Small in size, Scotland is big on endless picturesque scenery, hospitable locals and historic architecture. Soak up the culture of the country's vibrant capital, Edinburgh, step back in time as you visit quaint towns, and take in the serenity when you explore the country's incredible natural environment.
Small Group Tours
Discover the Queen’s land on a grand adventure through England, Scotland and Wales.
Scotland Facts & Tips
Did you know?
- The national animal of Scotland is the Unicorn which, according to Scottish mythology, is the only animal that could defeat a lion, the national animal of England.
- The raincoat was invented in Scotland
- The world’s first fire brigade was started in Edinburgh in 1824, which is also the year that the Great Fire of Edinburgh occurred, burning the city to ashes over 5 days.
- Encyclopedia Britannica, the original Wikipedia, was the brainchild of Colin Macfarquhar, an Edinburgh bookseller.
- Scotland was an independent country until the 15th century when the King of Scotland was given the English Throne in 1603, and they joined Great Britain
- The oldest Golf Championship, the Open Championship, was first played in 1860 at Prestwick Golf Club
Visas & Passports
Australian passport holders travelling to the United Kingdom, including England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, do not need a visa at this time.
We require that your passport is valid for travel for at least six months from the date you are planning to return to Australia. Your passport must be valid to travel internationally and must be machine-readable. You also need to carry a valid return ticket on you.
Whether travelling on an Australian passport or the passport of another country, all travellers require visas for a number of countries, and it is your responsibility to secure what may be required before departing Australia. You can consult with your travel agent, but it is also recommended that you check the foreign embassy website for your respective destination as it can also provide you with useful information.
The Australian High Commission in the United Kingdom, is responsible for Scotland:
London WC 2B 4LA
Ph. +44 20 7379 4334
Fax. +44 20 7887 5558
The official currency of Scotland is the Pound Sterling. Notes come in denominations of £100, 50, 20, 10 and 5.
The recommended currency to take to Scotland is the Pound Sterling. Ensure you change a small amount into small denominations.
Advise your bank of your travel plans so that they can make a note of it, otherwise they may cancel your credit card as a safety measure due to the overseas transactions. Also make a note of the 24-hour emergency contact number of the bank or building society which issued your credit card in the unlikely event that your card is lost or stolen.
Whenever possible use ATMs when the banks are open (Mon – Fri) so that if a machine ‘eats’ your card you can then deal with it straight away. It is always advisable to carry a supply of cash in addition to your credit card.
If you don’t have Pound Sterling with you on arrival, we advise you to exchange some money into the local currency at the airport even if the exchange rate is not the best, this way you’ll have money to get a drink, snack or give a tip during those first few hours of arrival. Your guide will be able to advise you on the best places to exchange money.
Small change is also useful for paying for toilets while on tour which is customary in many places outside of Australia.
- The price of a cappuccino in Edinburgh is approximately £3
- The price of an inexpensive lunch is approximately £15
- The price of dinner in a moderate restaurant is approximately £28
- The price of a beer in a local pub is approximately £4
Scotland is known for haggis (the heart, liver and lungs of a sheep boiled in the animal’s stomach with oatmeal, suet, onion and spices) and black pudding (a type of blood sausage) – a vegetarian/vegan nightmare - however the casing of the haggis these days is usually artificial. The traditional accompaniments to haggis are neeps and tatties, or swede/turnips and potatoes, along with a wee dram of scotch whiskey to wash it down. Expect high quality of food while in Scotland, thanks to its coastline and lush, fertile land. From Aberdeen Angus beef to wild Scottish salmon, Scotland is not lacking in choice. What could be better than sitting back admiring the country’s rolling, green hills, with a cup of tea and a few shortbread biscuits straight from the traditional tartan tin.
Important: When dining at buffets (i.e. breakfast) please refrain from taking food away with you to ‘save’ for later! If you feel that you’ll need snacks between meals, pack some dried fruit, nuts, muesli bars etc.
