A part of the world that has a history spanning back to the Neolithic era, Scotland is a beautiful country to visit and explore. Many people will look at movies like “Braveheart” to learn the fun facts of Scotland.
There is a lot more to learn and see though, as many interesting facts about Scotland are best learned in person. In Scotland, you can attend the Highland Games while wearing a kilt and sipping on Scotch Whisky.
You can learn about the political troubles of Scotland over a traditional Scottish breakfast. Or, you can just go looking for mythical creatures, like unicorns or the Loch Ness Monster.
No matter what type of trip you want to go on, here are some facts of Scotland to help inspire your next trip:
Favorite Fact About Scotland
While Scotland has its flag and Parliament, it is not its own fully independent country.
An interesting fact about Scotland is that it is a part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Great Britain encompasses Scotland, England, and Wales. Citizens have UK passports and the currency here is the pound.
This means that when you travel in the UK, your passport won’t be checked and you won’t need to convert currency as you go from Scotland, Northern Ireland, England, or Wales.
Scotland has had votes in the last few years to become an independent country, but they have not gathered enough support and remain in the UK.
Other Fun Facts of Scotland
The Unicorn is the Official Animal of Scotland
Why is a mythical creature the official animal of Scotland? Like many Scotland facts, it is due to the rivalry with England. The English official animal is a lion, and a unicorn is believed to be the only animal able to defeat a lion.
Hike an Extinct Volcano in Edinburgh
A very fun, and free, thing to do in Edinburgh is hike Arthur’s Seat. From the top of this grassy hill, you can look out over Edinburgh. But, it is an extinct volcano that was named after King Arthur.
Visit a Castle atop an Extinct Volcano in Edinburgh
One of the fun facts about Scotland that will amaze you is that Edinburgh Castle was built on an extinct volcano. The castle was built in the 12th century on the volcano plug.
High above the city, you can visit the Scottish crown jewels here. You can also come to the daily cannon fire, at 1 pm.
Edinburgh is the most popular city for tourists in Scotland.
The Highlands are the Highest Peaks in the United Kingdom
The highest peak in the Highlands is called Ben Nevis. This peak is 4,411 feet high, which isn’t that tall. Due to this, many people will climb the relatively easy trail every year.
Tartan is a Family Affair
Dating back to the 16th century, tartan colorings and patterns represent a person’s clan. Typically, you will see the patterned fabric made into kilts, which look like knee-length skirts that men and women wear. Considered one of the funnier facts of Scotland, don’t expect men to wear undergarments under their kilts since they probably aren’t.
There are hundreds of Islands in Scotland
There are more than 790 islands that are a part of Scotland, many of which you can visit. 660 of the islands are uninhabited. One of the most famous and beautiful islands is called the Isle of Skye.
Bagpipes are Scottish
These days, bagpipes are played in parades and at events even if the occasion is not Scottish. However, the national instrument of Scotland was first mentioned in the 15th century. Scots used them for war, at weddings, and any other major event.
Enjoy Scottish Whisky, not Whiskey
“Whisky” with no “E” means that the alcoholic drink you’re about to enjoy was distilled in Scotland; the Irish spell theirs with an “E,” “whiskey”.
Also known as scotch, whisky was invented in Ireland and brought north to Scotland. For more than 600 years, scotch has been made at the 125 distilleries around the country.
Try to Find the Loch Ness Monster
For the last 1,500 years, since 565 AD, people have been claiming to see a monster in Loch Ness.
Located in the Highlands, no one knows what creature was initially seen by Saint Columba. There are popular boat tours on the lake that have sonar systems set up to see if you can catch the monster.
The Highland Games are a Popular Sporting Event
Since the 11th century, the Scottish have been playing in the Highland Games. Here, feats of strength are mostly tested when participants through logs (known as caber), hammer throw, and even play tug of war. A little-known fact about Scotland, some Highland Games are even in the Olympics, like shot put.
Scotland has a Preserved Neolithic Settlement
You can visit Skara Brae off the west coast of Scotland on the island Mainland. You can see some of the best-preserved houses dating back to 3,180 BC. Besides seeing the homes that people lived in, you can also see artifacts like whalebone bowls, gaming dice, and shovels.
Poet Robert Burns is Widely Celebrated
A Scottish poet who wrote in Scots English in the 18th century, the country celebrates him on his birthday on January 25th. His most famous poem, “Address to a Haggis” is about the beloved meal of Scots. If you are in Scotland during Robert Burns Night, expect to eat haggis, drink whisky, and recite his poetry.
A lot of People Enjoy Haggis
Haggis is made up of sheep’s heart, lungs, and liver mixed with oatmeal and spices. Traditionally, it is an encased sausage in sheep’s stomach lining but that isn’t as common these days.
It is worth trying while in Scotland since there are import bans around the world on this delicacy.
“Harry Potter” was Written in Edinburgh
J.K. Rowling is English but has lived in Scotland since the 1990s. This is also when she started writing “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” at the Elephant House Cafe in Edinburgh.
Although most of the books take place within the wizarding world, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is supposed to be set in the Scottish Highlands.
You can find activities and tours in relation to the Harry Potter series in Edinburgh.
Golf was Invented in Scotland
Modern golf was invented in Scotland. One of the world’s most famous courses is the Old Course at St. Andrews, which dates back to the Middle Ages. There are more than 600 golf courses across Scotland.
You can Visit a Knight at Edinburgh Zoo
One of the interesting facts of Scotland that children (and children at heart) will love! A penguin at Edinburgh Zoo, Sir Nils Olav, was knighted and is a Brigadier.
The UFO Capital of the World is in Scotland
For those looking for spooky interesting facts on Scotland, the town of Bonnybridge has more than 300 UFO sightings every year. Thankfully, they’re only sighting (as of now).
A Scottish Breakfast is very Hearty
Many will tell you that the Scottish breakfast is the best start to your day after too much Scottish whisky the night before. Grab a plate that has a poached egg, toast, sausage, Scottish black pudding, baked beans, scones, and a cup of tea or coffee.
Scottish Diaspora is Influential
Scottish people can be found everywhere. It is estimated that there are as many people living in Scotland as those in the United States that can claim direct Scottish heritage (about 5.5 million people).
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Uncovering More Interesting Facts of Scotland
Scotland is a gorgeous country that those who visit are anxious to return to. There is something for everyone–from looking for Nessie, whisky tours, and history you can touch.
The many interesting and fun facts about Scotland can keep you busy as you go across the country.