Before you travel from abroad, you can get information from VisitBritain (www.visitbritain.com or VisitScotland (www.visitscotland.com).
In the United States: 551 Fifth Ave., Suite 701, New York, NY 10176-0799 (tel. 800/462-2748, or 212/986-2200 in New York; fax 212/986-1188); 625 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1001, Chicago, IL, 60611-1977 (tel. 800/462-2748); 10880 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 570, Los Angeles, CA, 90024 (tel. 310/470-2782). In Canada: 5915 Airport Rd., Suite 120, Mississauga, ON L4V 1T1 (tel. 888/VISIT-UK in Canada; fax 905/405-1835 in Toronto). In Australia: Level 2, 15 Blue St., North Sydney NSW 2060 (tel. 02/9021-4400; fax 02/9377-4499). In New Zealand: c/o British Consulate General Office, Level 17, IAG House, 151 Queen St., Auckland 1 (tel. 09/303-1446; fax 09/309-1899).
If you're in London, you can visit VisitScotland, 19 Cockspur St., London SW1Y 5BL (tel. 020/7930-8661); it's near Trafalgar Square, open May to September Monday through Friday from 9:30am to 6:30pm and Saturday from 10am to 5pm. October to April the hours are Monday through Friday 10am to 6pm and Saturday noon to 4pm.
Once in Edinburgh or Glasgow, you will find the Tourist Information Centres more useful. In the capital, the main office is the Edinburgh Information Centre, atop the Princes Mall near Waverley Station (tel. 0131/473-3800 or 0845/225-5121; fax 0131/473-3881; www.edinburgh.org). It can give you sightseeing information and also arrange lodgings. The center sells bus tours, theater tickets, and souvenirs of Edinburgh. It also has racks and racks of free brochures. It's open year-round, though hours vary from month to month. The summer hours are slightly longer and winter times shorter, but typically you'll find the office open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 7pm and Sunday from 10am to 7pm. There is an information desk at Edinburgh International Airport, open typically Monday through Sunday 7am to 6:30pm.
In Glasgow, the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Valley Tourist Board, 11 George Sq. (tel. 0141/204-4480; www.seeglasgow.com), is in the heart of the city. In addition to piles of brochures, there is a small bookstore, bureau de change, and hotel reservation service. During peak season, it's open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 7pm and Sunday from 10am to 6pm. Hours are more limited during winter months.
Edinburgh Information Centre, atop the Princes Mall near Waverley Station (VisitScotland; tel. 0131/473-3800 or 0845/225-5121; fax 0131/473-3881; www.edinburgh.org; Bus: 3, 8, 22, 25, or 31), can give you sightseeing information and also arrange lodgings. The center sells bus tours, theater tickets, and souvenirs of Edinburgh. It also has racks and racks of free brochures. It's open year-round; typically the hours are Monday through Saturday from 9am to 7pm and Sunday from 10am to 7pm, though it is open later during the Festival and closes earlier in the winter months.
What's on the Web?
There is naturally a host of websites that vary in usefulness. The British tourist board's www.visitbritain.org has the overall U.K. picture. But for information on Scotland, it's probably better to go directly to www.visitscotland.com or www.toscotland.com, both of which have detailed information, offer brochures online, provide trip-planning hints, and answer e-mail queries. A slightly more corporate view is at www.scotexchange.net. The other useful and official tourism websites for Edinburgh and Glasgow are www.edinburgh.org and www.seeglasgow.com.
For the most up-to-date events listings, go to www.list.co.uk, which also publishes a fortnightly cultural magazine. The two organizations that operate most of Scotland's historical sites have websites as well: www.historic-scotland.gov.uk for Historic Scotland and www.nts.org.uk for the National Trust for Scotland.
For an independent and eccentric view, search blogs in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Finally, though it is not clear how often they are updated, you might also have a look at www.scotland-info.co.uk, www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk, or www.rampantscotland.com.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.