Scotland has much to offer travelers of all kinds. Conveniently located above England, Scotland can be the perfect spot to start a trip in the United Kingdom. Whether it is a golfing trip where the sport was born or a tour in the beautiful highlands, Scotland has something for everyone.
We hope to make your trip to Scotland easier with some of the following tips.
For Your Trip
- Scotland uses the Pound Sterling, which is also used in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
- English is the primary language spoken in Scotland, but you may hear Scots and Scottish Gaelic now and then.
- Contrary to popular belief, kilts are not worn regularly by the public. Odds are, you'll see one worn during a stroll along Edinburgh's Royal Mile, though.
- Scotland runs on Greenwich Mean Time and is generally 5 hours ahead of the East Coast of the US and 8 hours ahead of the West Coast.
- To call the US from Scotland, enter 001 before the area code.
- ATMs can be found commonly at gas stations, and banks are equipped to exchange currencies.
- Smoking in public is banned in Scotland, and this includes bars and restaurants.
- 999 is the emergency service number in Scotland. This is the Scottish equivalent of “911.”
- You will need a converter and/or adapter for your electronic devices when traveling to Scotland.
- Shops are generally not open for as long as they are in the US. Normal hours are 9am-6pm. Anything outside that is a bonus. This is something to keep in mind and plan ahead for during your travels.
Driving in Scotland
- If you are driving in Scotland, you will be doing so on the left side of the road, not the right.
- The driver's seat is located on the right side of the car, as opposed to the left.
- The roads are generally much narrower and there are fewer highways, but this will vary depending on if you are in the less-populated highlands or the lowlands.
- At unmarked crossings, the car from the right (that's right, not left) will have right of way, the same goes for cars already in a roundabout.
- Gas stations can be few and far between in rural areas with almost none of them offering 24/7-service. It is a good idea to refill once your tank is half empty. This will also depend, however, on where in Scotland you will be staying.
- This goes without saying, but make sure to fill your tank with the right stuff. Always read the label.
- Many parts of Scotland are rural, so expect farm machinery and the accompanying traffic delays.
- Gas is approximately $8.15/gallon in Scotland.
- There are fewer traffic lights and more roundabouts (similar to rotaries).
- As to be expected in any city, driving in Edinburgh or Glasgow can be difficult so public transportation is advised.
- Operating any vehicle under the influence is highly illegal and dangerous.
- It is illegal to use a mobile (cellular) phone while driving in Scotland.
Food & Drink
- Many restaurants grow their own herbs, or have an arrangement with a local grower.
- Although not notorious for their food, the Scottish have plenty of traditional meals that are worth a try, such as oatcakes and haggis.
- Haggis is Scotland’s national dish. It is a savory pudding composed of sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices and salt. Needless to say, it is a dish for the brave.
- "Dinner" is often eaten at lunch time.
- When eating out, tipping is not necessary but is not discouraged if you so wish.
- Pubs are often equipped to serve food.
- Inverlochy Castle, Kinloch Lodge, and Martin Wishart at Loch Lochmond are among some of the finest restaurants in Scotland.