BEFORE YOU GO

THINGS TO KNOW FOR YOUR TRIP

Time Zones

Wales, like the rest of the United Kingdom, is on Greenwich Mean Time from the last Sunday in October until the last Sunday the following March. Otherwise, British Summer Time is observed, in which case the clocks move forward one hour in the spring, and back one hour in the fall. Note: The United States changes back and forth to Daylight Savings Time on different Saturdays from Wales, so it is best to check according to your travel schedule. Assuming standard time in both countries, New York City is five hours behind Wales, while Los Angeles is eight hours behind.

Weather

While Wales has a generally moderate climate, the varying topography can produce microclimates from one place to the next. It might be raining along the coast, for example, but simultaneously sunny and warm at points inland. The same change can be observed in any part of Wales, where it might be wet and cool in the morning, but clear and warm by the afternoon. The main thing to bear in mind is that the weather can often be unpredictable, so bring a raincoat and waterproof walking shoes/boots (and an umbrella, so it won’t rain). The best chance for good weather is in the months of June, July and August, when temperatures are at their highest (high 70s Fahrenheit). The months immediately surrounding the summer also offer nice days for hiking, biking and generally moving around the country. A nice surprise during the summer are the long days, with light in the sky as late as 10 pm due to Wales’s northerly latitude. Cardiff in South Wales is at 51º 28′ N, while the northernmost city in the US, Northwest Angle, Minnesota, is at 49º 38′ N. Winter is of course a different matter, with temperatures averaging around 43º Fahrenheit and snow-topped mountains creating some gorgeous photo opportunities.

Currency

Wales uses the pound sterling (£) of the United Kingdom. Check online or with your bank for the latest conversion rate.

Tips

It is customary to leave a tip as a thank you to waiters, valets, and other service providers.   In restaurants, bars and cafes, you usually leave at least 10% of the total of the account; If the service was very good, you can leave up to 15%. Some restaurants or bars include tip in the in the final bill, so be sure to have a look first.

VAT (Value Added Tax) Return to Tourists

If you make purchases in Wales, you may be able to request a refund of the 20% VAT. To do so, you must make purchases at establishments displaying signs for the VAT Refund Scheme. At the end of each purchase from such merchants, ask for a VAT 407 form or a VAT Retail Export Scheme sales invoice. You will need to fill out the form in the presence of the merchant and present your passport as proof that you are eligible for a VAT refund. Once at your departure point for your home country, UK customs will require you to show all VAT forms and purchase receipts. Once the forms have been stamped as approved, your VAT will be refunded to you by whatever method you and the merchant(s) agreed upon at time of purchase.

There is no VAT refund for services, so you will not be able to recover the tax paid for lodging and meals.

Voltage and Plug Adaptors

Electrical outlets in Wales and throughout the United Kingdom provide 240 volts and require a plug adapter (see photo) for non-UK appliances that are dual-voltage (see photo). Other items you bring with you that only operate on 110-120 volts will also require a transformer that can plug into the adapter.


Tourist Assistance

Once in Wales or elsewhere in the United Kingdom, you can obtain information from The Visit Wales Contact Centre by phoning 0333 006 3001 or via email at info@visitwales.com.

If you are entering the United Kingdom from a non_EU country, you are allowed to bring in up to 1 liter of spirits, 200 cigarettes, £390 of perfume and souvenirs, and cash less than €10,000. Any item(s) exceeding these limits must be declared to UK Customs upon arrival.