Scotland is a country within the United Kingdom known worldwide for its inventions, mythology, and kilts! These fun facts about Scotland are great for kids and adults alike – and it’s a fact Scotland is extremely interesting! The United Kingdom comprises Wales to the southwest and Northern Ireland to the west across the sea. In the north is Scotland and England is to the south.
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25 Interesting Facts About Scotland
In Scotland, interesting facts are everywhere! These interesting facts about Scotland and Scottish life are sure to fascinate, from the world’s tallest hedge to the Loch Ness Monster to the Scots language.
1. There are three officially recognised languages in Scotland: English, Scots, and Scottish Gaelic. English is the major language of Great Britain. Scots is spoken in various dialects around the country, usually mixed with English. Sadly, Scottish Gaelic is mostly spoken in remote areas of the Highlands, as the establishment of Great Britain imposed English on schools many years ago. Less recently but famously, the poet Robert Burns wrote in Scots.
2. Scotland is home to the oldest tree in Europe. The Fortingall Yew is between three and nine thousand years old!
3. Loch Ness, the supposed home of the Loch Ness Monster, is the most famous in the modern world and the largest by volume. Loch Lomond is the largest by surface area, and Loch Morar is the deepest.
4. Scotland is home to the world’s shortest commercial flight, connecting Westray to Papa Westray in Orkney. The journey from Westray covers 1.7 miles and takes just 47 seconds! By comparison, it usually takes just 47 seconds to drink a glass of water – or more, longer than the journey from Westray to Papa Westray in Orkney!
5. The world’s tallest hedge is in Scotland. The Meikleour Beech Hedge, located near Meikleour, is 1 and a third miles in length and 100 feet in height – the highest anywhere! To compare, a blue whale can be 25 m in length and 100 feet in height, nose to tail!
6. Scotland is the “home of golf”. It earned the name home of golf because the world’s first game of modern golf was played in 15th century Scotland.
7. Edinburgh Castle, one of Scotland’s national landmarks, is located right in the centre of Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh.
8. More than 150 million tourists visit Scotland every year, 6 million of whom are from England. Some of these are hedge tourists that visit the site located near Meikleour!
9. John Logie Baird created the first-ever live television picture in 1926. Before then, the world’s first tv picture broadcast was just a straight line, but the world’s first tv picture as we know it today by John Logie Baird was the head of Stooky Bill, a ventriloquist dummy.
10. The latest Great Britain football match was between Scotland and England in 2021 and ended with no points on either side. The first match against England in 1872 was also a 0-0 draw!
11. Robert Burns Day is celebrated every year on January 25th. Many people wear a tartan ribbon and recite Scots poetry over a Burns dinner – usually made up of haggis!
12. The Forth Railway Bridge symbolises Scotland, which stretches 1,700 feet across the Firth of Forth. The 1,700 feet make it the world’s second-longest cantilever bridge after Pont de Québec Bridge in Canada.
13. One of the interesting facts about Scotland is that Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone and many other things, was born and raised in Edinburgh. Though he was born in Scotland, he died in Canada.
14. A Bangladeshi immigrant probably invented the staple dish of Indian takeaways, chicken tikka masala, in Glasgow.
15. The bones of St. Valentine are buried in Scotland!
16. The highest mountains in the UK are in Scotland. Ben Nevis is 1,345 m high and is climbed by 100,000 people per year.
Fun Facts About Scotland
17. Edinburgh was the first city in the world to have its own fire brigade. The fire brigade was formed in 1824.
18. Scotland has the highest median gross salary in the UK – this is the middle amount paid to workers before deductions like taxes.
19. Football is very popular in Scotland. Many teams play in association football game leagues. The most famous rivalry is between Glasgow’s Celtic and Rangers teams.
20. There are around 790 islands in Scottish waters. Of these Scottish islands, around 94 have permanent inhabitants in the modern world.
21. There are around 125 million Scottish Americans living in the US – more expat and immigrant-born Scots than any other country in the world.
22. Mary Queen of Scots – who died after getting her head chopped off as an adult – was only six days old when she took the throne of Scotland.
23. The most popular fizzy drink in Scotland is Irn Bru, a bright orange (coloured, but not flavoured) soda that is hard to find elsewhere in the world. It outsells Coca Cola by a lot!
24. The Highland Games happen annually in Scotland and involve traditional events like the cabre toss – literally tossing the trunk of a small tree like a javelin!
