5 Scottish Quirks You Won’t Find in Mainland Europe

View over Glasgow’s city centre. Image by Pirkko Seitsenpiste from Pixabay

Every country has its own habits that can be totally different than the ones you know from your home country. Here is a list of some of the Scottish quirks that you will notice, even if you only visit Scotland for a short amount of time.

1. Deep Frying a Pizza

When you visit a Fish and Chips shop, you will come across a speciality from the Scottish kitchen. And no, it’s not the fish. Next to pizza, pies and other rather unusual menu additions, you will find some unidentifiable fried food in the display. This can be anything from fried Mars Bars, fried pizzas, fried pickles, to fried sausages. There is nothing Scots can’t and won’t deep fry.

Make sure you have a strong stomach before you try any of this. For beginners, a fried Mars Bar might be the best deep-fried thing to start. It doesn’t have as much fat as a deep-fried pizza, and can eventually even taste good.

2. No Sockets in the Bathroom

Probably one of the most annoying things of Scottish flats is the fact that you won’t find any sockets in the bathroom. Due to strict health and safety regulations, you will occasionally only find a special socket for shavers.

If you are used to drying your hair in front of the bathroom mirror, or want to plug in your fancy electrical toothbrush, then you will need to rearrange that. Even if your sink is 10 meters from your shower or bathtub, you won’t be allowed to install any sockets in your bathroom.

3.Restaurant Quality Pub Food 

You probably don’t associate Continental pubs with high quality food but with a standard kitchen, football, beer, and rather older customers who sit there on a regular basis. This is the complete opposite in Scotland. Of course, here are a lot of “old men pubs”, too, but these pubs are usually much friendlier than the Continental ones.

Another difference is the fact that the food in Scottish pubs can be really good. It’s completely normal to go to a pub for food and not just to have a pint. Next to simple traditional Scottish food, you can also find menus that come close to the ones you find in actual restaurants. For example, The Bell Jar in Glasgow’s Southside has a menu that includes fancy dishes such as a “Mediterrean Fish Stew with Mussels, Prawns and Haddock”.

4. The Unconditional Love For Spray Tan

Living in the North comes unfortunately with a low amount of sun hours, resulting in pale skin and low Vitamin D. Thus, when Scots get the opportunity to tan, they will. Even when that means sunbathing at 10 degrees. Or using spray tan.

In case you were wondering how it can be that you are paler than anyone else in summer, then it’s probably because everyone else is cheating. There is a huge selection of different spray tans in beauty retailers such as Boots that can be a bit overwhelming for Continentals with absolutely no clue.

If you reached the point that you don’t want to be the only Snow White at parties anymore, you can think of giving the spray tan a chance. But be warned: It can turn you into a carrot.

5. Summer Clothes During Arctic Temperatures

Scottish weather can be quite cold and rainy most of the time, this is no big secret. Once it’s windy, it’s usually time for Continentals to put on a scarf and waterproof jacket. That is the moment when you can tell from 200 meters away that someone is from mainland Europe. Even in an ice-cold winter, you will see people running around in shorts. Or in short dresses, tackling the snow on heels without any goose bumps. 

While some of the Scottish quirks are easy to adapt once you are here, others such as leaving the jacket at home for a pub crawl can be a bit more challenging. You will come across more interesting habits the longer you are in Scotland, and will be able to add some other things to the list above. Although you’re not too far away from mainland Europe, you will be surprised how many things are handled a bit differently in Scotland.


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