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Useful Visitor Information in Edinburgh

on Friday, 25 May 2012.

Banks

The major Scottish banks have branches throughout the city, those with cash dispensers (ATMs) in the centre of town are: Bank of Scotland, Canongate, Chambers St, George St, 141 Princes St, 38 St Andrews Sq, Shandwick Pl, The Mound (head office); Royal Bank of Scotland, George St, North Bridge, Princes St, St Andrews Sq; Clydesdale Bank, 29 George St, Hanover St, North Bridge.

The major English clearing banks all have branches in the city, and are open Mon-Fri only (phone for opening times): Barclays, 1 St Andrew Sq, T0845-6000; Lloyds/ TSB, 113 George St, Tel: 2264021; HSBC, 76 Hanover St, Tel: 4653200; NatWest, 80 George St, Tel: 2266181.

For currency exchange: Thomas Cook, 79a Princes St, Tel: 2204039. Open Mon-Fri 0900-1730, Sat 0900-1700. Also have other exchange bureaus in the main tourist office at Waverley Market (open Mon-Sat 0900-2000) and in the accommodation kiosk at Waverley station. To change money outside office hours, try the upmarket hotels, though expect to pay a hefty commission. Also American Express, 139 Princes St, Tel: 2259179. Open Mon-Fri 0900-1730, Sat 0900-1600, Sun (Jul-Sep only) 1000-1600.

Car Hire

The main national car-hire companies can all be found at the airport. The following are local companies which may offer better deals: Arnold Clark, Lochrin Pl, Tel: 2284747; Condor, 45 Lochrin Pl, Tollcross, Tel: 2296333; Lo-Cost, 1a Wardlaw Terr (off Slateford Rd), Tel: 3132220; Melville's, 9 Clifton Terr, Haymarket, www.melvilles.co.uk.

Communications Internet: There are cybercafés throughout the city, but two of the best are Cyberia, 88 Hanover St, Tel: 2204403, open Mon-Sat 1000-2200, Sun 1100-2000, prices from £2.50 per half hour (£2 concession) and Web 13, 13 Bread St, Tel: 2298883, open Mon-Fri 0900-2200, Sat 0900-2000, Sun 1100-2000, prices from £2.50 per half hour at peak times (1200-1700 Mon-Sat) and £3.50 at all other times. Both are also listed under 'Cafés'. Easy Everything, Hanover Buildings, 58 Rose St, Tel: 2203580. Open 24 hrs and cheapest in town at £1 per hr.

Post office: Central offices at 8-10 St James Centre and 7 Hope St. There is a late collection from the post box at the Royal Mail head office, 10 Brunswick Rd (one third of the way down Leith Walk). A Poste Restante service is available at any post office, providing you have no permanent address in Edinburgh. Envelopes should be marked 'Poste Restante' in the top left corner with your name above the address of the office.

Cycle hire: Central Cycle Hire, 13 Lochrin Pl, Tel: 2286333, Fax: 2283686. £15/day. Open Mon-Fri 0930-1800, Sat 0930-1730, Sun 1200-1700. Edinburgh Cycle Hire, 29 Blackfriars St, Tel: 5565560. £10-12/day. Open daily 0900-2100.

Disabled Access & Facilities

Edinburgh is not the most accessible of cities, particularly around the Old Town. All cinemas and permanent theatres have full access. Guide dogs are welcome on public transport and at most Festival venues. The Lothian Coalition for Disabled People , Tel: 4752360, Fax: 4752392, publishes Access in Lothian, which they will send out on request. Artlink , Tel: 2293555, provide an arts access service to Edinburgh residents, so should be able to provide information and access hints. New black cabs can take wheelchairs and the taxi firms listed on page all have facilities for disabled passengers. Full details of disabled access on public transport from Traveline, T0800-232323. The Fringe Office at 180 High St, Tel: 2265257, has a Disability Fact Sheet for further information and holds a list of contacts for each venue. Drugs information Crew 2000 has a walk-in information shop at 32 Cockburn St, Tel: 2203404, where volunteers offer impartial information and advice on all aspects of using illicit and non-medical drugs. Open Mon-Wed, Fri and Sat 1300-1700, Thu 1600-2000.

