Useful Information

This may be your first visit to Edinburgh and we hope one of many! To help you prepare for your visit, we have gathered together some general information from frequently asked questions.

Visa Requirements

EU Members may travel and work within the UK with no visa requirements.  Citizens from the USA, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand do not require a visa to visit the UK but are prohibited from work.  Citizens from other countries require a visa which can be obtained from their nearest British Consular Office.

Currency

The UK currency is pound sterling and bank notes can be withdrawn from a bank ATM using an approved debit card (a transaction fee may apply).

Scottish banks issue their own bank notes but they have exactly the same value as those issued by the Bank of England and they are legal tender in all parts of mainland UK.

For the current exchange rate or value please view a currency converter

Banking

Banks and branches operate different opening hours however the majority of city centre banks are open Monday to Saturday and most provide 24-hour access to ATMs.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

VAT is charged on all purchases in shops, hotels and restaurants at a rate of 20%. Visitors travelling to Scotland on business may be entitled to reclaim the 20% tax charged on event expenses, accommodation, business entertaining, meals, transport and more.  Further details are available from HM Revenue & Customs.  

Government

Scotland is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and plays a full part in its parliamentary democracy. The Scottish Government is based in Edinburgh, with authority over education, health, law, transport and some social services within the country. The United Kingdom (UK) is a member of the European Union.

Electricity

British electrical standards are 50Hz 230 volts, so some North American and European electrical devices may require converters. All will require plug adapters.

Health

No vaccinations are required or recommended for entry in to the UK.

Emergency Services

The telephone number for emergency services (police, fire or ambulance) in the UK is 999.  The police non-emergency number is 101.

The Western General Hospital operates a Minor Injuries Clinic and is open seven days a week from 8am to 9pm.

The main Accident & Emergency Unit is at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, a large general teaching hospital, located 15 minutes from the city centre.

Smoking

Since April 2006, smoking is banned in all enclosed public spaces throughout Scotland, including conference venues, shops, restaurants, pubs and hotel bedrooms.

Local time

During the summer months, the UK observes British Summer Time (BST), which is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Climate

Edinburgh enjoys a moderate year-round climate and does not experience violent extremes of weather that could interrupt a meeting schedule or social calendar.

From April to September, temperatures are mild and compare favorably with other European cities; annual rainfall is less than Frankfurt, New York and Rome. A perfect Edinburgh day dawns with a clear blue sky, warm and pleasant in summer – though in winter often accompanied by a sharp frost. It’s always worth packing a sweater just in case!

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