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Frequently Asked Questions about Scotland

I get asked a lot of questions about Scotland – and if you haven’t been able to find what you need in my planning guides, I hope that these FAQs might help.

Still stuck? Give me a shout at

Do you have a favourite part of Scotland?

I have a few! I love living in the beautiful Kingdom of Fife particularly the food to be found on the East Neuk, I love Assynt for the mountains and the incredible beaches, the Moray Firth coastline for the fishing villages and huge skies, and the Isle of Islay – because I love whisky!

Are you Scottish?

No. I am from a tiny village on the edge of the Peak District but I have made my home in Scotland for the last 23 years. You might hear me say ‘aye’ wee’ coo’ and drink Irn Bru, but I’ve yet to get the accent. B (the husband) however is from Glasgow.

What should I do on my trip to Scotland?

Like a lot of places in the world, Scotland is sadly suffering from the effects of over-tourism. Glencoe is a sea of selfie sticks, there are crowds jostling to take videos of the ‘Harry Potter train’, people are getting stuck in ravines fulfilling their Outlander fantasies, and locals are getting increasingly frustrated being stuck behind convoys of campervans.

Thankfully Scotland is a huge place, and there are loads of places you can visit to get off the beaten track. I’m not saying don’t visit the popular spots, but don’t make them the focus of your trip or you are truly missing out on the real Scotland – not the one you’ve seen on Instagram. If you want to truly experience Scotland, my guides to travelling Scotland like a local can help:

– How to get off the beaten track and see the real Scotland
– Everyone is [not] going to the same places in Scotland as you
– A local’s guide to Edinburgh
– An outdoorsy guide to Fife

Do you offer Scotland itinerary planning?

Sorry, not at the moment. However, I do have a lot of guides to help plan your trip and some great itineraries you could follow!

Want to go it alone? Use my guide to planning your own road trip around Scotland.

Do you have a guide to the North Coast 500?

Yes, you can read my guide to the North Coast 500 here.

Where should I stay in Scotland?

When is the best time to visit Scotland?

The answer should be ‘anytime!’ but in terms of climate, the best time to visit Scotland is in spring from March to May and autumn from September to October.

What will the weather be like in Scotland?

It is going to rain on your trip to Scotland. I can guarantee it. Scotland’s weather is highly unpredictable and you whilst you can still experience four seasons in one day (including snow in March) spring and autumn weather in Scotland is usually the most stable.

When we talk about the ‘weather in Scotland’ we rarely mean the sun. Instead, we have hundreds of words to describe rain – my favourites include dreich (miserable) drookit (absolutely chucking it down) stoating (the rain is literally bouncing off the ground, also used to describe very drunk people) and haar (a thick sea mist which means you can’t see a bloody thing, mostly seen in Skye and Edinburgh).

How cold does it get in Scotland in winter?

Temperatures in Scotland in winter generally range from just below zero to +10 degrees; however, in 2010 and 2018 we had ‘proper’ winters where the temperatures got as low as -16 in Edinburgh and the snow stayed in the cities for a few weeks during the ‘beast from the east’.

What Scottish foods should I try?

  • A square sausage and tattie scone roll – a breakfast staple for Glaswegians, this is a fried beef sausage (made in a loaf shape and sliced) with a flat potato cake on top. Served in a fluffy white morning roll. 
  • Scottish prawns – otherwise known as langoustines, Scottish prawns are huge and are served in their shells, hot or cold, and usually come with a big bowl of salty chips.
  • Tablet – like fudge? You will love tablet. Your teeth won’t as tablet is sugary, buttery, crumbly deliciousness – and addictive.
  • Cullen Skink – Scotland’s most famous soup, Cullen Skink is a delicious soup of potato, onion, smoked haddock, bay leaves, chicken stock, cream and black pepper. The best place to try Cullen Skink is in the town where it was first made, Cullen on the Moray Firth.
  • Smoked salmon – served ‘hot smoked’ – which is cooked, or ‘smoked’ which is raw, Scottish salmon is the best in the world, imo. Just add bread and butter, or scrambled eggs. 
  • Porridge – the traditional Scottish breakfast of oats soaked in milk is an acquired taste, especially if you have it with salt (urgh) – it’s much better if you add honey, jam, or even whisky. However, a breakfast of porridge is guaranteed to will set you up for the day – and probably the next day too.

Is Scotland part of England?


Is it safe to drink the water in Scotland?

Yes, and it is some of the best water in the world. The whisky which we make from our water is even better.