Gay & Lesbian

Gay Men's Health, Tel: 5589444; Gay Switchboard, Tel: 5564049; Lesbian Line, Tel: 5570751). Genealogical research Scottish Genealogy Society Library & Family History Centre, 15 Victoria Terr, Tel: 2203677. Open Tue and Thu 1030-1730, Wed 1030-2030, Sat 1000-1700. £5 per session for non-members. Scottish Roots Ancestral Research Service, 16 Forth St, Tel: 4778214. Open Mon-Fri 0900-1700 by appointment.

Medical Services

Edinburgh's 24-hr accident and emergency department is at The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Petty France, Tel: 5361000. This used to be in the centre of the city, but the exigiencies of private funding iniatives, the greed of property developers and the stupididity of politicians means that it has moved to the suburbs.

If it's not an emergency but you still need to see a doctor look in the Yellow Pages, or call the NHS24 Health line which is a 24 hours telephone service, Tel: 08454 242424.

Alternative medicine: Napiers Dispensary and Clinic, 1 Teviot Pl, Tel: 2255542, and 35 Hamilton Pl, Stockbridge, Tel: 3752130. Open Mon 1000-1730, Tue-Sat 0900-1730. Health practitioners providing non-conventional remedies.

Chemist (Pharmacy): Boots the Chemist, 48 Shandwick Place, Tel: 2256757. Open Mon-Sat 0800-2100, Sun 1000-1700. In an emergency outisde these times, go to The Royal Infirmary.

Dental: Edinburgh Dental Institute, Level 7, Lauriston Building, Lauriston Place, Tel: 5364931. Open Mon-Fri 0900-1500. They provide free walk-in emergency treatment though you still need to book an appointment. If it's not an emergency but you need to see a dentist, look in the Yellow Pages or call the Primary Care department, as above.

STDs/HIV/AIDS: The Genito-Urinary Medicine (GUM) clinic is at Lauriston Building, Lauriston Pl (men Tel: 5362103; women Tel: 5362104). Open Mon-Fri 0830-1700, till 1830 on Thu. Free confidential advice and treatment on sexually transmitted and other diseases.

Laundry

Sundial Laundrettes offer coin-operated or service washes, full laundry service, ironing, dry-cleaning and alterations. They have several branches at: 7 East London St, Tel: 5562743, next to the Lost Sock Diner; 84 Dalry Rd, Tel: 5387002; 17 Roseneath St, Tel: 2292137; Tarvit Laundrette, 7 Tarvit St, Tel: 2296382.

Left Luggage

Left-luggage lockers at Waverley train station, Tel: 5502031, by platform 11, open 0700-2300. Also at St Andrew Square bus station on platform A1 (24 hours) and at Edinburgh Airport, Tel: 3331000, in a portakabin next to the new extension, open 0600-2200.

Libraries

Central Library, George IV Bridge, Tel: 2255884. Open Mon-Fri 0900-2100, Sat 0900-1300. Excellent Scottish and local reference sections. National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Tel: 2264531. Open Mon-Fri 0930-2030, Sat 0930-1300. Superb copyright library, for research purposes only. Reference facilities at the Map Room, 33 Salisbury Pl; open Mon-Fri 0930-1700, Sat 0930-1300.

Lost Property

Property found and handed in to the police (including property found in taxis) is sent to the Police HQ at Fettes Av, Tel: 3113131. It can be collected Mon-Fri 0900-1700. There are lost-property departments at Edinburgh Airport, Tel: 3331000, and Waverley train station, Tel: 5502711. Lothian Regional Transport have a lost-property department at Shrub Place, about a third of the way down Leith Walk, on the left-hand side, Tel: 5544494. Open Mon-Fri 1000-1330.

