Did you know that the national animal of Scotland is a unicorn? No? Then here are 28 other fun facts about Scotland that will blow your mind.
Ah bonnie Scotland. The land of cool castles, magical landscapes, an unrivalled love of whisky, and of course the Loch Ness monster.
From the culture to the people, Scotland is so different from the rest of Great Britain. It is a fiercely proud nation. Scratch below the surface though and you’ll discover jaw-dropping landscapes, beautiful beaches, deserted islands, majestic mountains and a whole lot more. I mean, the list goes on but there are so many incredible things to do in Scotland.
There are some really fun facts about Scotland that will blow your mind too. For example, did you know that the national animal of Scotland is a mythical creature that’s never been seen before (and it’s not Nessie)? What about having the world’s shortest flight? Then make sure you read on!
It’s time to test your knowledge (and get you acing the next pub quiz) with these quirky, interesting and downright fun facts about Scotland.
These are the facts that will have you shouting “I never knew that about Scotland!” I promise you they are really interesting!
Hopefully this will give you more of an understanding and inspire you to visit Scotland soon.
Also, don’t forget to see our fun facts about Great Britain to learn more about England & Wales too.
Fun Facts About Scotland
1. Unicorn fever
The official animal of Scotland is the unicorn, which is kinda weird because no one has ever seen one before. Then again, England’s national animal is a lion, and it’s not like you see them roaming around the countryside.
2. The highest waterfall in Great Britain
Scotland is home to the tallest waterfall in Great Britain, named Eas a’ Chual Aluinn. At 658 feet, it is three times the height of Niagara Falls, just not as famous.
3. An ancient tree
Scotland is home to the oldest tree in Europe and it is one of the old living organisms in the world. It is a twisted yew that has been around for over 3,000 years. It’s easy to see why this is such a mysterious country!
4. Dress for the weather
I think this is one of my favourite fun facts about Scotland. The raincoat was invented in Scotland by a man named Charles Macintosh, hence the name the “mac”. We’re not saying it rains a lot, but having a good mac does help.
5. Forget Area 51, it’s all about Bonnybridge
The small Scots town of Bonnybridge has become the UFO capital of the world. The town has more than 300 sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects reported every year. What do you think, aliens? I think aliens…
6. The world’s shortest flight
Scotland is home to the world’s shortest commercial flight in the world. The journey from Westray to Papa Westray in Orkney is approximately 1.5 miles long and takes just 47 seconds. The tickets are quite expensive too!
7. Modern technology
You have to be very thankful to Scots, because they helped invent the modern world. Scotsman Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in February 1876, and engineer John Logie Baird created the world’s first TV picture on October 2, 1925.
8. No haggis here
One of the more interesting facts about Scotland, but since the 1970s all imports of haggis to the US have been completely banned. If you want to good stuff, get yourself to Scotland.
9. The birth of the chicken tikka masala
Okay, even I will admit this is a really contentious one, but some people think that the world-famous chicken tikka masala was invented by a Pakistani chef in Glasgow in 1971. Even though Scotland might be better known for haggis, battered Mars bars and whisky, they do a damn good curry too.
This is one that bugs a lot of Scots, but the nickname ‘Braveheart’ was actually for Robert the Bruce, not William Wallace at the film depicts. Robert the Bruce was one of the most famous warriors of his generation and eventually led Scotland during the First War of Scottish Independence against England.
11. The heritage of Scotland
Even though Scotland has a population of 5.3 million people, there are more people with Scottish heritage living in the US than there are in Scotland. The number of Americans of Scottish descent today is estimated to be 20 to 25 million.
12. Touched by fire
Scotland has the highest proportion of redheads in the world. A whooping 13% of the population are redhead. Sir Chris Hoy and Euan McGregor are two fine examples of Scottish redheads. If you like redheads, you know where to go.
13. The home of golf
Scotland is considered the home of golf as it was invented there in the 15th century. The sport was first played on the east coast of Scotland using pebbles and sticks. Since then, St. Andrew’s became one of the world’s first golf courses founded in 1754 and it is still considered one of the best in the world. When it comes to Scottish facts, this is one Scots love.
14. A land of three languages
This is a Scottish fact that not everyone knows about, but Scotland officially has three different languages – England, Scottish Gaelic and Scots. Scottish Gaelic is an ancient Celtic language that evolved from Old Irish, and Scots is a Germanic language that’s similar to English but is considered a different language.
15. Home to the Loch Ness monster
Do you believe in the Loch Ness monster? What about if I told you that the first recorded sighting of Nessie was in 565 A.D? Whether you believe or not, you have to admit it’s an amazing story. And you never know what’s lurking under the water…
16. Seeing the world in colour
Personally, I think Scotland is one of the most photogenic places in the world. Well, it seems like I’m not the only one, because the world’s first colour photograph was taken of a Tartan Ribbon in Scotland.
17. Playing the bagpipes
This is another fun fact about Scotland that will really surprise you. The bagpipes, Scotland’s notorious droning instrument, was invented in ancient Egypt. It was thought that the Romans first brought the bagpipes to Scotland, who then took the instrument as their own.
18. Scotland’s Stonehenge
Scotland has its own version of Stonehenge – the Callanish Stones. You can find this mysterious ring of stone on the Isle of Lewis, and it’s thought they date back to 3,000 BC. Much like Stonehenge, no one knows how or why the stones were erected.
19. Islands galore
Scotland has 790 islands of the coast, but only around a quarter of these are inhabited. Some of the most popular islands to visit are the Isle of Arran, the Isle of Harris and the Isle of Skye. There are a whole lot more than that though which is why you need to visit Scotland.
20. Castle on a haunted hill
Edinburgh is considered one of the most haunted places in the world with Edinburgh Castle right at the centre of that. Lots of people have heard the beat of the headless drummer down in the dungeons. Seriously, it’s supposed to be super spooky down there.
21. Listed buildings
Another fact about Edinburgh I love is it’s got more listed buildings than anywhere else in the world. Edinburgh Castle was first built on Castle Rock late in the 11th century, and the city has grown in its shadows ever since then. If you’re looking for architecture and history, you’ll find it here.
22. High hedges
Ready for this very random fact about Scotland? The world’s tallest hedge can be found in Scotland. Yes, you read that right. At over 1,700 feet in length and 100 foot high, this mamouth hedge is located near Meikleour.
23. Sir Nils Olav
At Edinburgh Zoo, there’s a Penguin called Sir Nils Olav, who’s a Brigadier and has a Knighthood. Yes, there’s a penguin more famous than you or I will ever be. How does that make you feel?
24. Football crazy
The first-ever international association football game was played in Scotland. This match was between Scotland and England in 1872 and was played at the West of Scotland Cricket ground in Partick. Typically, the ended as a 0–0 draw. There have been some cracking games since then though!
25. Highland games
The famous Highland Games where people participate in caber tossing (throwing a giant tree trunk) dates back all the way to the 11th century.
26. Funny festivals
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival which occurs for four weeks in August is one of the largest performing arts festivals in the world. The festival attracts over 400,000 people from all over the world every year.
27. Fire! Fire!
Edinburgh was the first city in the world to have a fire department. They were all volunteers at the time and apparently weren’t the quickest at responding to danger.
28. Drink more water!
Scotland offers free water to all citizens which is pretty handy if you’re living there. Means you can have an extra-long shower and not worry about it.
We really hope you’ve enjoyed these interesting facts about Scotland – hopefully you learned something new! What was your favourite Scottish fact listed here? You can let us know in the comments below.
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