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General Info about Manchester, England


Visa Requirements

EU citizens may live and work free of any immigration controls. Citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are generally allowed to stay six months without a visa.


Currency

The pound sterling (GBP) is the currency used in England as well as the rest of Great Britain.


Language

The language spoken in Manchester is English.


Climate

Manchester has a temperate maritime climate, which tends to mean cool summers and mild winters. Temperatures hover around 15ºC during July and August, the warmest months of the summer. During the winter, January tends to be the coldest month with lows of approximately 3ºC. The city sees quite a bit of rain each year, with over 120 millimetres falling in December, the city’s wettest period. May is the month in which Manchester sees the most sun, with around 6 hours of sunshine each day.


Medical Care

Medical care is free to residents of the UK. If you are from outside England, even if you are a member of an EU member state, you may be required to pay for any medical treatment.


Time Zone

Manchester is located in the Greenwich Mean Time Zone (GMT) which is one hour behind Central European Time (CET) and five hours ahead of Easter Standard Time (EST).


Opening Hours

Shops in Manchester are generally open between 9am-6pm, with late night shopping on a Thursday. More and more shops open now on Sundays from 12pm-6pm. Banks are usually open between 9.30am and 3.30 or 5.00pm.


Tourist Offices

The city’s main tourist office the Manchester Visitor Information Centre, Town Hall Extension, Lloyd Street. It opens from Mon-Sat 10am-5.30pm, Sun 10.30am-4.30pm.


Tax

In Britain, a 17.5% sales tax (VAT) is levied on all goods and services. This doesn’t apply to books or food but it must, by law, be included on your restaurant bill. With regards to shopping, this tax can be claimed back on goods taken out of the country by non-nationals but not all stores participate in this 'Retail Export Scheme' so, before purchasing, look for a sign or enquire.


Currency Exchange

Travellers cheques are widely accepted in the city’s banks and currency can be exchanged here too. Banks tend to offer the best exchange rates and commission is sometimes charged for cashing travellers cheques in foreign currencies. If you have sterling travellers cheques there’s no commission fee, if you cash them at a bank affiliated to the issuing bank.

There are a huge number of cash points throughout the city and all major credit cards are widely accepted. These can also be used to obtain cash advances from ATMs or banks. You can also use regular bankcards which are members of the bigger international networks including Cirrus, Plus and Link in machines which bear the symbol.


Electricity

The electrical current used in Manchester is 220V.


Telephones

The international code for the UK is +44. The area code for Manchester is 0161. If you're calling from outside the UK, dial the international code of the country you’re in, drop the first 0 for Manchester and dial the number.

If you’re dialling overseas from within Manchester, dial 00 (international access code), the country code, then area code and the local number.


Post Office

The main post office is located at 26 Spring Gardens.


Tipping

Some restaurants in Manchester include a service charge in the bill and if that’s the case a tip isn’t necessary. However, if it’s not, you should leave a tip amounting to at least 10% unless you were unhappy with the service.


Public Holidays

It is worth noting what the public holidays are before you travel there as the majority of businesses, banks and shops usually shut for the day.

In England they take place on January 1st (New Year’s Day), Good Friday, Easter Monday, first Monday in May (Early May Bank Holiday), last Monday in May (Spring Bank Holiday), last Monday in August (Summer Bank Holiday), December 25th (Christmas Day) and December 26th (Boxing Day).

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