40 Scotland Facts For Kids + Quizzes

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Scotland is a country full of myths, legends and mountains. The home of Harry Potter, Nessie and those caterwauling bagpipes. It is full of history, tall mountains and inventors.

What makes it such an interesting country for people all over the world? Let’s find out and look at some Scotland facts for kids.

You may also like our Scotland Trivia Quiz.

Or for other kid-friendly games, try our road trip activities for kids or Zoom games for kids.

Scotland Information for Kids

1. Where is Scotland Located?

Scotland is part of the United Kingdom (UK) and is at the northern end of these isles.

It is also situated in Europe.

Our border is shared with England and being part of an island, the rest of our country is surrounded by water. 

2. Scotland Geography and Population

The capital city is Edinburgh (Edin-bruh) and the largest city is Glasgow (Glas-goh). 

Our population is 5.4 million.

The size of Scotland is 80,077 km². 

The tallest mountain is Ben Nevis and it is also the tallest mountain in the United Kingdom. 

In Scotland, mountains over 3,000 feet (914.4 m) are called Munros.

If you travel north to the Highlands you might see some of Scotland’s famous Heilan coos, Highland cows.

3. Scottish Languages

We have three languages!

The first is English, the most spoken language.

The second is Scots.

Scots is a language in its own right.

However, you won’t find people speaking Scots on its own, but you will be able to hear some Scots words in the different dialects spoken throughout Scotland

The last language, Gaelic (pronounced gaa-lic) is currently going through a resurgence and people are learning what was deemed to be a dead language, again.

Gaelic is mainly spoken in the very northern parts of Scotland and on the islands. 

There are many different accents around Scotland.

It can make it tricky to understand what is being said. In the west, people tend to speak very fast.

In the east, they speak more slowly but with a stronger accent.

In the South, as they are closer to the border, it is easier to understand what is being said, and in the north, they speak with a lilt to their voices.

This is almost like a sing-song voice and it is very easy to have a conversation. 

4. Scottish Currency

Our currency is the British pound sterling. 

5. Scottish Weather

The weather in Scotland is unpredictable! It can be sunny, snowing, rainy and windy all in one day!

This makes it a colder country than many others in Europe. 

6. Scottish Politics

Scotland is a country in its own right as it has its devolved government, however, it is not an independent country.

Being a devolved parliament, Scotland can make laws on some issues such as Health, Housing, Education and Crime.

There are 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) and they debate and vote on these laws for the Scottish people.

The Scottish Parliament is located in Edinburgh at Holyrood.

Other issues such as whether Scotland can go to war is decided by Members of Parliament (MPs) at Westminster, London. 

These are called reserved issues.

Scotland, as part of the United Kingdom, has a monarch, King Charles III.

He has his own residence here, Balmoral in Royal Deeside is where he spends his summers.  

Scottish Parliament building with blue sky

The Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh

The design of the Parliament is said to resemble a famous painting called The Skating Minister by Henry Raeburn.

You can see the painting at the National Gallery in Edinburgh.

What do you think?

What is Scotland Famous For?

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Scotland? 

7. Kilts!

This is the traditional costume of Scotland.

Made from wool, it can be a bit itchy to wear and on a hot day, you will be very warm.

They are different patterns and colours which are called ‘tartan’.

Each tartan is unique to a ‘clan’ or a family of Scotland.

You might have a surname that originated in Scotland, such as MacDonald or Campbell.

These are clans, and both have their own tartan, which members of the clan wear to various events.

Both men and women wear kilts. Men mostly wear kilts to rugby matches, when Scotland is playing, or to weddings. Women wear kilts to compete in the Highland Dancing. 

8. The Bagpipes

This is a musical instrument which you either enjoy the sound of or hate it.

Fun facts about bagpipes, until 1996, bagpipes were considered a weapon of war!

They were played as armies marched out to battle and often the opposing armies had never heard such a noise which frightened them.

Nowadays, you can hear this musical instrument on the streets of Edinburgh as entertainment for the tourists.

They are also played at weddings, important events and there is even an international pipe band competition where pipe bands from all over the world come together and compete to win this trophy.

Piper in red kilt with bagpipes

9. Harry Potter!

Yes, the Harry Potter books were written by J.K Rowling in Edinburgh.

They take their inspiration from many areas in Edinburgh and even though Harry left for Hogwarts from Kings Cross Station in London, Hogwarts school was situated in Scotland.

The filming of Harry Potter from the third film onwards was on location in famous Scottish places which include Glen Coe, Fort William, Glen Nevis and Loch Morar.

There is not a Scottish town or city which doesn’t have a wee bit of Harry Potter memorabilia in a shop somewhere.

You can even take a trip on the ‘Hogwarts Express’ from Fort William, across the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct and then onwards to Mallaig. 

Jacobite Steam Train Hogwarts Train going over Viaduct in Scotland

Glenfinnan Viaduct

10. Haggis

This is a food and not an animal.

You may hear people joking that they are off haggis hunting, but there is no such wee furry animal.

