Signet Library

Venue details
Parliament Square
Edinburgh Area
Telephone (info)
0131 226 1064 (Colonnades)
About the venue

The historic Signet Library, in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town, has such an elegant interior with its classical columns and ornate detailing that it's easy to forget that it is a library for Scottish lawyers.

The Grade A heritage venue has a lower library and an upper library, both in a nave and aisle design, connected by an  imperial staircase. The Lower Library has tall, pale columns (colonnades), with intricate cornices, and a gallery with a gilded balustrade. The room offers good views over Parliament Square and the Royal Mile.

Climbing the grand staircase takes you to the even more impressive Upper Library. Here fluted Corinthian columns extend up to a coffered ceiling with central classical cupola. An upper balcony wraps around the room behind the columns, and encased books line the room's sides.

When he saw it shortly after completion in 1822, George IV called it "the finest drawing room in Europe."

Both libraries have bays off to the side for reading and at the far end of the upper library is a large, stain glass window marking Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.

The Parliament Square building, which connects to Parliament House, is home to the oldest legal society in Scotland, the Society of Writers to her Majesty's Signet (generally solicitors).

The venue is made available for non-legal Edinburgh events, such as corporate conferences, weddings, private parties, and functions.

The Upper Library has been used for the launch of the annual Edinburgh Book Festival and the Lower Library converted into a champagne bar during the festival in August.

Catering company the Heritage Portfolio provide a popular, gourmet afternoon tea in the Signet's Library lower room on certain days of the week, marketed as "Colonnades at the Signet Library". Booking ahead required.


55.9490046, -3.191252