following travel tips have been put together in order to ensure that visitors
to Scotland are familiarised with important information on their destination.
We hope that they will go some way to making your trip that bit more enjoyable.
AND SHOPPING HOURS
Shops generally open Monday to Saturday from 9:00am to 5:30pm or 6:00pm.
In popular visitor areas, many shops stay open until later in the evening
during the summer, while in larger towns and cities, there is usually
late night shopping until 7:00pm or 8:00pm on Thursday evenings throughout
the year. Scotland also offers Sunday shopping in most towns, though shops
in smaller communities sometimes tend to close on Sunday and also may
close on a particular afternoon during the week.
Non-EU visitors to Scotland can reclaim the Value Added Tax (VAT)
on goods only by using the Foreign Exchange Tax Free Shopping arrangements.
This service is not available in every shop, so VAT can only be reclaimed
on goods purchased from shops participating in the scheme. A tax-free
shopping form should be obtained and completed at the place of purchase
(remember to take your passport with you) and subsequently presented to
HM Customs and Excise as you leave the UK.
AND CHANGING CURRENCY
The five main Scottish banks include Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank
of Scotland, Clydesdale Bank, TSB Scotland and Girobank. Banks open Monday
through Friday at 9:00am or 10:00am and close at 4:00pm or 5:00pm. Some
banks open late on Thursdays and a few also open on Saturday mornings.
All Scottish bank notes, though different than English notes, are normally
accepted in the rest of Britain, while Northern Irish bank notes are also
accepted in Scotland.
banks usually give the best exchange rate for foreign currency and most
banks offer this service. It is also possible to change money in airports,
larger railway stations, travel agents and some larger hotels (if you
are a resident). Bureau de Change often charges a handling fee and commission.
details on banking in Scotland and information on currencies, please check
Most large shops, stores, hotels and restaurants in Scotland will
accept the majority of credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express,
Diners etc.). However, it is advisable to carry some cash money in case
of difficulty as many smaller accommodations, pubs, tearooms and small
shops are unlikely to accept any form of credit card.
There are no definite rules for tipping. If you feel that you have
received good service then you may wish to leave a tip. This is most common
in restaurants, where it is normal to leave 10% of the total bill but
you should check to see if a service charge has already been included.
Tipping in hotels is also at your discretion. It is not normal to tip
bar staff, although they are sometimes offered a "drink", which they can
take when off duty. Taxi or cab drivers are often given a tip, particularly
on longer journeys, with £1.00 to £2.00 normally sufficient.
In Scotland, bank holidays generally apply only to banks and some
financial and commercial offices, whereas in England and Ireland, they
are usually public holidays. Christmas Day and New Years Day are of course
usually taken by everyone. Scottish towns and cities normally have a spring
and autumn holiday and while the dates of these holidays vary from year
to year and sometimes place to place, they are always on a Monday.
& ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT
Voltage is 240v 50Hz. Most establishments in Scotland have square-pin
sockets for 3, 5 and 13 amp fuses. You can buy an adapter at your departure
Telephone numbers comprise an area code (always beginning with 01)
and then the local number. A typical Scottish phone number would be (01224)
908123. Whenever dialling another UK phone number from within Scotland,
one should always dial the complete number (both the area code and local
encounter any difficulties, the local operator can be contacted toll free
by dialling 100.
a Scottish number from outside the United Kingdom, dial your own country's
international access code for the UK, followed by the code for the UK
(44) and then the area code, dropping the first 0. Taking the above number
as an example, the number would be:
Code +UK Code +Area Code +Phone Number
** 44 1244 908123
If golfing, one should always pack golf waterproofs, which allow easy
movement. While polo shirts and light trousers may well be required, it
is essential to have adequate rain gear. Because of the variable weather,
clothes should be flexible enough to allow for temperature change. Between
May and September, it is often warm but a light waterproof coat or jacket
should still be packed. From October to April, heavier sweaters are recommended,
particularly is spending any amount of time outdoors.
Visitors who become ill while in Scotland are eligible for free emergency
treatment at National Health Service Accident and Emergency hospital departments.
If however, you are admitted to hospital as a patient, or referred to
an outpatient clinic, you will be asked to pay unless you are a citizen
of a European country or a resident of a country, which has a reciprocal
health-care agreement with the UK.
therefore strongly advised to take out adequate insurance cover before
travelling - although it is unlikely that anything will happen, one it
is best to be covered. You do not need an International Certificate of
Vaccination for entry to the UK but you should check if one is required
for re-entry to your own country. Scotland does have midges (small flies)
that bite, so if you intend spending time out of doors, you should pick
up some insect-repellent at a chemist.
For details on restaurants recommended on this site, one should check
out the restaurant section on Vacation Planning.
restaurants, including those in hotels, usually open from 12:00 noon to
2:30pm for lunch and from 6:00pm to midnight for dinner, although these
times do vary greatly. Country establishments however, often tend to close
that bit earlier so it is important to pre-check. Last orders are often
taken up to 45 minutes before closing.
bistros, cafes and pubs remain open throughout the day for morning coffee,
afternoon tea and beverages. One is also likely to come across the widely
held Scottish institution of high tea, particularly in the smaller establishments
in rural areas. This is a meal served between 4:30pm and 6:00pm approximately
and consists of a simple main course accompanied by bread, cakes and tea
opening times for licensed premises are from 11:00am to 2:30pm and 5:00pm
to 11:00pm Monday through Saturday, 12:30pm to 2:30pm and 6:30pm to 11:00pm
on Sunday. Many pubs however, open all afternoon, while some have a late
license, particularly at weekends.
RESTAURANTS - WHAT TO PAY
of food and drink varies considerably depending on the type of establishment
you choose. As a general guideline, eating out in a pub at lunchtime will
cost from around £6.00, while it is usually that bit more expensive in
a restaurant. Dining in the evening obviously varies greatly but one can
expect to pay from £15.00 to £25.00 per person for a good meal.
generally cheaper than hotel lounges when purchasing alcoholic drinks.
A measure or "nip" of whisky costs approximately £1.50, while a pint of
beer costs around £2.00 or more. One should note that Scottish draught
beers are usually ordered by the pint or half-pint, while some of the
recommended local brews include Tennants and McEwans.
Scotland's roads include a motorway network in central Scotland, with
dual carriageways to key places further north such as Aberdeen and Inverness.
In some areas of Scotland, particularly the Highlands and Islands, there
are often single-track roads, which demand extreme caution.
on the left-hand side of the road, with overtaking only permissible on
the right-hand side. Visitors should also remember to give way to the
right on roundabouts. Speed limits are 70 mph on motorways and dual carriageways,
60 mph on single carriageways and 30 mph in built up areas, unless otherwise
stated. It is also compulsory to wear seatbelts (front and back) in Scotland.