If you have specific food allergies and/or preferences, we highly recommend you take every precaution before your tour, including carrying a small card with your food allergy listed in each language of every country you are travelling to show to table staff when ordering. Whilst we take all dietary requirements seriously, due to the serious nature of potential allergic reactions, it is your responsibility to be as prepared as possible.
For a small country, Scotland experiences a vast mix of climates throughout the different regions. Being so unpredictable makes the weather a little redundant and as the Scotts say ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes!’. That being said, the summer months of June, July and August are typically the warmest with a maximum temperature of around 16°C and winters, usually around 5°C, from December through til February. While slightly cooler than the summer months, it’s well worth a visit during autumn and spring to see the incredible shifting landscapes that make Scotland such a picturesque and captivating country.
Want to get out and explore on your own?
Travelling around Scotland is part of the experience and fortunately, there is an extensive road and rail network to facilitate your exploration. You’ll find plenty of options for public transport, with bus and train services available between towns and cities, as well as to some villages and ferry ports.
When catching taxis, have small change on you and choose one with a meter, if it doesn’t have one then negotiate the price before getting in. Also, ask your guide or hotel staff the names of reputable taxi companies.
So, you’d love to bring home a special souvenir from Scotland…
You can’t go past anything with a Scottish tartan and if you’re keen to take a slice of Scotland home with you, why not pick up a traditional kilt or perhaps a more subtle, tartan scarf. A lovely gift idea could include a sporran, part of the male Scottish Highland dress, these small pouches are typically made of leather or fur and customarily worn with the pocketless kilt. Edinburgh is well known for its fine crystal, as well as being regarded as home to the Malt Whiskey Society, stocking the largest collection of whiskey in the world. Heading north, the region is known for their premium honey, with hives spread throughout the Highlands, making a thoughtful gift for family and friends back home.
- Refrain from calling a Scottish person English, as some may take offense
- It is considered obscene to give an inverted two-finger ‘peace sign’ or ‘V’ for victory
- If someone offers to buy you a drink, be sure to accept and remember to buy one back in return
- It is best not to refer to the kilt as a skirt
Celebrations & Public Holidays
You will find a buzz of activity around Scotland between May and September, when locals enjoy one of their greatest sporting traditions, the Highland Games. Donning their traditional Scottish kilt, competitors face a number of rigorous challenges, from the caber toss, hammer throw and tug o’ war, to hills and cycling races. The Games can be attended at many locations as they move around Scotland, with the peak times of July and August showcasing over 30 events each month. Spectators can also enjoy local food and drink, check out the stalls and dancing, all while listening to the time-honoured sound of the bagpipes.
Other national public holidays to be aware of include:
- New Year’s Day
- Local Bank Holiday (January 2nd)
- Good Friday
- Early May Bank Holiday (first Monday in May)
- Spring Bank Holiday (last Monday in May)
- Summer Bank Holiday (first Monday in August)
- St Andrew’s Day (November 30th)
- Christmas Day
- Boxing Day
A modern capital full of historic charm, Edinburgh has so much to offer any visitor. Explore the medieval Old Town, starting with the imposing Edinburgh Castle sitting high upon Castle Rock. Housing some of UK’s oldest crown jewels and numerous other impressive Scottish artefacts, this fortress offers an incredible skyline of the city below. You won’t struggle for views here, taking in all the vantage points, whether you’re standing upon the ancient volcano of Arthur’s Seat or on Calton Hill, you will be spoilt for choice. Separated from the Old Town by the gorgeous Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh’s elegant New Town is lined with Georgian townhouses and offers delectable cuisine, and a myriad of retail options on Princes street, including high-end fashion on George street.
United Kingdom & Ireland Destinations
Green rolling hills, lively cities, quaint villages, cobblestone streets and an incredible amount of history are waiting to be explored in this fine country.
Often referred to as the Emerald Isle, Ireland is the land of rugged coastal landscapes, Guinness, leprechauns, bagpipes, shamrocks and of course – St. Patrick’s Day.