Are you wondering what to know about Scotland before visiting? Everyone should get a chance to experience Scotland culture. Knowing some of the unique elements before you can can help prepare you for your trip. I’ve found the better prepared for a trip I am, the more I can do and see, and also the more I can enjoy.
10 Unique Things to Know About Scotland’s Culture
There are a lot of countries that speak english daily – and Scotland is one of these countries, except that their accents are THICK! I wish I could replicate the accent myself without sounding silly. I definitely had to politely ask them to repeat themselves – especially in restaurants/bars with lots of background noise
Most people don’t realize that Scotland sits at about the same latitude as Alaska, yet doesn’t have a climate that is nearly as cold. The Scottish owe thanks to the prevailing winds blowing north across their country.
Who doesn’t love a good ginger? A redheaded Scot (I’ve learned it’s Scot with one t, and not Scott like your buddy from math class) isn’t just a stereotype; various sources peg about 10% of the Scottish population as redheads – making Scotland and Ireland the most redheaded places in the world!
Yes, in Scotland they drive on the other (left) side of the road, but what is more interesting to me is that the entirety of Scotland seems to have done everything they can to produce as few traffic lights as possible. The resultant effect is that they constructed round-abouts instead.
If you don’t know what a round-about is, it involves all cars merging into a big circle at the same time rather than each direction taking turns going through an intersection. In Scotland even big intersections with traffic lights often do it via round-abouts. While there getting used to driving on the other side of the road is difficult, but I also struggled merging into round-abouts at a proper speed (sorry to those local drivers I probably annoyed).
Kilts are a big part of Scottish culture, i.e. Scottish man skirts. Yes, these are a part of Scottish culture, but don’t expect to see every Scot wearing them. They are more of a historic tradition rather than modern day fashion. Oh, and don’t call the common pattern plaid, it’s tartan.
While bagpipers are also more of a historic tradition, in my experience music with bagpipes does still appear to be relatively common. I love the sound!
Loch Ness Monster
Looking for weird things to do in Scotland? Try looking for the Loch Ness monster. Loch Ness (loch is the Scottish word for lake) is not actually inhabited by some dinosaur like water monster, and the locals don’t actually think it is either (though some did back in the day). Now the talk of “nessie” is just for fun, and an excuse to visit an absolutely beautiful lake.
In Scotland golf is a big deal! This is likely due to the sense of pride due of inventing the sport and having the oldest course (most sources). What’s not being debated is that there are more courses per person in Scotland than any other country in the world.
As much as I love Scotland I am not a fan of the “national dish”. Haggis is made by cooking a sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs with pudding, vegetables, and spices in the sheep stomach. It does taste better than it sounds, but even still I can do without.
Oh, and one final thought… the locals don’t call it ed-in-burg, instead they call it ed-in-burr-uh. Highly recommend visiting Edinburgh while on your trip to Scotland. This amazing historical city feels like you are stepping back in time and is one of the many best things about Scotland.
What other unique aspects of Scottish culture did I miss? Let me know in the comments below!
MORE BLOG POSTS ON SCOTLAND
Traveling to Scotland was a dream come true. These are my most popular blog posts on Scotland to help you plan your trip.
The Most Beautiful Places to visit in Scotland: 28 Mind Blowing Photos Of Scotland
Best Castles in Scotland: The 15 Best Castles in Scotland
Best Things to do in Scotland: Top 10 Things to do in Scotland
What to do with 3 days in Scotland: 3 Day Scotland Itinerary
Top Things to do in Stirling Scotland: Best Things to do in Stirling Scotland
Unique Things to Know About Scottish Culture: 10 Unique Things to Know About Scotland’s Culture
Beautiful Places to visit on a Road Trip: 20 Pictures of Scotland that Will Help You Plan A Road Trip Through Scotland
A guide to the two main Scottish Cities – Edinburgh or Glasgow? Edinburgh or Glasgow, Which City in Scotland Should You Visit?
A Scottish person is a Scot, not a Scott!
The”warmer” weather in Scotland (and the entire UK) is nothing to do with winds. It’s because of the Gulf Stream – a warm water current that comes across the Atlantic from the Gulf of Mexico. Glasgow is actually further north than Moscow.
Correct spelling – roundabout.
You forgot the single malt, or the finest whiskey in the world called Scotch. Yum
Thick can mean stupid in the UK, so the term “thick accent” may be best avoided.
Some Scots could make a bit more of an effort to make themselves understood to outsiders, but there is nothing wrong with the Scottish accent per se, it’s just that Americans just aren’t so familiar with it. There are other parts of the English speaking world with their own accent quirks, including in America.