Edinburgh is a bustling and vibrant city steeped in history. With the city’s skyline, cobbled streets and dynamic social scene the city has something to offer for everybody's tastes and interests.
Edinburgh has been recognised as the capital of Scotland since at least the 15th century. It is the seat of the Scottish Government, the Scottish Parliament and the highest courts in Scotland. The city’s Palace of Holyrood House is the official residence of the British monarchy in Scotland. It is a compact, hilly capital. It has a medieval Old Town and elegant Georgian New Town with gardens and neoclassical buildings. Edinburgh’s Old Town and New Town together are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Looming over the city, Edinburgh Castle, home to Scotland’s crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny, used in the coronation of Scottish rulers.
The best time to visit Edinburgh is in May when days are long, comfortably warm (10oC – 15oC and relatively rain free (it’s the driest month of the year).
Having said that the weather is always changeable and it would be advisable to pack an umbrella or waterproof jacket.
For tourist information about Edinburgh click here for Visit Scotland.
GETTING TO EDINBURGH: VISA & IMMIGRATION
All attendees arriving in Scotland have to proceed through Immigration and Passport control. (If on a domestic flight you do not need to go through immigration). The nearest airport is Edinburgh Airport. If you fly in via London, do look into making the rest of your trip via train. The direct journey from London to Edinburgh only takes 4 hours and allows you to discover the stunning landscapes of Scotland; and your environmental impact will be greatly reduced. Join us in our #Icamebytrain initiative, powered by the FIDI 39 Club!
• All visitors must carry a valid passport that does not expire during your stay in the UK. Irish nationals may continue to use their national ID card.
o You may be denied entry if your passport is damaged or has pages missing
o If you are a dual national you must leave Edinburgh on the same passport you used to enter.
• Visitors may be required to prove onward passage (ie a return ticket)
• Visa applications are NOT required for attendees from the US, EU member states and certain commonwealth countries. However you do need a visa if you are from one of the following countries – please click here for a full list.
• No inoculations or vaccinations are required but various vaccinations are recommended – please click here
Whilst this information is correct at the time of publishing the information may change without prior notice. It remains your responsibility to check your visa requirements before travelling.
It is advisable to take out medical insurance as no treatment will be administered without proof of cover. Be careful if you hire cars or motorbikes and make sure the rental is covered by the appropriate motor insurance.
WHERE TO SHOP & EAT
Edinburgh has a bustling shopping and restaurant scene, and there is plenty to do and restaurants, pubs, bars and cafés to have a bite and a drink. And you will have to taste the local specialties, such as the haggis and the deep-fried Mars bar. And the local Whiskey, of course. Have a look at this website for the list top local foods to taste while you are there.
You will also be able to shop your heart out. Princes Street, located in the New Town, is Edinburgh's most important shopping street, with many international high-street brands and department stores. George Street, parallel to princes Street, is a lot less crowded and offers a great selection of boutiques and high-end stores.
Scotland specializes in tartan, tweed and cashmere clothing, and you will find many small boutiques that specialise in these luxurious materials. For some ideas on what and where to shop, head over to this website.
SHOPPING & SIGHTSEEING: OPENING HOURS
Shopping: most shops are open seven days a week from 09:00-18:00. On Sunday stores have shorter opening hours usually 11:00-17:00. Souvenir shops on Princes Street and on the Royal Mile are generally open until 20.00 each day.
Museums: Most museums in Edinburgh open from 10:00-17:00 five to six days a week and some remain open until 19:30 on Thursdays. Please check before visiting.
Bars, pubs and restaurants: Most Scots usually eat quite early therefore if you want to have dinner later than 21:00 you will need to double check that they will serve you or head to more touristy restaurants.
Banks/Currency: Banks are open Monday to Friday from 10:00-15:30. All airports have ATMs that accept foreign cards. Most taxis, public transport, restaurants and bars accept credit cards.
No-one should have any serious concerns about safety. The Edinburgh crime rate is low compared to other major cities in Europe. In fact it is considered to be one of the safest cities in the UK.
In Scotland, the unit of currency is the pound sterling (£), which is used throughout the entire UK. All major credit cards can also be used across Scotland, with Visa and Mastercard being most widely accepted. The most common banknotes are £5, £10, £20 and £50. The coins in circulation are 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2.
In Scotland you can use both Sterling banknotes issued by the Bank of England and Scottish banknotes. The Scottish banknotes will always be accepted in Scotland, but in some parts of the UK they are not as easily accepted, so we recommend to use your Scottish banknotes as much as possible while in Scotland and reserve the Bank of England pounds if you are planning to visit the rest of Britain.
Examples of Scottish and British bank notes are below:
The public transport system in Edinburgh works well, and allows you to avoid being stuck in traffic. We strongly recommend that you prefer walking or taking the public transport instead of hailing a taxi or Uber; the environment will thank you for it.
Trams, buses and taxis are the easiest modes of transport in Edinburgh. Tickets for buses and trams must be bought BEFORE you travel, usually at the bus or tram stop. Cash and credit cards are accepted.
The UK drives on the left-hand side of the road. Please note that the drink driving rules in Scotland are far stricter than in England. The drink drive limit is now 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood which is the same as any other European countries, ie one drink could put you over the limit.
Scotland uses a 3 pin plug and socket type G. Standard voltage is 230V and the frequency is 50HZ, it is therefore advisable to bring universal plug adapters.
• GMT – Greenwich Mean Time, 1am on the last Sunday in October until last Sunday in March
• BST – British Summer Time, from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October
The Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005, means that smoking in any indoor area is NOT permitted. Smoking outside is only allowed in designated areas.
• 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.
• A tip is not necessary if a service charge has been added to the bill by the establishment.
The tap water in the whole of the UK, including Scotland is safe to drink.
This information was valid at the time of publication and it is subject to change at any time. We reserve the right to correct any errors, inaccuracies or omissions and to change or update information at any time without prior notice