Safety

Edinburgh is, in general, a reasonably safe and civilized place, but some precautions should be taken. Some areas are best avoided for women walking alone at night. Lothian Road and the Grassmarket are not particularly dangerous but full of beer-soaked revellers who may prove irritating.

The Meadows' walkways are lonely at night and potentially risky.

The narrow, secluded wynds and closes of the High Street have also been the scenes of assaults in the past.

The back streets of Leith are also best avoided at night as they are one of the city's most notorious red-light districts.

If you are robbed or assaulted and need to report the crime, call 999. The police information centre is at 188 High St, Tel: 2266966, open daily 1000-2200. Rape crisis centre: Tel: 5569437.

Tourist Information Centres and Edinburgh Travel Information

The city's main Tourist Information Centre is at 3 Princes St, on top of Waverley Market, (Tel: 0044 131 4733800, Fax: 4733881, http://www.edinburgh.org Open Apr and Oct Mon-Sat 0900-1800, Sun 1100-1800; May and Sep Mon-Sat 0900-1900, Sun 1100-1900; Jun Mon-Sat 0900-1900, Sun 1000-1900; Jul and Aug Mon-Sat 0900-2000, Sun 1000-2000; Nov-Mar Mon-Sat 0900-1800, Sun 1000-1800.) It gets very busy during the peak season and at festival time, but has the full range of services, including currency exchange, and will book accommodation, provide travel information and book tickets for various events and excursions. They also stock a wide range of guides, maps and leaflets covering all of Scotland.

There's also a tourist information desk at the airport, in the international arrivals area (which is the other end to domestic arrivals), Tel: 0044 131 333 2167. It's open Apr-Oct Mon-Sat 0830-2130, Sun 0930-2130; Nov-Mar Mon-Fri 0900-1800, Sat 0900-1700, Sun 0930-1700.

Another useful tourist information resource is the Backpackers Centre, 6 Blackfriars St, Tel: +44 131 557 9393 next to Haggis Backpackers. They provide information about hostels and tours and will book coach and ferry tickets.

The City Council has produced a free map of the different bus routes around Edinburgh. This is available from the TIC or from the LRT ticket centres at 31 Waverley Bridge, Tel: +44 131 225 8616 (open Easter-Oct Mon-Sat 0800-1800, Sun 0900-1630; Nov-Easter Tue-Sat 0900-1630), or 27 Hanover St, Tel: 5556363 (open Mon-Sat 0830-1800). Both offices sell travel cards.

Traveline runs a public-transport information service for Edinburgh, East Lothian and Midlothian: T: 0871 200 22 33 (local calls) or Tel: 0044 131 225 3858 (national calls), Mon-Fri 0830-2000. Their office is at 2 Cockburn St, near Waverley Station. They also have an Android and iPhone App which you can download free.

Below are few of the essential informations which a visitor may need to know

Age Limitation

In order to drink in bar and clubs you require to be 18-years-old, but in few of the bars and clubs one needs to be over 21. The authorised legal age limit for diving is 17, while most of the car rental firms don't hire their cars to below 21s. If you look younger, definately bring some age identification!

Etiquette

Though generally Edinburgh is not that formal a city, but some high-end restaurants have a dress code. You may be required to wear a jacket or jacket and tie, to avoid any hassles do enquire by calling in advance.

Credit Card Payment

Iy you have paid via credit card and you wish to cancel the payment or are willing to get reimbursed in some case. Go to, The Citizens Advice Bureau and the local trading standard office at the advice shop.

Drugs

Regardless confussion over cannabis reclassification as a class C drug early in 2004, soft drugs and hard drugs are illegal in UK.

Embassies & Consolates

To find the list of the consolates and Embassies in Edinburgh click here

Emergencies

In case of some untoward incident like fire breakout or accident call at 999 and inform about the incident and ask in case you require any ambulance or police help.

