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Location: Glasgow Guide / Glasgow Information / General Tips for Travellers 1  

General Tips for Travellers 1

Opening Hours / Dress Code / Local Cuisine / Drinking Habits / Costs / Currency / Exchange Information / Credit Card Information / Tipping

Opening Hours

    Shops in Glasgow city centre are generally open for business between 9.00am and 5.30pm (Monday to Saturday) - although some retail outlets now open to 6.00pm. Thursday is an established 'late opening day' when many stores will remain open until 8.00pm. More and more shops within the city centre and other established retail areas are opening on Sundays, generally from 12.00pm to 5.00pm. Some shops, such as off licences (Carry Out Shops), have extended opening hours to sell alcohol, but even these will rarely be found open beyond 9.00pm. Supermarkets are a law unto themselves, with some providing 24-hour access. The Barras Market in the Gallowgate is a very popular shopping venue for many Glaswegians at the weekend - eager to get a bargain.

    Post Offices are open until 5.30pm on weekdays, until 12.30pm on Saturdays and are closed on Sundays. Most major banks are open from 9.30am to 4.30pm on weekdays, with an increasing number also providing service on Saturday mornings until 12.30pm.

    Pubs usually open from early (around 11.00am, although some open as early as 8.00am) until about 11.00pm, midnight or even later. Clubs and discos open until 3:00am.

Dress Code

    Glaswegians generally have a relaxed and informal dress code. Men sometimes require a jacket and tie for eating out at the most exclusive restaurants. Casinos will not allow entry to males without a collar and tie and discos have a very varied dress policy dependent on the desired age clientele. However denims/jeans will normally guarantee a 'knock-back' at the door. You will only rarely see a Scotsman in traditional Scottish dress in Glasgow - although a few hardy individuals do insist on wearing it as everyday wear. Kilts are, however, very popular among men attending formal functions in the city.

Local Cuisine

    Glasgow has an outstanding range of restaurants, sure to cater for every possible pallet. Most wine bars, bistros and pubs also serve food, and many of these are on a par with the established restaurants. The traditional cafe and fish-and-chips establishments are slowly disappearing, invariably being replaced by American-style fast food outlets.

Drinking Habits

    Glaswegians are great lager and whisky drinkers, often choosing well-established local brands. Cider and stouts are also quite popular and are available in most bars, cafes and restaurants. Wine is particularly popular in restaurants, but not nearly as popular as in the rest of Europe in the pubs. The Scottish, in general, are partial to a good drink, need I say more?


    A quality newspaper (e.g. The Herald) will cost about 55p and a tabloid (Daily Record) will cost in the region of 35p. The price of a man's cut and blow-dry haircut is around 7, while womens' haircuts tend to be more expensive, anywhere from 10 to 30+. Eating out at the lower end of the market: a Macdonald's value meal will cost about 3.59 in the city centre and a three-course business lunch in one of the many Chinese restaurants will set you back about 7. To launder a shirt will cost about 2.50 and dry-cleaning prices range from about 5.50 for a dress, to 10 for a man's suit. A pint of lager costs around 2.10 - the same price as a measure of spirits. Tea or coffee will usually set you back about 1 and a sandwich to go with it will start at about 2.50. Cinema tickets cost about 5 and there is a range of prices for theatre tickets, depending on where you go: from 5 to 25. Airmail letters and postcards to the United States and Canada cost less than 60p each and letters to anywhere in Europe will normally cost 38p. Letters within the UK cost 28p for first-class (overnight) mail and 20p for second-class (the day after tomorrow). The main post offices in the city centre can be found at 47 St Vincent Street (0141 204 3689) and 228 Hope Street (0141 332 4598).28p (First Class) and 20p (Second Class).

    NB. The prices of most goods you see in shops, hotels and restaurants includes a tax called VAT, or Value Added Tax, at the rate of 17.5%. Overseas visitors to Glasgow can reclaim the VAT on goods by using the Foreign Exchange Tax-Free Shopping arrangements, available only in participating shops - look for the sign in the window. To claim a refund of VAT, you must complete a Tax-Free Shopping form at the shop where the goods are purchased (make sure that you take your passport with you on shopping trips for this) and then present the form and the goods to HM Customs and Excise prior to leaving the UK.


    The unit currency of the UK is the Pound Sterling () divided into 100 pence (p). Coins come in denominations of 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, 1 and 2. Notes are available in 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100. Be aware that Scotland has its own currency and there have been instances where this has not been accepted in England, even although it is transferable and legal tender (with the exception of the Scottish 1 note, which is not legal tender in England). Also, because of past forgery scares, some establishments throughout Glasgow and beyond may be unwilling to accept higher denomination notes such as 50 and 100.

Exchange Information

    Branches of a major banks will exchange money at a competitive rate and not charge too much in way of commission. Exchange bureaux tend to offer very good exchange rates but can charge a heavy commission fee. The UK has no restrictions on the amount of cash and travellers' cheques you bring into the country - the more, the merrier!

Credit Card Information

    All standard brands, such as Visa, American Express, Access, MasterCard and Diners Club are widely accepted. It is advisable to carry cash as some establishments in more the local districts will not accept credit cards. Always make sure you verify in advance the methods of payment accepted for hotel booking, restaurant payment, taxi fares, etc. Credit cards can be used in ATM machines to get cash, assuming you have a valid PIN for overseas use.


    In restaurants, check if a service charge has been added to your bill - if it has not, it is customary to leave a tip of 10-15% for staff. Taxi drivers are most appreciative a tip of 10%, with a minimum of about 50p. Hairdressers and barbers also appreciate a tip of 10-15%. If using the services of a bellboy or doorman in a 4- or 5-star hotel, he would expect 1 for his troubles. You are not expected to tip theatre and cinema ushers, but bar staff always welcome a wee contribution to their sometimes modest earnings.

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