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 favourably 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. It’s always worth packing a sweater just in case!

Currency and Banks

The UK currency is pound sterling and bank notes can be withdrawn from a bank ATM using an approved debit card (a transaction fee may apply).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

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.

Custom Regulations

You can bring some goods from abroad without having to pay UK tax or ‘duty’ (customs charges), as long as they are for your own use.

If you are coming from a European Union (EU) country you can bring in an unlimited amount of most goods and from outside the EU you can only bring in a certain amount without paying duty or tax – up to your duty-free allowance

There has been no change to the rights and status of EU nationals in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU, as a result of the referendum.

You must declare any other goods when you arrive at the UK border, as well as anything that’s banned or restricted in the UK. If you owe any duty or tax, you will usually have to pay it immediately.

Electricity and Electronic Equipment

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

Foreign Exchange Facilities

International currency exchanges can be found in the airport and train stations. Ask your hotel reception for nearest locations and opening hours.

Health Care

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will enable you to access state provided healthcare in the UK at a reduced cost and sometimes for free. Non-European nationals are not covered and it is strongly recommended that comprehensive travel insurance is purchased before travelling.

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 08.00 – 21.00.

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

Important Phone Numbers

The international dialling code for the UK is +44

999 – Emergency Services

101 – Police non-emergency

Passport, Visa and Letters of Invitation

Please see Visa Information on our Local SED Website

Postal Services

There is a good network of Post Offices across Scotland. They provide a range of services including the sale of stamps and mailing of letters and parcels. Offices are generally open Monday to Friday 09.00 – 17.30. Saturdays 09.00 – 12.30. Look out for the Post Office sign.

Stamps can also be bought from newsagents, certain shops and visitor attractions.

Shopping Hours

Shops are usually open Monday – Saturday 09.00 – 17.30, with late night shopping on Thursday until 19.30 or 20.00. Many larger stores open all day on Sundays.

Smoking Policy

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

Transport in Edinburgh

Please see our Transportation page for further information.


Very few restaurants include a service charge. Where a service charge is not included and where the service has been good, it is customary to leave a tip of 10 – 15% of the bill. It is not normal to leave a tip in a pub unless you have had a meal with good service.

Value Added Tax

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.