Practical Matters


Although the UK is part of the European Union, it has kept its own currency rather than switching to the Euro. The currency is the pound sterling £, commonly known as simply the pound. VAT, the tax on produce is currently at 17.5%, and is almost always included in the displayed price. Tipping is optional, but 10% is common in restaurants and taxis.

ATMs are commonplace around Edinburgh and the Lothians and most businesses accept credit and debit cards with Chip and Pin verification. Banks tend to open from 9am until 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am until lunchtime on Saturdays.


Edinburgh observes Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in the winter and British Summer Time (GMT+1) in the summer. Clocks go forward one hour on the last Sunday in March and go back one hour on the last Sunday in October.


The international dialing code for the UK is +44


UK electricity runs on a 3-pin 230V system. Therefore electrical appliances from the continent will require an adaptor.

Emergency Services

In an emergency, when you require either the police, fire brigade, coast guard or an ambulance, then call 999 for assistance.


Accident and emergency facilities can be found at the Royal Infirmary, St Johns in Livingston (West Lothian) and, for children under 12, the Royal Hospital for Sick Children. A minor injuries unit can be found at the Western General, open everyday from 9am until 9pm. Contact details for those hospitals are included below. In an emergency, phone 999 for medical assistance.

Royal Infirmary
51 Little France Crescent
Old Dalkeith Road
EH16 4SA
T: 0131 536 1000

Western General Hospital
Crewe Road South
T: 0131 537 1000

St Johns Hospital at Howden
Howden Road West
West Lothian
EH54 6PP
T: 01506 523000

Royal Hospital for Sick Children
9 Sciennes Road
T: 0131 536 0000