the National Museum of Scotland (a 5-minute walk from the Forum). Most of the museum is accessible to children of all ages and there are several rooms of the museum are specifically geared for children. Admission is free. If the weather is nice, there are two playgrounds in the Meadows (also a 5-minute walk from the Forum), one for small children and one for older children. The first can be found by searching “Meadows Playground 1, Edinburgh” in Google Maps, and the second is just a few yards further into the park. On the other side of the park is Summerhall, which runs activity classes for kids, some of which you can drop into.

Slightly further afield from the Forum is Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, which among other things features the Museum of Childhood, which is full of displays of antique toys and little areas where kids can play. Admission is free. Across the street is the Scottish Storytelling Centre, with a nice cafe adjacent to an open area where kids can play dress-up and explore a wall display of miniature fairytale scenes.

The List magazine provides details of events in and around Edinburgh, and they have information about events especially for kids. Just add in dates and location for up-to-date information.