Gay and Lesbian

There are list of offices of several campaign groups relating to gays and lesbians. Stonewall Scotland (557 3679), Equality Network (07020 93352), Edinburgh Gay Women's Group it runs social nexus from 8.30pm every Wednesday, also see Gay Dads Scotland.

Health

The National Health Service (NHS) treatments are free to all UK residents, EU nationals and students. If you wish you can register yourself with the general practitoner (GP) no fees or charges are levied for all emergency and accidents cases. But if you are not eligible to consult the NHS doctor you will require to pay the charges of the medicines prescribed. For further informations contact NHS Lothian Primary Care Service on 0044 0131 537 8400.

For Help

For various sources of help visit:-

Alcoholics Anonymous (Telephone: 0845 769 7555) Childline (specialises in working with and communicating with children Tel:0800 1111) Gamblers Anonymous Victim Support (0845 303 909090) Edinburgh Women's Rape & Sexual Abuse Centre (call 0131 556 9437, but not 24 hour so for emergency call 999 for police operator)

Identity Proof

You will require your passport or drivers licence if it has a photocard, for changing money and also for collecting cheques.

Internet

To stay connected with the outer world via internet in Edinburgh you are left with many options. There are a lot of public internet access in Edinburgh, majority of the cafes and bars offers free Wi-Fi internet access. For wireless access via a paid for subscription you have Starbucks. Also you can get computers for hire if you are not carying your laptop with you. Edinburgh Internet Cafe 98 West Bow, Old Town (226 5400) daily open from 10am-11pm. Wired Cafe 1a Brougham Place, South Edinburgh (659 7820) daily open from 9am-9pm.

Luggage Left

There is service provided for left luggages at the check-in-area [[www.edinburghairport.com | Edinburgh Airport. If you require locker facility you can avail that in the St Andrew Square Bus Station and Waverley Station 558 3829.

Legal Help

In case you require any legal help do contact your embassy, consulate or high commission. TheCitizen Advice Bureau can lend you advice for such matters. Imigration Advisory Service will help you regarding matter related to visas and immigration.

Money

Pound Sterling (₤)is the currency of Britain, one pound equals 100 pence (p). The paper notes are issued by the Bank of Scotland, the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Clydesdale Bank.

Banks

Usually banks opearte from 9am-4pm (Mon to Fri)few of the banks also remain open later. The ATM's are mostly loacted outside the banks and give 24-hrs cash access. Majority of these ATM's also offers you to draw money on a credit card tied to international network like Cirrus or Plus.

Loss of Credit Cards

If you somehow loose your credit card or it gets stolen, do inform the police and also inform your bank by phone and in writing. Do also call the below mentioned numbers round the clock. American Express (0800 587 6023) Dinners Club (0870 190 0011) Master Card (08900 964767) Visa (0800 891725)

Police

If you need to report any crime on you or any other, do report to the nearest police station, or make a call from the police directory.

Smoking

Smoking is banned from all public places including restaurants and pubs.

Telephones

The area code for Edinburgh is 0131, from outside the UK, dial the international access code (001 if you are in the US), later dial the country code (44 for the UK)then the area code omitting the first 0 and the the rest of the number.

Timings

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) functions in Edinburgh, clock go forwad to run on British Summer Time (BST) at 1am on the last Saturday in March and returns to GMT on the last Saturday in October.

Tipping

Tipping is normal in Edinburgh, tipping upto 10-15% is a familiar routne in hotels, restaurant bars and taxis. While some bars and restaurant do add this in your bill itself.

Visitors Information

In order to provide visitors the right information, Edinburgh and Lothian Tourist Board runs the main tourist office at the east end of the Princes Street.

When to visit

The main attraction in Edinburgh is its cultural festival which starts in the month of August. So those who would love to be a part of the rich cultural and festival facet of Edinburgh August is the best time to visit. During this period the city remain buzzing with festivity and celebrations.

But it is advisable that in winters try to avoid visiting here, as weather remains quite chilly and snowfall disturbs the travel routes and mode of transportations. Summers are quite pleasant and one of the best time to visit here.