About Scotland

Sites, cities, life and attractions - a thematic guide to Britain

Discover Scotland - a short introduction
Index  Scotland and its people Areas of Scotland
Main cities of Scotland Scottish specialities Major tourist attractions

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Paysage des Highlands d'Ecosse
Highland landscape

Scotland and its people


Scotland forms the most northerly of the countries that currently make up the United Kingdom. It has been part of the United Kingdom since the signing of the Act of Union in the year 1707. It covers the northern part of Great Britain, and occupies 32% of the surface area of the United Kingdom: however its population of 5.5 million is only 8.4%, of the population of Britain, and has grown only marginally over the last forty years.

Population density

   With just 68 people per sq. km. (compared to over 400 per in England), Scotland is one of the least densely-populated countries in the European Union. In the Scottish Highlands and Islands, the population density falls to just 9 people per sq. km, making this one of the most sparsely populated areas of Europe, comparable only to northern Scandinavia.

Scotland and Europe

At the 2016 referendum, Scotland voted by a majority of 58% to remain in the European Union. But when the UK left the European Union in 2020, Scotland could no longer remain as it is not a sovereign state.  
    The Scottish National party, the SNP, is in government in the Parliament of Scotland, and has 48 of the 58 Scottish MPs in the UK parliament in London.  The SNP is demanding a new referendum on Scottish independence, but the government in London has refused.  Will Scotland eventually become independent again? Time will tell....

Reaching Scotland

By air

Glasgow and Edinburgh airports are well served by low-cost and traditional airlines, with direct flights from airports all over Europe and from North America.

By sea and drive

The easiest way to reach Scotland from Europe with a car is to take the DFDS Ferry from Amsterdam to Newcastle, avoiding hundreds of kilometers of busy motorways through England. The easiest way to drive from London is to use the M1 - M6 - M74 route, the "west coast" route via Carlisle.

By train.

Direct trains to Edinburgh and Aberdeen run from London's Kings Cross station. Direct services on the west coast route to Glasgow run from London's Euston station. For train tickets see The Trainline

Areas of Scotland

   In geographical and economic terms, Scotland can be divided into four areas:
    These are not administrative areas. For administration and tourism, Scotland is today divided into 32 areas of very different sizes, including cities, ancient counties, and larger diverse areas.

Scotland's cities

Scotland has four large cities.

Scottish specialities - the spirit and taste and sounds of Scotland

Scotland is a country with a remarkably strong cultural identity; and there are five items that  are strongly associated with Scotland and Scottish life, the world over.
Scotland's main tourist sites: see Tourist attractions

Photo top of page :  Iconic among the historic monuments of Scotland, the Wallace Monument, at Stirling in the heart of Scotland, is a celebration of national identity

Royal Mile
Edinburgh's historic Royal Mile

Prehistoric standing stone at Stenness

Hotels and inns with character...
Independent hotels in Scotland

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