Frequently Asked Questions About Scotland

General FAQs for Scotland

The capital of Scotland is Edinburgh. It is located in the south-east part of the country and has a population of approximately 495,360 people (in 2018). It is known for its rich history, culture, and architecture with many attractions such as Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, and the Royal Mile. The city also boasts a vibrant nightlife and has a variety of pubs, restaurants, museums, theatres and galleries to explore. Edinburgh is also home to the world-famous Edinburgh Festival which takes place every August. It is one of the UK's most popular tourist destinations with a wealth of things to see and do all year round.

The currency used in Scotland is the British Pound Sterling (GBP). While Scotland does not have its own currency, sterling is also accepted throughout the entire UK. The pound is available in denominations of £5, £10, £20 and £50 notes, as well as 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2 coins. The Bank of England is the central bank for the UK and issues all Sterling notes. Credit cards are widely accepted, but it is always advisable to have some cash on hand when travelling in Scotland.

English is the main language spoken in Scotland, but there are also several other languages that are commonly spoken. The Scottish Gaelic language is spoken in some parts of northern and western Scotland, while Scots is a Germanic dialect found throughout much of central and southern Scotland. Additionally, European languages such as Polish, Lithuanian and French can be heard in areas with high populations of non-native speakers. In some parts of Scotland, a dialect called Doric can be heard. This is a variant of Scots which has its own distinctive vocabulary and grammar.

The best time to visit Scotland depends on your preferences and interests. Generally, summer (June-August) is the most popular time to visit, as temperatures are relatively mild and there are longer days with more daylight hours. This makes it easier to enjoy all of the attractions, activities and cultural experiences that Scotland has to offer. However, if you are looking for a more unique experience, winter (November-February) can be a great time to visit. Although temperatures can get very cold and the days get shorter, this is also when Scotland's famous festivals take place - making it an exciting and vibrant time to visit.

The amount of time you need for a trip to Scotland depends on your individual travel plans and preferences. If you are planning a short trip, 3-4 days may be sufficient to explore Edinburgh and the surrounding area, taking in some of the most iconic sights and attractions. However, if you want more time to explore different parts of Scotland, you should plan for a longer trip - 5-7 days would give you enough time to visit several towns and cities, as well as taking in some of Scotland's beautiful countryside.

In case of an emergency, the main number to call in Scotland is 999. This will connect you to the police for assistance. 112 is also a valid emergency number that can be used throughout Europe. You should also familiarise yourself with your local GP surgery or doctor's contact information in case you require medical attention during your trip. Finally, it is always a good idea to keep the contact details of your hotel or accommodation handy in case you need assistance.

Whether or not you need a visa to travel to Scotland depends on your nationality. For citizens of the UK and most other European countries, no visa is required for a short stay in Scotland. However, visitors from outside the EU/EEA may require a visa for entry into Scotland, depending on their nationality. If this applies to you, you should check the visa requirements of your country prior to travelling. It is also important to make sure that you have valid entry documents such as a passport or ID card, and any other required travel documentations.

Places FAQs For Scotland

The best places to visit in Scotland depend on your interests and preferences. Here are some of the most popular destinations:

 

- Edinburgh: Scotland's capital city, home to iconic attractions such as Edinburgh Castle, Royal Mile and Calton Hill.


- Glasgow: A vibrant city with a unique culture, great shopping and plenty of nightlife.


- Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park: Scotland's largest national park, with stunning scenery and outdoor activities such as hiking and cycling.


- Isle of Skye: An idyllic island off the west coast of Scotland, known for its rugged beauty and picturesque villages.


- Orkney Islands: A group of islands off the north tip of Scotland, known for their ancient sites and wildlife.


- Highlands and Cairngorms National Park: An area of stunning natural beauty, with mountains and glens to explore.

The best way to get around in Scotland depends on where you are travelling and how much time you have available. Public transport is the most common form of transportation, with trains connecting many cities across Scotland as well as bus services running between towns. If you are planning to explore more rural areas, car hire or taxi may be a better option.

Budget FAQs For Scotland

The cost of your trip to Scotland will depend on several factors such as the length of your stay, type of accommodation and activities you plan to do. Generally speaking, a 3-4 day trip to Edinburgh is likely to cost around £200-£300 per person for flights and accommodation. A 5-7 day trip across Scotland can cost approximately £400-£500 per person. Additional expenses such as food, activities and transport should be taken into account when working out the cost of your trip.

The cost of a meal in Scotland depends on the type of restaurant you are eating at. Generally speaking, a simple lunch or dinner in an average restaurant will cost around £10-£15 per person. More upmarket restaurants can be significantly more expensive, with some high-end establishments charging around £50 per person. Fast food options such as fish and chips are usually much cheaper, with meals costing around £5-£7.

