Daily life

Essential information you'll want to know before visiting Edinburgh.

Basics overview - daily
Grassmarket Weekly Market, photo © Greater Grassmarket


The UK uses Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), also known as Western European Time (UTC).

From late March to late October, the UK uses British Summer Time (BST), also known as Western European Summer Time (UTC+01:00).


The official language of the UK is English. Other languages spoken are Scottish Gaelic, Irish and Welsh.


The standard electrical voltage in the United Kingdom is 230 V, 50-60 HZ.

Weights and measures

Money, weights and measures are metric.

Distances and speeds on signposts are shown in miles.

Beer is served in pints.


British telephone numbers comprise an area code and then the local number. The Edinburgh area code is 0131.

The emergency services (police, fire and ambulance) can be called on 999.


It is against the law to smoke in Scotland’s indoor public places.

This includes pubs, restaurants and cafés, public buildings, sport and shopping centres, hospitals, within airports and on public transport.

Shop opening hours

Most shops are open from 9am to 5 or 5.30pm, Monday to Sunday.

Some shops stay open later on Thursdays, and supermarkets, petrol stations and convenience stores are often open late into the evening all week round.

New student guides

Our new student guides contain all of the essential information you need when moving to Edinburgh.

The guide covers topics such as as travelling to Edinburgh and accommodation, as well as information about the resources provided to help you make the most of your time here.