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.
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 Scott 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).
i.e. Scottish man skirts. Yes, these are a part of Scottish culture, but don’t expect to see every Scott 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
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.
What other unique aspects of Scottish culture did I miss? Let me know in the comments below!