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Common Questions

This page lists some of the most common questions about travelling to and visiting Northern Ireland. If you cannot find what you are looking for on this page, please email us at and we will try our best to answer your question.


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. Summer months sometimes see prolonged periods of sunshine. Information on sun protection for those visiting or living in Northern Ireland is available at

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.

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 which opened in July 2008. Other cities in the North offer popular high street stores, and local enterprises. Ballymena, Londonderry/Derry, Newry and Lisburn are other popular shopping options.

Can visitors to Northern Ireland avail of tax free shopping?

All visitors from outside the European Union are able to avail of tax free shopping in the UK when they purchase eligible goods from participating retailers.

The scheme is entirely voluntary so look out for the Tax Free Shopping logo (below) before you purchase.

More information can be found here, by clicking on the Easy Read pdf symbol.

Tax Free Shopping logo

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. Telephone for further details (028) 9024 6609.

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.

What currency does Northern Ireland use?

Northern Ireland uses the £ sterling, the currency in circulation in England, Scotland and Wales. Unlike the Euro which is used in the Republic of Ireland, £ sterling is not linked to the Euro. Mastercard (Access) and Visa credit cards are in general use and cheques backed by a bank card are widely accepted.

Will I be able to use Euro in Northern Ireland?

Most large stores will accept Euro currency, however please enquire first to confirm if there will be a charge attached to this service and to confirm exact rate.  Visitors are advised to plan ahead and bring sterling currency as smaller businesses may not except Euro, or may not give the best exchange rate compared to banks, post offices etc.

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. Other nationals- valid passport or national identity card required. (Passports are not required for travel between Northern Ireland and the Republic). Citizens from Europe and most other western countries- visas not usually required. Further information available from the British Embassy in your country of origin, call: 0300 222 0000 or visit For lost/stolen passport information please contact local police station, embassy or consulate.

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. See the Travel section of the site for more information.

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. The form can be obtained on their website, post office or telephone: 0845 606 2030. Visitors are strongly advised to take out private travel insurance.

What is the best time of the year to come to Northern Ireland?

Come between April and October for the best weather, although our winters never get very cold. Northern Ireland's climate is mild and temperate, with mild winters, very little snow and warm summers. More information

What is the average cost of accommodation?

Expect to pay a minimum of £20 B&B per person to £33 or more in a top guesthouse. Hotels are more expensive unless you get a special offer. Additional publications available:
- Bed & Breakfast Guide 
- Self-Catering Holiday Homes
- Budget Accommodation
- Caravanning & Camping Guide
- Hotel & Guesthouses

What should I budget for lunch & dinner?

The average pub lunch (without drinks) costs approximately £8 per person. Dinner for two without wine in a mid-priced restaurant costs approximately £30.

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.

What are the normal postage charges?

Postcards require a 41p stamp for the UK; 60p for the Republic and other countries within the EU; 67p for countries outside the EU. Internet cafes can be found in most large towns throughout Northern Ireland and some libraries have an email service available free of charge.

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.

Can I bring my dog to Northern Ireland?

Rules vary: it depends on the type of animal, your country of origin and the countries you pass through on route. Make sure you plan ahead. Travelling from elsewhere in the UK, either directly or from the Republic, there are no restrictions, but check ther requirements of your ferry/airline company. Cats and dogs arriving at the UK from the continent can enter Ireland without quarantine, provided they satisfy requirements of UK Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). This scheme has now been extended to the USA and Canada. PETS Helpline +44 (0) 28 90 524622,

Do I need a licence to drive a hire cruiser?

No, basic training is given on arrival.

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.

Bus Passes
Like all other areas of the UK the Northern Ireland Senior Citizen Smart Pass cannot be used in other  parts of the UK.  Which also means England, Scotland and Wales passes cannot used in Northern Ireland.
The reason for the above is that the terms and conditions for senior citizen Smart Passes are determined by the individual UK Assemblies (in England this responsibility is devolved to the local County Councils).  The operational and management of the Smart Passes is complicated and operationally it would be impossible to monitor and administer a UK system.


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