The majority of banks are open Mon-Fri 0900-1700 with some city centre offices open Saturday morning. Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are widely available throughout the area and most are linked to Visa or Mastercard money systems. Visitors are advised to check with their local bank prior to travelling.
Bureau de Change
Bureau de Change facilities can be found at the airports, train stations, most city centre banks, Tourist Information Centres and travel outlets. Glasgow, Abington and Hamilton Tourist Information Centres operate Bureau de Change and Western Union Money Transfer Services.
Most hotels, restaurants and shops in Scotland accept major credit cards such as VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club and JCB.
British currency is pound sterling (£) and is made up of 100 pence (p). Several Scottish banks issue their own notes in denominations of £5, £10, £20, £50 & £100 which are legal tender in England and Northern Ireland. Bank of England and Northern Ireland banknotes are legal tender in Scotland. Coins come in denominations of 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 & £2.
Customs and Duty Free
For information regarding customs and duty free allowances, please visit HM Customs and Excise.
Driving In The UK
The UK drives on the left hand side of the road. To drive in the UK, you require to have a current driving licence. A foreign licence is valid in the UK for up to 12 months. It is compulsory to wear seat belts in the front seat and if your car has seat belts in the back, they must also be worn. If travelling with your own car you must be properly insured and it is advisable to check your policy prior to your journey. For additional information on driving in the UK, maps, travel insurance or road service, contact the Automobile Association or the RAC (Royal Automobile Club) and for up to date traffic and roadworks information see the NADICS - National Driver Information web site.
The standard voltage in Scotland is 240V AC, 50Hz. North American appliances need a transformer and an adapter; Australasian appliances need only an adaptor. Plugs have 3 square pins and adapters are widely available.
Embassies & Consulates
Foreign embassies can assist travellers with lost or stolen passports and provide assistance in emergencies. Information is available here for European Union Embassies in the UK.
For Police, Fire Brigade, Ambulance and in some areas, Mountain Rescue or Coastguard, dial 999.
EU citizens are entitled to free or reduced cost medical treatment at National Health Service hospitals. With the exception of accident and emergency treatment, all non-EU members will be charged for medical treatment and must have adequate health insurance when travelling.
Information for the Disabled
For details of access and facilities available please contact any Tourist Information Centre or visit http://www.glasgowaccesspanel.org.uk/.
Fast broadband service is available throughout Scotland. You will find complimentary wifi available in most bars and coffee shops as well as in an increasing number of buses and trains. Most accommodation providers will have internet access available for a small fee,
Public Holidays 2015
Easter - Monday, 6 April
May Day - Monday, 4 May
Spring - Monday, 25 May
Glasgow Fair - Saturday, 18 July
Autumn - Monday, 28 September
Christmas - Friday, 25 and Monday, 28 December
On Sunday March 26, 2006 Scotland introduced a new law which bans smoking in public places. The law includes all enclosed or partly enclosed public areas. For more information please visit http://www.clearingtheairscotland.com/
Most public telephones accept coins (10p, 20p, 50p, £1), with a minimum connection charge 20p. An increasing number of kiosks also accept credit cards and offer e-mail and internet access. Mobile telephone coverage is widespread in Scotland with 4G being available in the major cities.
There are 5 main terrestrial television stations in central Scotland. BBC1, BBC2, Scottish Television, Channel Four and Channel 5 offer a wide range of programming to suit all tastes. Satellite, Cable and BSkyB are also available in most hotels and guest houses.
Time in Scotland is consistent with Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) except from late March to late October when Daylight Saving Time is in effect (clocks are put forward one hour). US Eastern Standard Time is 5 hours behind GMT and Australian Eastern Standard Time is 10 hours ahead of GMT. Most public transport timetables use the 24 hour clock.
There are no hard and fast rules for tipping in Scotland. If you are happy with the service, a 10-15% tip is customary, particularly in a restaurant or café with table service. Tipping in bars is not expected, although you can offer to "buy the staff-member a drink" if you have particularly good service. For taxi fares it is usual to round up to the nearest pound (£).
It is strongly recommended that visitors to the UK arrange travel insurance to cover the loss of possessions and money as well as health and dental treatment.
No vaccinations are required prior to visiting Scotland.
Value-Added Tax (VAT)
All purchases in Britain, with the exception of food and books, are subject to VAT, which increases the cost of an item by 20%. Visitors from non-EU countries can claim a refund of VAT from selected shops on goods to be taken out of the country under the Retail Export Scheme. For information on the scheme, please visit HM Customs and Excise.
EU members may travel and work in the UK with no visa requirement. Citizens from the USA, Canada, 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. For additional information on UK immigration and visa requirements visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office web site.
VisitScotland provides information on accommodation, transport, visitor attractions and events for the whole of Scotland. Visit http://www.visitscotland.com/
Weights & Measures
The United Kingdom now uses the metric system for weights and measures, however non-metric equivalents are still widely used. For example many distances are still shown in miles. Food, drink and petrol are sold in metric measures.