General Information on Glasgow
Driving In Scotland
Scotland drives on the left hand side of the road. To drive anywhere in the UK, you require to have a current driving licence. A foreign licence is valid in the UK for up to one year. It is compulsory to wear seat belts in the front seat and if your car has seat belts in the back, they must also be worn. If travelling with your own car you must have proper insurance and it is advisable to check your policy prior to your journey. For additional information on driving in the UK, maps, travel insurance or road service, contact the Automobile Association or the RAC (Royal Automobile Club).
The standard voltage in Scotland is 240V AC, 50Hz. North American appliances need a transformer and an adapter; Australian appliances need only an adapter. Plugs have 3 square pins and adapters are widely available.
Embassies & Consulates
Foreign embassies can aid travellers with lost or stolen passports and provide assistance in emergencies. Detailed information is available for European Union Embassies in the UK and Rest of the World.
For Police, Fire Brigade, Ambulance and in some areas, Mountain Rescue or Coastguard, dial 999.
EU citizens are entitled to free or reduced cost medical treatment at National Health Service (NHS) hospitals. With the exception of accident and emergency treatment, all non-EU members will be charged for medical treatment and must have adequate health insurance when travelling. Please make sure your policies and holiday heath insurance are adequate before traveling.
Information for the Disabled
Scotland has a number of establishments and tour operators who cater for disabled persons and members of Greater Glasgow & Clyde Valley Tourist Board provide details of access and facilities available for the disabled. Contact any Tourist Information Centre or you may wish to visit the following useful web sites: http://www.accesstourism.com/, disabilitynet.co.uk, http://www.project-ability.co.uk/ or radar.org.uk.
Scottish Tourist Board
The Scottish Tourist Board provides information on accommodation, transport, visitor attractions and events for the whole of Scotland. For links to all Scottish area tourist boards, please see our Useful Links page. Now called Visit Scotland.
Smoking is restricted in public buildings and on public transport. Most restaurants have a non-smoking section and some are entirely non-smoking establishments. Travellers are advised to check in advance.
The majority of telephone services in Scotland is provided by British Telecom (BT). Most public telephones accept coins (10p, 20p, 50p, £1) but do not give change. You can purchase BT phonecards in denominations of £2, £3, £5, £10 and £20. Many BT phones also accept credit cards.
There are 5 terrestrial television stations in central Scotland. BBC1, BBC2, Scottish Television (STV), Channel Four and Channel 5, offering a wide range of programming to suit all tastes. Digital, Satellite and Cable are also available in selected hotels.
Time in Scotland is consistent with Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) except from late March to late October when Daylight Saving Time is in effect (clocks are put forward one hour). US Eastern Standard Time is 5 hours behind GMT and Australian Eastern Standard Time is 10 hours ahead of GMT. Most public transport timetables use the 24 hour clock.
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. Tipping in bars or pubs is not expected. For taxi fares it is usual to round up to the nearest pound (£).
It is strongly recommended that visitors to Scotland arrange travel insurance to cover the loss of possessions and money as well as health and dental treatment.
Currently all domestic cats and dogs must be quarantined on arrival in Britain for a period of 6 months. An import licence must be obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food in Britain. Go to the British Quarantine Laws web site for additional information.
No vaccinations are required prior to visiting Scotland.
Value-Added Tax (VAT)
All purchases in Britain, with the exception of food and books, are subject to VAT, which increases the cost of an item by 17.5%. Visitors from non-EU countries can claim a refund of VAT from selected shops on goods to be taken out of the country under the Retail Export Scheme. For information on the scheme, visit HM Customs and Excise.
The UK uses the Phase Alternative Line (PAL) system for videos. Videos not readily available in SECAM and NTSC formats but can be purchased in souvenir shops and Tourist Information Centres for use abroad.
No visas are required for EU members to travel and work in the UK. Citizens from the U.S.A, Canada, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand do not need a visa to visit the UK but are prohibited from working. Citizens from other countries require a visa which can be obtained from a British Consular office. For more information on UK immigration and visa requirements visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office web site.
Weights & Measures
The United Kingdom now uses the metric system for weights and measures, however non-metric equivalents are still widely used. For example many distances are still shown in miles and some shops will display both metric and imperial measurers. Food, drink and petrol are sold in metric measures.
Weather in Glasgow
There is a general misconception that Glasgow is a wet and cold place in fitting with the rest of the Scottish climate, however the west coast of Scotland differs very little in temperature and climate from similar geographic areas in the rest of Britain.
The winter months do bring wind and rain, the spring, summer and autumn months see many pleasant days with temperatures suitable for most outdoor activities.
The sunniest months in Glasgow and the Clyde Valley are April through September. May is, on average, the sunniest month with about six hours of bright sunshine per day.
Glasgow and the Clyde Valley average 2 inches of rain per month during the summer and 3 to 4 inches per month in the winter. This is a major contributing factor to the beautiful lochs, waterfalls and countryside of Scotland.
While Glasgow and the Clyde Valley has very little snow fall in the winter, the area is an excellent stop over point for visitors travelling to the Highland ski resorts.