Scotland Know Before You Go

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.

Tips for visiting Scotland

We hope to make your trip to Scotland easier with some of the following tips.

For Your Trip

  1. Scotland uses the Pound Sterling, which is also used in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
  2. English is the primary language spoken in Scotland, but you may hear Scots and Scottish Gaelic now and then.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. To call the US from Scotland, enter 001 before the area code.
  6. ATMs can be found commonly at gas stations, and banks are equipped to exchange currencies.
  7. Smoking in public is banned in Scotland, and this includes bars and restaurants.
  8. 999 is the emergency service number in Scotland. This is the Scottish equivalent of “911.”
  9. You will need a converter and/or adapter for your electronic devices when traveling to Scotland.
  10. 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

  1. If you are driving in Scotland, you will be doing so on the left side of the road, not the right.
  2. The driver’s seat is located on the right side of the car, as opposed to the left.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. This goes without saying, but make sure to fill your tank with the right stuff. Always read the label.
  7. Many parts of Scotland are rural, so expect farm machinery and the accompanying traffic delays.
  8. Gas is approximately $8.15/gallon in Scotland.
  9. There are fewer traffic lights and more roundabouts (similar to rotaries).
  10. As to be expected in any city, driving in Edinburgh or Glasgow can be difficult so public transportation is advised.
  11. Operating any vehicle under the influence is highly illegal and dangerous.
  12. It is illegal to use a mobile (cellular) phone while driving in Scotland.

Food & Drink

  1. Many restaurants grow their own herbs, or have an arrangement with a local grower.
  2. Although not notorious for their food, the Scottish have plenty of traditional meals that are worth a try, such as oatcakes and haggis.
  3. 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.
  4. “Dinner” is often eaten at lunch time.
  5. When eating out, tipping is not necessary but is not discouraged if you so wish.
  6. Pubs are often equipped to serve food.
  7. Inverlochy Castle, Kinloch Lodge, and Martin Wishart at Loch Lochmond are among some of the finest restaurants in Scotland.

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