25. The Right to Roam in Scotland allows people to travel over any public property they wish.
26. 11% of Nobel Prizes have gone to Scottish people!
Weird Facts About Scotland
27. The national animal of Scotland is the unicorn! Meanwhile, the national animal of England is the lion, and one coat of arms combines England’s and Scotland’s national animals on either side of a shield.
28. Scotland is home to the second-highest proportion of redheads globally – known as the second ginger capital of the world! The highest proportion of redheads is 6% of the population, while it is closer to 10% in Ireland.
29. The town of Bonnybridge is a small area with a big claim. The town of Bonnybridge was and is where Scotland has the highest supposed meetings with aliens – the most sightings of unidentified flying objects in the world! These sightings of unidentified flying objects, or UFOs, have made Bonnyrigg world-famous for alien enthusiasts. There were more than 300 sightings of unidentified flying objects, which is why it became the UFO capital of the world. Nobody could have guessed that a small town would become the UFO capital – but with over 300 sightings of unidentified maybe-alien crafts, it’s not a surprise!
30. One of our favourite fun facts about Scotland is about Sir Nils Olav. He is a colonel-in-chief of the Norwegian King’s Guard, and he lives in Edinburgh. What’s strange about this is that Nils, the third in his line with the same name, is a penguin!
31. The Freemasons in Scotland are the oldest in the world.
Scotland History Facts
32. Technically, Dundee was the first city in Scotland when it was formed in 1889, though several burghs, which are now cities and operated as the first city burghs even then, had existed for a long time.
33. The University of St. Andrews, a prestigious Scottish university and one of the best in the world, was founded in the 15th century. These days, many royal family members attend the 15th-century university – which of course, has modernised!
34. A treasure trove was recently discovered on the Scottish borders, dating back to the Iron Age – around 3,000 years ago!
35. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the clan system in Scotland was extremely important. Remnants of the system still exist today in family tartans and in more traditional Highland villages. The clan system has inspired many Scottish historical romances!
36. The Act of Union was signed in 1707, joining England and Scotland. Since then, there have been a few referendums about Scotland becoming independent, and another is in the works since Brexit, which most of Scotland disagreed with.
37. The 1800s were an extremely progressive time in Scottish science and engineering! Many inventions were created in Scotland in that time period that are still used worldwide.
Scotland Geography Facts
38. Many of the approximately 790 islands have their own mythological and real history. The first Scottish kings were based in Dunaad in the Hebrides. Many fairy folks like the Sith were said to inhabit the rest of the approximately 790 islands and supposedly still do!
39. Though the Romans invaded Scotland and successfully conquered much of England, they never managed to take Scotland. In fact, they built Hadrian’s Wall to keep the Scots out!
40. The tallest waterfall in Scotland and Britain as a whole is Eas a’ Chual Aluinn. At 658 feet, it’s three times as large as Niagara Falls.
41. Scotland is split between the sparsely inhabited Highlands and the crowded Lowlands, where the major cities are.
42. The climate of Scotland is mild and wet all year round – colder in the winter and warmer in the summer, but never extreme.
43. There are ten major rivers in Scotland, most of which run through cities. In order of size, these are the Tay, the Spey, the Clyde, the Tweed, the Dee, the Don, the Forth, the Findhorn, the Deveron, and the Annan.
44. The only land border in Scotland is with England.
45. The ten major lochs in Scotland by size are Loch Lomond, Loch Ness, Loch Awe, Loch Maree, Loch Morar, Loch Tay, Loch Shin, Loch Shiel, Loch Rannoch, and Loch Ericht.
Scottish Culture Facts
46. Dufftown in Moray is known as the whisky capital of the world. It’s home to the world’s whisky centre – its economy is based on the drink!
47. The first-ever international association football game was in 1872 and was played at the West of Scotland cricket ground in Partick, Glasgow. The cricket ground in Partick was founded in 1862. The match was between Scotland and England in 1872 and was played at the West of Scotland cricket ground because there was nowhere else in Scotland to do it to official standards. The respective Football Associations of England and Scotland in 1872 picked the teams.
48. The food and drink industry is one of the largest in Scotland! Though they’re famous for haggis, it’s illegal to ship haggis to the US. Though there are haggis imports to other countries, Scottish people living in the US are missing out! Imports of haggis to the US have been banned since 1971.
