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Everything you need to know about visiting Northern Ireland

What currency does Northern Ireland use?
Northern Ireland uses the pound sterling (symbol: £), the currency in circulation in England, Scotland and Wales. Mastercard (Access) and Visa credit cards, including Contactless, are in general use and cheques backed by a bank card are widely accepted.

What is the climate in Northern Ireland?
The weather in Northern Ireland is traditionally changeable. The temperature usually stays above freezing, so there is seldom snow or ice, but at any time of year it is advisable to be prepared for rain. From August to October, temperatures remain pleasant and relatively warm at between 14°C to 18°C with September known as one of the mildest and temperate months. Autumn is a pleasant time to visit as it is less crowded and the landscape changes to gold, red and brown.

Is Northern Ireland safe?
Yes. Northern Ireland has the second lowest crime rate in Europe. Even during the years of civil unrest tourists were rarely directly affected. As with all travel, some general safety tips: leave money and valuables in a safe place, lock valuables out of sight or take them with you when leaving your hire car.

Is it easy to travel to Northern Ireland?
There are many direct air routes into Northern Ireland from Britain as well as some North American and European links. Travel time from Dublin Airport is under two hours. There are several ferry routes from Scotland and the north of England. 

What are the Passport and Visa requirements for entry?
For UK nationals a passport is not strictly necessary but photographic identification is required. Check with your airline/ferry company as requirements vary. For other nationals valid passport or national identity card are required. (Passports are not required for travel between Northern Ireland and the Republic). Citizens from Europe and most other western countries do not usually require visas. Further information is available from the British Embassy in your country of origin. For lost/stolen passport information please contact the local police station, embassy or consulate.

Are we required to tip in restaurants?
At a restaurant check your bill to see if the service is included. It usually is. If not and you are satisified with your service, pay 10-15 percent as a tip.

Is Northern Ireland a good place for shopping?
Belfast City Centre is the focal point for shopping. A large mall, Castlecourt, represents the current centre, joined by Ireland's largest mall, Victoria Square, in the heart of the city. Other cities in the North offer popular high street stores, and local enterprises. Ballymena, Londonderry/Derry, Newry and Lisburn are other popular shopping options.

Are there left luggage facilities in Belfast?
Belfast Welcome Centre is the only place that provides this service. £3 per item for up to 4hrs, £4.50 4hrs+. Last pick up is 15 minutes before Belfast Welcome Centre closes. 

What are the useful telephone codes?
To call Northern Ireland from abroad, dial 00 44 + area code (without 0) + local number. To call Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland, dial 048 + area code (without 0) + local number. To call Northern Ireland from elsewhere in UK or to make an internal call, dial area code (with 0) + local number. To call the Republic from Northern Ireland, dial 00 353 + the area code (without 0) + local number.


Electrical current
The standard electricity supply in Northern Ireland is 240 volts. Visitors from some countries may require a transformer and a plug adaptor. A plug adaptor is necessary for visitors to convert 2-pin plugs to the standard 3-pin plugs and can be bought at any electrical supplier.

What happens if I require medical treatment?
EU members will receive treatment as they would at home. A European Health Insurance card (EHIC) is required. Visitors are strongly advised to take out private travel insurance.

Do I need extra car insurance if I bring my car to Northern Ireland?
Additional insurance is not required if travelling from Britain or the Republic of Ireland. Travellers from other countries should check with their insurance companies. Remember to drive on the left hand side of the road.

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