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UK FACTS - SCOTLAND


Scotland Tourist Information

This information has been supllied with the kind help and assistance of the Scotland Tourist Office. For further information please contact them on 0131 322 2433.

Scotland is a land of contrasts. It contains everything from superb scenery and rich culture to the finest food and warmest of welcomes. As well as being a colourful all-season destination, Scotland is an enriching country. From here you can tour all the different regions of Scotland mentioned below and check out the best places to visit.
South of Scotland

Rich, rolling farmland, rugged sea coasts and Clyde coast islands characterise the South of Scotland. Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott both lived in this land of ancient abbeys, castles and historic houses.

The real Scotland starts right at the border. Different accents in the shops and different names for beer in pubs are just two of the ways in which Scotland stamps its own personality straight away. In scenery, too: the hazy blue hills running out to a wide horizon have lifted the hearts of generations of travellers at the border on the A68 at Carter Bar. Then there are the forests and wild moors of upland Galloway and the vivid greens of Ayrshire's pastures, with the mountain profile of the island of Arran as a backdrop. Wherever you travel here, you can be sure of a real Scottish experience.

Edinburgh & Lothians

Edinburgh, Scotland's beautiful Festival City and historic capital is embraced by the scenic coastline and rich countryside of the Lothians.

Edinburgh's coast and countryside offers a beautiful setting which strongly contrasts with the towering grace of the capital. Miles of breathtaking sandy beaches extend eastwards from the city and rounded peaks and windswept moors enclose it from the south.

All around lies a ring of great houses and ruined castles with treasures to reveal. In this landscape you'll find the perfect base for your stay, ideal for visiting Edinburgh, but combined with all the charms of a seaside or country break.

Greater Glasgow & Clyde Valley

Scotland's international gateway, Glasgow is one of Europe's great cultural destinations. Its museums and galleries are complemented by the beautiful countryside along the River Clyde from its source, through garden valleys to the sea.

Glasgow's culture is far more than high art. It embraces the heritage of the ordinary citizen at places like The Tenement House, where a typical city dwelling of the recent past is open to view. It also includes the People's Palace, where the social history of Glasgow is told.

Likewise it acknowledges the industrial history of the city and its surrounding towns at the Summerlee Heritage Trust in Coatbridge east of the city. A visit here may include a ride on Scotland's only working electric tramway, as well as much other historic machinery. Yet another aspect of the commerce of the area is displayed in the Paisley Museum and Art Gallery (on the outskirts of Glasgow) which tells the story of the development of the famous Paisley shawl with its distinctive pattern.

Grampian Highlands, Aberdeen & the North East coast

Rich in historic castles, royal connections and whisky distilleries, this unique corner of Scotland has hills tumbling down to a dramatic coast with its fishing villages and beaches around Aberdeen, Scotland's city of flowers.

Shopping & Public Holidays

* In towns and cities shops generally open between 0900 and 1730/1800 Monday - Saturday with late closing on Thursdays. Many large chain stores are open on Sunday. In smaller communities, businesses and shops may close for an afternoon during the week.
* Some public holidays in Scotland differ from the rest of the UK.

* On Sundays many services in Harris and Lewis in the Western Isles close down due to religious beliefs.

Telephone Calls

* Remember when making an overseas call from the UK dial 00 before the area prefix and telephone number.

Tipping

* It is normal to leave a 10% tip of the total bill in restaurants if service charge is not included. Tipping in hotels is not compulsory and it is not normal to tip bar staff.

* Taxi drivers are often tipped, particular on longer journeys, with 50p-1.00 normally being sufficient.

Tourist Information Centres

* If in London, remember to visit the Scottish Tourist Board at 19 Cockspur Street, just off Trafalgar Square. Opening times are between 09:30-5:30 Monday to Friday and until 6:30 on Thursdays.

* There are over 150 Tourist Information Centres in Scotland, some of which are open all year.

* Scottish Tourist Board operates a Grading and Classification scheme which covers all types of accommodation, and is your guide to quality. For your free listing of quality assured establishments contact your local British Tourist Authority office or get in touch with the Scottish Tourist Board in Edinburgh.

Weather

* Scotland enjoys mild and varied weather all year round. Generally speaking the east coast tends to be cool and dry and the west coast is warmer and wetter. More importantly, if it rains, with Scotland's ever-changing weather patterns, it will probably not last for long. With very long summer daylight hours, you have plenty of time to fit in your excursions.

The Kilt

There is a good deal of argument among the experts as to when the kilt reached Scotland, but there is not much doubt as to how is came. There were kilts of a sort on the Celtic tribes who fought Caesar, and when the Celts moved north up through Cornwall and Wales, and Ireland and eventually to Scotland, they brought the kilt with them. A thousand years ago there was nothing especially Scottish about it. Now its use has been discontinued elsewhere and it has become the national dress of the Highlands.

It is a useful garment and the modern version is built on lavish line; there are anything up to eight yards of material in it, thickly pleated at the back and sides, but with the pleats stitched together only at the waistband. Below this they swing free. It is probably the best walking dress yet invented by man, for it is both warm and airy, leaves the legs free, stands rain for hours before it soaks, hangs well above the mud and grass which wets other garments and wards off (thanks to the many thicknesses where the pleats are stitched at the small of the back) the chills which a halt after exercise can bring. It is warm enough for a cold day, and cool enough for a warm one. And it is a fine dress to look at. Its Gaelic name is feile beag, the little kilt.

It was not always used in its present form. In the days of the clans it was the breacan-feile, the belted plaid, a sort of tartan blanket about two yards wide by five or six long. One end of it was wrapped round the body like a modern kilt, and the rest thrown over the shoulder and pinned there. It was a good campaigning dress: you fought in it by day and at night you simply undid the pin and there you were with a blanket.

Since the clans were broken in 1745, the wearing of the kilt has gradually declined. Today it is not a common article of dress in Scotland, but it is still worn by the Highland Regiments. In the cities you will usually see it amongst the white ties and tails at a dance and of course it is much in evidence at the Highland Games and Gatherings.

More detail on Scotlands rich History- Click here!


Enjoy your visit to Scotland!

 

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