Feisty, spirited and independent–it was the homeland of noted rebel William Wallace–Scotland’s people are still inordinately proud of their vast and scenic land. Though most of the population lives in or between the twin metropolises of Edinburgh and Glasgow, the Scottish countryside never fails to amaze and inspire visitors, from the gently rolling farmland of the Borders to the wild weatherbeaten expanses of the Highlands to the rocky Hebrideans clinging for survival in the windblown sea. There really is no place else like Scotland.
The northernmost country in Great Britain, Scotland has long appealed to the romantic imagination as a land of rugged individuals, warlike clans, towering mountains and isolated islands that have endured through the centuries. Of course, Scotland is also the land of colorful plaids, superb golf courses, the Highland Games and some of the finest whiskey in the world.
History can be found lurking everywhere in Scotland, from the rocky keeps and castles found in the large cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow to the ancient standing stones and cairns to be found throughout the countryside. Kings, Queens, Protectors and Pretenders … Scotland has seen them all come and go through the millennia, each adding another thread to the tapestry that is Scotland’s proud past.
But modern Scotland is also front and center for today’s visitor. Fine hotels and resorts dot the landscape, and some of the most brilliant chefs in Europe ply their trade in both city and country locales. In addition to its fine woolen weaves and yarn, Scotland’s artisans are known for their fine leatherwork, Celtic jewelry and handmade ceramics. From the rolling hills of the Borders to the towering peaks of the Highlands, and across the rocky shores of the Hebridean islands, today’s tourists will find warm welcomes and outstanding experiences.
The Scottish people, while still proud and protective of their heritage, are among the most welcoming people on the globe. And with the help of a wee dram or two, the sound of the skirling pipes and the beating drums, the colorful flash of a clannish kilt or skirt, the reading of a Burns verse or an ancient battle cry etched in stone … it is still possible to be swept back in time to those fabled days of yore that are never far away.
Scotland is a grand place to explore, and with its people, places and scenic beauties, it never disappoints.
English is the official language of Great Britain, but Scottish Gaelic is still spoken in some of the rural areas.
The official currency is the British pound sterling (￡), which is divided into 100 cents. The U.S. dollar buys approximately ￡ 0.70 pounds.
The electrical current in England is 240V and the cycle is 50Hz and you will need a converter if you have appliances that don't accept this voltage. Square three-pin plugs are standard.
Internet connections and WiFi spots are found throughout the country. Most major hotels provide good accessibility.
Visitors from the United States (and most other Western nations) are not required to have a visa to enter the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland). A valid passport is required for entry.
Tap water throughout the U.K. is treated and purified and is safe to drink.
The United Kingdom is in the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) zone. The U.K. observes daylight savings time from the last Sunday in October to the last Sunday in March. When it is noon in New York, it is 5 p.m. in London.
Although visitors arrive year-round, Scotland’s peak tourist season is in the summer months: May through October.