Contemporary Scotland blends a rich array of cultures from around the world. However, there are several icons considered to be uniquely and recognisably Scottish. From tartan and bagpipes, kilts and Highland games to our national flag, our national drink and the Gaelic language, discover the history and legends behind Scotland’s national icons and how they came to be associated with our country.
The ruins of Arbroath Abbey, Angus
A butterfly sitting on a thistle
Musician Finlay MacDonald at the Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow
The Honours of Scotland comprise a jewel encrusted crown, an elaborate sword and a sceptre, which all date from the 15th and 16th centuries, and have been fought over for centuries, but are now safely ensconced in Edinburgh Castle.
Have you ever thought about learning a little Gaelic? Learn how to speak a few basic phrases on your travels around Scotland, and find information on the language's history, heritage and significance in Scotland today.
Scotland today is mostly an English-speaking country, but it was not always so. Some parts of Scotland still speak Gaelic and Scots, and the dialect in Orkney and Shetland is heavily influenced by Old Norse.