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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The UK currency is pound sterling and bank notes can be withdrawn from a bank ATM using an approved debit card (a transaction fee may apply).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 are legal tender in all parts of the UK Mainland

Banking

Banks and branches operate difference 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 charge on event expenses, accommodation, business entertaining, meals, transport and more.

Government

Scotland is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and plays a full part in its parliamentary democracy.  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 my require converters.  All will require plug adaptors.

Health

No vaccinations are required or recommended for entry into the UK.

Emergency Services

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

The Western General Hospital   

This hospital operates a Minor Injuries Clinic and is open seven days a week from 8am to 9pm. The main Accident and 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 favourably with other European cities.

Places of Worship

There are opportunities for worship in a wide range of faiths including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism, as well as multi-denominational institutions, which welcome people of all faiths or none.