Haggis is made from the heart, liver and lungs of a sheep, minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt and traditionally boiled in the animal’s stomach for approximately an hour.

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

Don’t worry you can get a vegetarian haggis as well. It is just as tasty but with no animal parts in it.

If you study Scottish poets at school, you will have heard of Rabbie Burns.

He wrote a poem called ‘An Address to a Haggis’.

This is recited every year on Burns Night, where the haggis is brought into the room with bagpipes playing and then someone will say the poem and the haggis is then cut open with a huge sword.

We take our traditions very seriously in Scotland!

11. Irn Bru

This is the nectar of all Scottish teenagers.

It is a fluorescent orange colour and looks very unappealing.

However, this is the drink of choice in Scotland – one of only five countries where coke is not the top drink of choice.

It does actually contain iron in the recipe!

They have made lots of very funny adverts for their television campaigns.

12. The Loch Ness Monster

This mythological monster resides in Loch Ness near Inverness.

This isn’t the largest or the deepest Loch in Scotland, but it does contain the most water, it contains more water than all of the lakes in England and Wales combined!

Plenty areas for the monster to hide in.

The water is a dark colour due to the peat that is washed down from the surrounding mountains.

The tale of Nessie has been around since 565AD making it a very old myth, but the first sighting was in 1933.

Since then there have been various sightings of the monster but no one is sure that she is really there.

If you want to explore yourself, google street view lets you view the area above and below the water. Let us know if you spot her! 

Funny Scottish Facts

Scottish people are well known for their sense of humour and how they don’t take themselves seriously. Here are some fun facts about Scotland for you.

13. National Animal is a Unicorn

Did you know that our national animal is the unicorn? You can see this on our coat of arms.

As a wild and untamed animal, it was considered to be strong and proud.

This represents the Scottish people well as we are a strong and proud nation. 

14. Ginger Hair, Don’t Care

Although you may make fun of people with red hair, we have the highest number of people in the world with this colour of hair.

We call it ginger. It is a true sign that you have Scottish blood in you. You may remember that Merida in the film Brave had flaming red hair. 

15. A Really High Hedge

We are home to the world’s tallest hedge! The hedge is over 1,700 feet in length and 100 foot high.

16. Nessie Has A Sister

One mythological monster isn’t enough for Scotland, we also have Nessie’s sister, Morag.

She lives in Loch Morar which is Scotland’s deepest loch. 

17. The Scots That Invented The World

The Scots invented a lot of the modern world.

John Logie Baird created the world’s first TV picture, while Scotsman Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in Boston.

These inventions have paved the way for modern technology as we now know it. 

Riverside Museum, Glasgow

Facts About Scottish Food

Most people don’t realise it, but Scottish people eat the same food as you do. However, we do have some particular delicacies.

18. Fish and Chips

One of our favourite meals is fish and chips.

We invented the ‘fish supper’ in Dundee in the 1870s.

Fried in batter – often which the recipe is a huge secret, the fish is served with chips, salt, vinegar and sauce.

At the end of a hot sunny day, there is nothing better than sitting on the harbour wall, enjoying this food. 

Being an island nation, we love our fish and shellfish.

Another great dish is Cullen skink.

This is a thick creamy fish soup which is served with warm bread. 

Bowls of Cullen Skink

19. Haggis

Haggis is made from the heart, liver and lungs of a sheep, minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt and traditionally boiled in the animal’s stomach for approximately an hour.

It is served with ‘neeps and tatties’. That’s mashed turnip or swede and mashed potatoes. 

20. Venison

This is meat from a deer. It is meat with a very strong taste and is one of Scotland’s great natural products. 

21. Shortbread

We love our cookies so much and this is a traditional ‘biscuit’ of Scotland.

Made with butter, sugar and flour, it is a dish that most Scottish children learn to cook and enjoy.

This is also a gift that we give when we go ‘first footing’ just after midnight on New Year’s Day.

22. Tablet

Tablet is a crumbly sweet treat that will rot your teeth if you eat too much of it!

Ingredient includes sugar, milk, butter and condensed milk.

23. The Deep-Fried Mars Bar

Invented in Stonehaven, this is a mars bar which is fried in the same batter as you would find on a fish.

It quickly became the official dish of Scotland and is well worth a try if you find yourself in Scotland. 

24. Stovies

This dish causes a lot of arguments between people who make it.

There are so many variations, but the main ingredients are meat, potatoes and onions.

Thought to have originated from when masters gave their servants the leftovers from Sunday lunch, the recipients would make this dish.

It is another dish which is traditional on St Andrew’s Day and also on Hogmanay. 

25. Whisky

This alcoholic drink is made from the pure Scottish water which is plentiful in Scotland.

It is often called the water of life. They say that the rain that falls in Scotland is just whisky waiting to be made.

There are many varieties all around Scotland and it is one of our biggest exports to the rest of the world.

Interesting facts about Scotland

We are a nation that has a lot of traditions and here are some of them.

26. The Highland Games

Across Scotland in the summer months, Scots gather and compete.