49. Many public transport signs are in Scottish Gaelic and English as part of the country’s cultural revival. There has also been a push to recognise Scots as a separate language from England, and many poets and authors now write in Scots.
50. Andy Murray is a famous tennis player from Scotland who has won many trophies. He likes to joke about press attention, pointing out that “when I lose, I’m Scottish, but when I win, I’m British!”
52. Every Scottish student is entitled to four years of post-high school education without tuition. That’s enough time for a bachelor’s degree with honours.
Edinburgh Facts for Kids
53. Arthur Conan Doyle, the writer of Sherlock Holmes, lived and wrote in Edinburgh. Scotland’s and perhaps the most world famous detective writer hated Holmes as a character!
54. Arthur’s Seat, a beautiful climbing and hiking area right in the middle of the city, is actually an extinct volcano. The hill under Edinburgh castle is also an extinct volcano.
55. The Fringe Festival – the largest festival globally – and the Edinburgh International Festival take place every summer to celebrate arts from around the world. Along with these is the Book Festival.
56. Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station and a few city streets appeared in the 2018 blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War.
57. 75% or more of the city’s buildings are listed as protected buildings.
58. Edinburgh became the capital in 1437, taking over from Scone.
59. An elephant once lived in the castle in 1838, and loved to drink beer!
60. The University of Edinburgh is the 22nd highest rated university globally.
61. The famous Royal Mile leading to the castle is slightly longer than a mile!
62. Both Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
63. In 1707, the crown jewels of Scotland went missing for 100 years until they were found again in 1808!
64. Edinburgh is considered one of the most haunted cities in the world.
65. In 1999 when the devolved Scottish parliament was created, the building that housed it had a budget of £40 million. It ended up costing over £400 million!
66. A cannon goes off from Edinburgh Castle every day at one o’clock.
67. The witch trials between the 16th and 18th centuries killed more than 300 people, the highest percentage of whom were women. “Suspects” were thrown into lochs. If they floated, they were witches and burned in public. If they sank, they were innocent…but usually drowned.
68. Edinburgh Waverley is the only train station in the world named after a novel: Waverley, by Scottish novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott.
69. Edinburgh is filled with statues, but more are of animals than are of people!
70. It’s known as “Auld Reekie” because it used to sink of sewers!
71. The Stone of Destiny which now resides in Edinburgh was where Scottish monarchs were crowned for centuries.
72. Greyfriars Bobby was a terrier dog who apparently spent 14 years guarding his owner’s grave.
Glasgow Facts for Kids
73. Glasgow is a top 25 ranked city in the world for young adults in their 20s. Many young people visit Scotland specifically for this reason!
74. A Glasgow man, Charles Macintosh, created the raincoat. In Scotland, they’re still sometimes known as macs or macintoshes!
75. Glasgow is larger than Edinburgh, even though the latter is the capital
76. The Scottish Event Campus (SEC) is the site of many international bands’ perfomances and other cultural events.
77. The IMAX cinema in Glasgow, part of the Glasgow Science Centre, opened in the year 2000. It opened 29 years after the first permanent IMAX in Canada and was opened a year after the first British IMAX. It now belongs to the Cineworld chain of cinemas.
78. Glasgow is the fifth-most-visited city in the country.
79. The Glaswegian dialect is a very distinct form of the Scottish accent, and is often recognised separately!
80. Saint Mungo, the anecdotal founder of Glasgow, is the patron saint of salmon – the fish!
81. There is more marble in the city chambers of Glasgow than in the Vatican.
82. There’s a subway system in Glasgow, affectionately known as the Clockwork Orange due to its colouring, after the famous novel and movie.
Facts About Aberdeen
83. Aberdeen has been rated the safest city in Britain.
84. More than forty lottery millionaires in Aberdeen are a very lucky city!
85. 10% of famous UK stone circles are in Aberdeen.
89. Cairngorms National Park is twice the size of the Lake District.
90. Doric, the dialect of Aberdeen, is so different from other types of Scots that some consider it its own language.
91. The oldest bridge in Scotland, Brig O’Balgownie, is more than 700 years old.
92. 30 cities worldwide are named after Aberdeen.
93. It’s the fourth most livable city in Britain.
94. The oldest daily newspaper in Britain is Aberdonian.
95. Seagulls in Aberdeen are aggressive and known to steal food!