Fun Facts From Globus Tours
- Scotland is the second-largest country in the United Kingdom.
- Scotland is comprised of approximately 790 islands, out of which around 130 are inhabited.
- England and Scotland joined as Great Britain in 1707.
- Scotland is world-renowned for its Scotch whisky.
- Edinburgh was the first city in the world to have its own fire brigade.
The abiding glory of Scotland is in its majestic scenery, especially the Highlands of the north, one of the last areas of wilderness left in Europe. Scotland is a land of jagged rock and wooded forests, of misty mountains and heather-clad moors, where wild stag roam and ospreys swoop. Loch Lomond—where kilted pipers play upon the “Bonnie Banks”—and the mysterious and enormous Loch Ness still guards its secrets, are but two of hundreds of Scottish lochs replenished by tumbling trout streams and majestic salmon rivers. Here the Gaelic culture and Gaelic language flourish amidst awe-inspiring seascapes and mountain ranges, and memories of Flora McDonald and Bonnie Prince Charlie still linger. To the far north are the Orkney and Shetland Islands, which are very remote and more Viking in character!
Scotsmen and women have helped to shape our modern world through invention, exploration, philosophy, literature, medicine, commerce, political thought, industry, and science. The list of great Scots with their discoveries and achievements is infinite…James Watt, the steam engine; John Logie Baird, the television; Alexander Graham Bell, who patented the telephone; Alexander Fleming, penicillin; and Adam Smith, the father of economics. Sean Connery and Harry Lauder stole the world stage, and Andrew Carnegie became a king of industry and is known as one of the world’s most generous philanthropists. Akin to the profound wit and wisdom of Robert Burns and the romantic poetry of Lord Byron, Scottish authors have created some of the best-known characters in literature: Sir Walter Scott’s Rob Roy and Ivanhoe, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Long John Silver and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, Ian Fleming’s 007-James Bond, and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. Gifted architects such as Charles Rennie Mackintosh, “Greek” Thompson, and Robert Adam have left their graceful mark upon country mansions and city streets alike.
This majestic country boasts strong royal connections. The Queen is a regular visitor to both Balmoral Castle . and the Palace of Holyrood House. King Robert the Bruce, Mary Queen of Scots, and Bonnie Prince Charlie leap out from the pages of Scottish history, along with Macbeth, John Knox, and “Braveheart” William Wallace. Castle ruins and clan memorials are proof of a turbulent past, and the ancient battlefields of Bannockburn, Glen Coe, and Culloden are a poignant reminder of battles fought on Scotland’s great countryside.
Most of today’s population is centered in and around the two great cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. Edinburgh is truly one of the world’s most splendid cities. Visually breathtaking, the old castle dominates the city center and, when illuminated at night, seems to float high above Princes Street and the Royal Mile. Glasgow, on the River Clyde and once flourishing with new industry, was famous for shipbuilding yards and textile mills. Today, it is the modern, prosperous face of Scotland, and it manages to blend 21st- century architecture with the best of the old Georgian and Victorian commercial buildings. Other famous Scottish towns include Aberdeen and Dundee, Gretna Green, John O’Groats, and most famous of all, St. Andrew’s, which is the home of the university and golf lovers’ St. Andrews golf course.
Scotland is renowned for its food and drink. The world’s finest whisky is distilled here–Scotch. Roast meats are generally of good quality and popular. Haggis is quite spicy but surprisingly good! Traditional fish dishes include cullen skink (haddock soup) and kippers (smoked herring). Oatmeal is frequently used, especially in porridge, and Scottish shortbread melts in the mouth. The woolen industry remains very important; and this is reflected in the variety of fine knitwear readily available.
VISAS, PASSPORTS, AND OTHER ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
Visas to Scotland are not required for US citizens. If you hold a passport from another country, please check with your local consulate about requirements for travel to Scotland. All passengers traveling internationally are required to have a passport. Please carry proper identification (your passport) on you and do not leave it in your suitcase or hotel room.
It is advisable to carry your passport with you at all times.
The country code for Scotland is 44. When calling to Scotland from overseas, dial your international access code (011 from the US/Canada), followed by the country code, area code, and phone number. Phone numbers in Scotland are 10 digits in length. Dialing from the US/Canada: 011 44+### ### ####.
Throughout Britain, the currency is the Pound Sterling or also known as the British Pound (GBP).
Bank hours 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Some branches are open Saturday mornings
1 POUND (£) STERLING = 100 Pence (p)
- Banknote denominations: £5, £10, £20, £50
- Coin denominations: 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1, £2
For the most current exchange rates, please go to our website at Globusjourneys.com/Currency.