The games include tossing the caber, which is a large wooden pole that is thrown to show how strong the competitor is.

Another few are hammer throwing, haggis tossing and a tug of war.

All these competitions take place over the day and are interspersed with Highland Dancing which in itself is a tough sport.

Two Highland dancers in kilts dancing on stage

27. Burns Night

Our Scottish Bard or poet, Robert Burns has his own day where we commemorate his poetry.

Scottish schoolchildren compete in Burns Poetry competitions where they recite some of his most famous works in the traditional Scots language.

At night, the many Burns Societies meet across Scotland and enjoy a ‘Burns Supper’ of haggis, neeps and tatties.

28. St Andrews Day

Scotland has its own patron Saint.

St Andrew was known for being a kind and compassionate man, much like the people of Scotland and on this day, we have traditional food like haggis and stovies, with parties going on across the country. 

The Scottish flag has the St Andrew’s Cross on it.

It is also known as a saltire.

You may also like our St Paddy’s Day Quiz and Zoom backgrounds.

29. Hogmanay

This is what we call New Year’s Eve (31st December).

It is a day where people across Scotland get ready to welcome in the new year.

Houses are cleaned from top to bottom. Beds are all changed, laundry is all done, dried and ironed.

We make sure that there is nothing that can bring us bad luck for the year ahead.

In Edinburgh, there is the world’s biggest street party.

On New Year’s Day, brave people run into the Firth of the Forth river at South Queensferry for charity!

This swim is called The Loony Dook.

30. First Footing

Traditionally a tall dark male should be the first person to cross the threshold of your house just after midnight on New Year’s Day.

He should bring with him gifts like coal, shortbread, salt, black bun and a wee dram of whisky.

These gifts symbolise that the home will be warm and never out of food for the next year.

Calton Hill, fireworks in Edinburgh

Scotland History for Kids 

Scotland is a country which is full of history much of which is taught at school. Here are some historical facts for you. 

31. Where Does the Word Scotland Come From?

Scotland comes from the Latin word “scoti” which means land of the Gaels.

32. When Was Scotland Found?

Scotland has been inhabited for around 12000 years! That’s a long time.

It was invaded by the Romans in 43AD.

You can see some of the legacies of this invasion around Scotland to this day. 

Many of the castles which battles took place in or started over are still standing today, Some are left in ruins for visitors to explore.

33. What are Scottish Clans?

The Scottish Clan systems were established in the 13th century.

The clans were like families and they looked up to the chief of the clan.

34. What About Tartan?

Clans had colours which were particular to their own clan. 

This then became their tartan. 

Today, some men wear tartan to special events like weddings.

Some Scots wear tartan for fashion too.

35. Scotland Vs England

There has been a lot of fighting between Scotland and England. Scotland has fought many battles for its independence from the English rule.

In 1706, the Treaty of Union brought England (which included Wales) and Scotland together and saw what we now call Great Britain formed.

36. Scotland’s National Symbol

The national symbol of Scotland is the thistle.

Legend tells us that this was one of the reasons that Scotland wasn’t taken over by the various armies who tried to invade the country.

The armies came upon fields and fields of these prickly flowers and couldn’t go any further.

All we know is that they are very sore when you try and walk through them!

Below is a picture of a thistle at the Canadian Rockies!

37. What Have Scots Invented?

Scotland is a country known for innovation.

Historically, Scotland has given the world inventions and discoveries such as the telephone, the steam engine, penicillin, and the television!

Where would you be without these inventions today?

Glasgow Facts for Kids

While Edinburgh is one of the largest cities in Scotland and the capital, the largest city is actually Glasgow and is often overlooked when you visit Scotland. Here are some interesting facts about Glasgow for you.

Glasgow’s population is about 600,00. 

38. Where is Glasgow?

Glasgow is situated on the River Clyde and is about 40 miles from Edinburgh. 

39. What is Glasgow Famous For?

When it was founded in the 16th century, it was a trading port and from there it became one of the most important shipbuilding cities in the world. 

One of its most famous people is Charles Rennie Macintosh. He was a very important artist.

He designed many of the buildings you can visit in Glasgow as well as the Glasgow School of Art which unfortunately burned down in a tragic fire a few years ago. 

There are over 20 towns in the US alone, which are named Glasgow!

Glaswegians, which are what people from Glasgow are called, are some of the funniest people you will ever meet.

They have a great sense of humour and don’t take themselves seriously.

They are friendly and will always stop to help you if you’re lost. 

40. What is the Clockwork Orange?

Glasgow is the only Scottish city to have its own underground railway system. It is called the Clockwork Orange because of the vibrant orange colour that its carriages are painted. 

Final Words

So there you have it, a wee tour around the wonderful country that is Scotland.

You will be able to explore a lot of these places that have been mentioned online and really enjoy our wonderful country.

Hopefully, you will visit soon and be able to put your knowledge to the test. 

See here to download your quizzes sheets.

About the author – Ruth is a school teacher and a travel fanatic with a bucket list that’s getting smaller.

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