Accommodation in Scotland can vary greatly in price depending on the type and location. Budget hotels are usually fairly inexpensive, with prices starting from around £20 per night for a basic room. Mid-range hotels will typically cost anywhere from £50-£100 per night, while luxury accommodation can be much more expensive, ranging from £150-£500 per night. Self-catering apartments, hostels or camping are other popular options that can help keep costs down.

The cheapest time to visit Scotland is typically during its winter months (December-February), when the weather is cold and wet. During this period, flights and accommodation tend to be much cheaper than in peak season (May-September). However, it's important to keep in mind that some attractions may not be open or available during this time.

The best budget airlines in Scotland are EasyJet and Ryanair. These airlines offer regular flights from England, Ireland, Northern Europe and other regions to Scottish cities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen. They also offer competitive rates for domestic flights within Scotland. Other budget airlines that serve Scotland include Wizz Air, Jet2 and Flybe.

Culture FAQs For Scotland

The people of Scotland are incredibly friendly and welcoming. Scots are known for their charming hospitality and ability to make visitors feel at home. In general, Scots take pride in their culture and enjoy a strong sense of community. They are also passionate about their history and traditions, which makes them great sources for local insights into the country's culture.

The popular dishes in Scotland include:


- Haggis – a traditional dish made of sheep’s stomach stuffed with spices, onions and oatmeal.


- Cullen skink – a creamy smoked haddock soup.


- Scotch broth – a hearty vegetable soup served with barley.


- Neeps and tatties – mashed turnip and potatoes.


- Clootie dumpling – a rich pudding made with dried fruit, flour and spices.


- Cranachan – a traditional Scottish dessert made with cream, honey, oats and whisky.


- Shortbread – buttery biscuits traditionally served at the end of a meal.

Sports are a major pillar of culture in Scotland, and there are several that have become particularly popular. These include football (soccer), rugby union, golf, tennis, cricket and shinty. Horse racing is another popular sport with its own dedicated following. There is also a long tradition of Highland Games which involve events such as throwing the caber (a large wooden pole), hammer throwing and tug-of-war. Other traditional sports include curling, bowling and cycling.

Visitors to Scotland should be aware of certain basic etiquette that is expected in the country. It is considered polite to refer to people by their titles (such as Mrs., Dr., or Sir) and last names rather than first names unless otherwise invited. Furthermore, the traditional Scottish greeting of ‘hello’ should be used instead of 'hi'. It is also important to remember that Scots tend to be reserved in public and prefer not to engage in loud conversations or draw attention to oneself. Finally, visitors should try to familiarise themselves with Scottish customs and traditions as much as possible.

The predominant religion in Scotland is Christianity, although the country is becoming increasingly secular. The majority of Scots are Protestant (mainly Presbyterian) and a minority are Roman Catholic. Other religious affiliations include Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism. 
Furthermore, there is an increasing number of people who identify as non-religious or spiritual but not religious. All religions are respected and protected by the law in Scotland. 
Finally, many Scots celebrate traditional festivals such as Hogmanay (New Year's Eve) and Burns Night (celebrated in January to honour the life of Robert Burns). These celebrations are open to people from all backgrounds and faiths.

The popular festivals celebrated in Scotland include:


- Hogmanay – a New Year's celebration which is one of the biggest events on the Scottish calendar.


- Up Helly Aa – a fire festival celebrated in Shetland to remember the Viking Heritage.


- Edinburgh Festival Fringe – the world’s largest arts festival which takes place in Edinburgh every August.


- The Royal Highland Show – Scotland’s largest agricultural event, featuring sheep shearing competitions and art exhibitions.


- Celtic Connections – a celebration of traditional Scottish music, culture and dance.


- St Andrews Day – the national day of Scotland celebrated on 30th November.


- Samhuinn Fire Festival – a traditional fire festival celebrated by the Beltane Fire Society in Edinburgh.


- Glasgow Mela – an annual celebration of South Asian culture which takes place in Glasgow every summer. These are just some of the popular festivals celebrated in Scotland, and there are many more throughout the year

Scotland is a great place to pick up souvenirs, with a number of unique items available. Popular choices include:


- Tartan fabric – Scotland’s national pattern has been used to make everything from scarves and blankets to hats and keyrings.


- Whisky – Scotland is renowned for its whisky distilleries, and it is possible to pick up a bottle of single malt or blended whisky from many souvenir shops.


- Cashmere goods – there are numerous outlets which sell cashmere scarves, sweaters and other items made in Scotland.


- Shortbread – this biscuit is a traditional Scottish treat and makes for an ideal gift.