Scotland Basic Information
Scotland has its own traditional athletic event known as caber tossing. Competitors toss a large wooden pole, the caber, which generally weighs around 79 kilograms. Seriously. So, you won’t want to mess with a Scotsman, in a kilt or otherwise! Want to know more? Read on.
Aussie passport holders can enter the UK for tourism, business or volunteer work purposes and stay for less than 6 months without a visa. If you are planning on staying longer, or looking to study or work in the UK, you will need to apply for a visa before your travel. Your type and length of study or work will determine what type of visa you can apply for. You may also be eligible for a working visa if you are a Commonwealth citizen or have UK ancestry. All foreigners are required to register their place of residence within 24 hours of arrival in the UK. Please be aware that this information is only a guide. For up-to-the-minute visa information, contact the UK High Commission in Canberra.
The UK uses the British Pound. While many Scottish banks issue their own currency notes, it's still the same legal tender that’s used in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The exchange rate between the Australian Dollar and British Pound fluctuates constantly, so it's a good idea to keep an eye on the exchange rate and purchase pounds when the rate it at its best. For safe spending while in the UK, it's also recommended to bring a credit card or Cash Passport with you. Make sure you let you bank or credit card company know your travel dates for security reasons and check what international withdrawal fees may apply to your card.
You've probably already heard about the Scottish national dish of haggis. Haggis is a mix of sheep's heart, liver and lungs mixed with spices, oatmeal, onions and seasoning, and then boiled in a sheep's stomach or, more likely nowadays, a sausage casing. Yummy. It’s not for everyone, so if you don't want to try it there are plenty of other delicious traditional dishes to sample like Aberdeen rowies - delicious buttery pastries, cullen skink - a fish soup of haddock, potato and onion, and stovies (a lovely stew). If you love beef, you’ll think Scotland is forking great. Try the rich and tasty Aberdeen angus, you won’t be disappointed. Scottish fish and shellfish is also the envy of many European countries. They have brag-worthy prawns, lobster, fish, oysters, mussels, crab and scallops, and in some places you can eat seafood just caught that day. Herring is a popular fish in Scotland. Try it fried or pickled. Oh, and before you leave, make sure you pick up a jar of famous Dundee marmalade. Your nana will love it.
The Scottish folk don’t mind a drink or two, so you better pack your drinking boots. While there are plenty of lovely country pubs and some happening bars in smaller towns, the biggest club scene in Scotland is in Glasgow and Edinburgh. If you’re in Glasgow, make sure you check out Arches to see live music, DJs and live performances, or the legendary King Tut's Wah Wah hut where Oasis was famously discovered and signed. For killer DJ sets, head to Sub Club and Cube. In Edinburgh, swing on in to the city areas of George Street, Cowgate, Broughton Street and Leith Walk to check out the restaurants, clubs and bars and vibrant nightlife of the Scottish capital. Scotland is also famous for its music and arts events such as Edinburgh Festival Fringe, T in the Park and the Hebridean Celtic Festival.