Credit cards are widely accepted (mostly Visa and MasterCard), and you should have no issues using them. Smaller shops may ask you to pay in cash or have a minimum amount required to use a credit card.
BUDGETING AND SHOPPING
The following budget guidelines are just approximate values or starting values for meals and are per person. Actual prices will vary widely by restaurant and city within a country but below are some averages as provided by our experienced personnel.
- The approximate cost of a soft drink/mineral water/coffee is £2.50.
- An average lunch consisting of a salad or sandwich and a soda or water starts at approximately £8.
- Dinner at a mid-range restaurant with dessert and a non-alcoholic beverage starts at approximately £25.
Shopping specialties: tartan kilts, whisky, Harris tweed, cashmere sweaters and other fine knitwear.
Counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available; be aware that under local law transactions involving such products may be illegal, and bringing them home may result in confiscation and fines.
Sales tax or VAT (value added tax) is included on price tags. To obtain VAT refunds (which may take up to three months to process) special forms usually have to be stamped by Customs; please ask for a tax-free shopping form with each purchase and follow the instructions for completion. Customs import charges on items shipped home are not included in purchase prices
Tipping in restaurants is common in the United Kingdom. A tip of 10% is usually acceptable; it is best to leave the tip in cash to ensure it goes to the wait staff and not the restaurant itself. Tipping in pubs for drinks ordered at the bar is not customary.
Tipping for taxis is generally not expected, but rounding up the fare is appreciated.
ELECTRICITY AND ELECTRICAL OUTLETS
Voltage for outlets is 240V. North American voltage is generally 110V. Therefore, you will need a converter for your travels. Adapters will be necessary to adapt your plug into the outlet, but these may not convert the voltage, so both devices are necessary. Facilities have 3-prong outlets with two flat prongs in line and one perpendicular, which look like:
Scotland’s weather is best described as “brisk”. Summer days are long but not often hot, and weather is often windy, misty and sometimes cold. We recommend layered clothing for warm days and chilly nights, and some rain gear. Bring warmer, windproof layers for winter. To help you plan, below are average low and high temperatures for Scotland.
To convert to Celsius, subtract 30, then divide by 2. While not exact, this simple formula will give a close estimation.
Scotch whisky, Haggis, traditional fish dishes including cullen skink (haddock soup) and kippers (smoked herring), oatmeal porridge, and shortbread.
FEW WORDS OF THE LOCAL LANGUAGE
Elevator: Lift, Apartment: Flat, Yard: Garden, Trunk: Boot, Truck: Lorry, Bartender: Barman, Cell phone: Mobile, Check: Bill, Bill: Bank note, Trash can: Bin, Sidewalk: Pavement, Drugstore: Chemist, Band-Aid: Plaster, Bathroom/Washroom/Restroom: Toilet/WC/loo, Highway: Motorway, Subway: Tube/ underground, Taxi: Cab, Traffic circle: Roundabout, Crosswalk: Pedestrian crossing, Movie theater: Cinema, Orchestra seats: Stalls, Sweater: Jumper, Pants/slacks: Trousers, Pantyhose: Tights, Sneakers: Trainers, Line: Queue, Mail: Post, Napkin: Serviette, Fries: Chips, Potato chips: Crisps, Eggplant: Aubergine, Dessert: Pudding, Jelly: Jam, Cookie: Biscuit, Liquor: Spirits, Dark ale: Bitter, Beer: Lager, Emergency room: Casualty, Washcloth: Flannel, Wallet: Purse, Purse: Handba
Good morning: Guid mornin, Good evening: Guid eenin, Hi!: Awrite!, Goodbye: Cheerio the nou, Thank you: Thenk ye, Cheers!: Guid health! Slainte!, Yes: Aye, No: Nae, Excuse me: Ho ye, Do you speak English?: Dae ye spick sassenach?, Today: The day, Tomorrow: The morn, Small: Wee, Expression used when the weather is cold, damp and miserable: It’s a dreich day!
Scottish Gaelic (pronunciation in parentheses):
Good morning: Madainn mhath (mahteen vah), Good afternoon/evening: Feasgar math (fesgur mah), Please: Ma’se ur toil e (mah sheh oor tul-leh), Thank you: Tapadh leat (tah-puh laht), You’re welcome: Se do bheatha (sheh doe veh-huh), Cheers!: Slàinte (slahn-tchuh)!
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE COUNTRY INFORMATION
Additional country-specific information for US citizens can be found on the US Government’s website www.travel.state.gov. Here, you can find the most up-to-date information about destination descriptions, passports/visas, safety and security, transportation, travel local laws, alerts/warnings, vaccinations, and more. For citizens of other nations, we recommend you consult your local consulate for travel information, regulations, and requirements.