Scotland in detail


Although largely informal in their everyday dealings, the Scots do observe some rules of etiquette.

  • Greetings Shake hands with men, women and children when meeting for the first time and when saying goodbye. Scots expect a firm handshake with eye contact.
  • Conversation Generally friendly but often reserved, the Scots avoid conversations that might embarrass.
  • Language The Scots speak English with an accent that varies in strength – in places such as Glasgow and Aberdeen it can often be indecipherable. Oddly, native Gaelic speakers often have the most easily understood accent when speaking English.
  • Table service In general, cafes have table service, but pubs do not. In some pubs, you should order food at the bar (after noting your table number); others will have food waiters to take your order.
  • Buying your round at the pub Like the English, Welsh and Irish, Scots generally take it in turns to buy a round of drinks for the whole group, and everyone is expected to take part. The next round should always be bought before the previous round is finished. In pubs, you are expected to pay for drinks when you order them.