From internet access and electrical adapters to average temperatures and midges – we give you the facts about Scotland.
FAQs about Scotland
- Where is Scotland? Scotland is the most northern country in the UK.
- How many people live in Scotland? We have a population of about 5.454 million (2019).
- What is Scotland’s capital city? Edinburgh.
How many Scottish cities are there? 7 - Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Perth and Stirling.
- When is the best time to visit Scotland? All of Scotland’s seasons offer something different:
- Spring (March, April, May) – seeing leaves and plants bursting into life, watching newborn animals playing, sitting by a tranquil river bed at the start of the fishing season, celebrating Whisky Month, Tartan Day and Easter.
- Summer (June, July, August) – strolling in the sunshine, enjoying a luxurious ice cream, having a blast at a festival or a traditional Highland games, cycling through a leafy forest or along the glittering coastline.
- Autumn (September, October, November) – walking on carpets of golden leaves, seeing migrating birds flying overhead, celebrating St Andrews Day, waking up to a shimmering frost.
- Winter (December, January, February) – lounging by cosy fires, taking winter walks, playing in the snow, shopping at Christmas fairs, celebrating Christmas, Hogmanay and Burns Night.
- What sort of temperatures should I expect? Winter temperatures in Scotland average from about 2 °C to 6 °C, rising to peak in the summer months of July and August, at around 12 °C to 19 °C. On the whole Scotland boasts a largely temperate, if changeable(!), climate that is rarely extreme on either end on the spectrum. But that’s not to say you won’t enjoy colder days in the winter, when the mercury dips to freezing and the countryside turns into a winter wonderland, or brilliant days in the summer, when the sun bathes the countryside in light and warmth.
- What language is spoken in Scotland? English is the main language, though you’ll hear Scots spoken in many places too. Gaelic (pronounced gah-lick) is also spoken in some parts of Scotland, particularly in the Outer Hebrides where it is used by roughly 60 percent of the population.
FAQs for before you visit Scotland
- Can I still visit Scotland after the UK leaves the EU? Yes, you'll still be able to visit Scotland after the UK leaves the EU. For more information and advice, please see our visiting Scotland after Brexit page or check the UK Government advice for visiting the UK after Brexit.
- Do I need any vaccinations to visit Scotland? No.
- What health and safety advice is available for walkers? Read up on mountain safety guidelines and always check the weather conditions before a hike. Also, please be wary of ticks while walking in woodland areas and grassy areas across Scotland, particularly in the Highlands. Please visit the NHS Inform website for further information.
- I need non-emergency medical and healthcare advice. What number should I call? Dial 111 to speak to the NHS 24 service which provides urgent health advice out of hours.
- What is the electricity supply like in Scotland? Scotland enjoys a constant electricity supply throughout the country (including the Highlands and Islands). Power cuts are rare and are usually fixed very quickly.
- Is it safe to drink Scottish tap water? Yes, Scotland boasts exceptionally clean tap water that is perfectly safe to drink
- Will I be able to access the internet? Most accommodation providers offer Wi-Fi (check before you book though!) as well as many cafés and visitor attractions. You should also be able to access roaming data from your phone (charges vary though so please check with your provider before you visit us).
- Can I use my mobile phone? Your mobile should switch onto a UK network while you’re here, though charges for calls and data vary. Check with your own provider before your holiday.
- What are the common shopping hours? Most shops are open from 9am - 5pm, but some may stay open later and there are many that open at the weekend too.
- How much do carrier bags cost? 10p. Shoppers are encouraged to re-use carrier bags.
- How late are bars, pubs and nightclubs open? Most bars and pubs stay open till midnight while nightclubs will be open longer.
- What is the legal drinking age in Scotland? 18.
- How many passengers can a taxi take? Taxis you see in the street will usually accommodate 4, 5 or 6 people, depending on the size of the taxi, but some taxi firms also offer people carriers and minibuses which can accommodate more people. Booking your taxi in advance is a good way to guarantee you’ll get the size of taxi you need.
- How bad is a midge bite? Midge bites are completely harmless and are much less severe than mosquito bites. Some people get bothered by them, some don't but it's always good to have midge repellent on to make sure. We recommend that you try Beastie Be Gone Insect Repellent or Avon Skin So Soft.
- What is Hogmanay? Scotland’s world famous New Year’s Eve celebration on December 31. Hogmanay is a huge celebration in Scotland that involves street parties, traditions and lots of good will to all men and women. Don’t be surprised if you get hugged by the friendly people around you at the bells (midnight) or asked to join an impromptu ceilidh in the street!
- How do I find a place of worship in Scotland? Once you know which town or city you are visiting, have a look online on local maps to find a nearby venue. Many of our places of worship have their own websites with timings of services and details for visiting. If you're not sure, you could drop into the local VisitScotland iCentre during your trip and our staff can help you to find a place to go.
FAQs for when you're in Scotland
- What side of the road should I drive on? Left.
- What is the emergency number? 999.
- What is the international dialling code for the UK? +44.
- What type of electrical adapter will I need? Type G.
- What type of currency can I use? Pound Sterling.
- Do I need to tip? Although there isn’t a big tipping culture in Scotland, it is quite common to tip in restaurants or taxis when you receive good service.
- How much should I tip? 10 percent is a good rule of thumb though most people will be delighted with any amount of tip.
- Where can I exchange money? You can also head to various Post Offices across Scotland which offer travel money and foreign exchange services.