Scotland is a mystical land steeped in myth and legend. It is an island of heroic warriors, such as William Wallace of Braveheart fame; iconic castles, including Edinburgh Castle; romantic remote archipelagos, such as the emerald isles of the Hebrides; and austere natural beauty, like that found in the legendary Highlands. Fortunately for anyone visiting this storied country, we present a list of souvenirs from Scotland that relate to all of the aforementioned and then some.
Do you love kilts? If so, we got you covered, at least to your knees. Are you a whiskey connoisseur? You’re in luck, as Scotland is one of the best and most famous whiskey producers in the world. And no trip to Scotland is complete without picking up a tartan scarf, a traditional accessory for both men and women; a quaich, which is a classic Scottish bowl; or a set of bagpipes.
Although Scotland has a rich history, which it proudly celebrates, it doesn’t just live in the past. Here you will also find souvenirs that reflect the country’s magnificent modern times, such as ornate Heathergem jewellery, renowned Harris Tweed, Scottish heather honey, tasty Scottish tea and much more.
Whether it’s the past or present you prefer, Scotland has an eclectic array of uniquely Scottish souvenirs to make the memories of your trip last a lifetime. You can completely cover yourself in time-honoured Scottish garb, bring Scotland home in a bottle with malt or grain whiskey or serve Scotland in a bowl via a classic quaich.
Traditional and Contemporary Souvenirs From Scotland - Contents
What screams Scotland more than a kilt? The Scots make quality kilts in all sizes for men and boys. A kilt is perhaps the most authentic souvenir from Scotland you can buy. These knee-length garments originated in the Highlands centuries ago, and are still worn today throughout Scotland. Kilts are more than just clothing; they are sacred symbols of Scottish patriotism. You can buy a kilt off the rack or have one custom made to your specifications. If visiting Edinburgh, one of the best places to buy a kilt is Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers, which specializes in traditional Highland dress and accessories. If your travels take you to Glasgow, all your kilt needs can be found at MacGregor & MacDuff, aka “The Kings of Kilts,” which has more than 4,000 tartans to choose from and kilts to rent.
No kilt is complete without a sporran, which, after the kilt itself, is the most important piece of the ensemble. The sporran is a pouch worn in front of the kilt and serves the same purpose as a wallet or pocket, as the kilt has none. In fact, sporran is Gaelic for “wallet.” Sporrans are usually made of leather or fur, and typically have three tassels. Other essential kilt accessories include kilt belts and buckles, hose socks, brooches, pins, cufflinks, tartan ties and ghillie brogues, shoes that are similar to wingtips but have no tongues. If you want to go all the way with your kilt, put on a sgian-dubh, which is a single-edged knife often worn as part of traditional Highland dress and tucked into the top of your kilt hose with part of the hilt visible.
When it comes to authentic Scottish clothing for women, it’s all about the tartan skirt, as, historically, women don’t wear kilts. Unlike the knee-length kilt, tartan skirts are typically ankle-length and are worn with a colour-coordinated blouse. They are also frequently worn with a sash or shawl, which is pinned with a brooch. Similar to kilts, tartan skirts are usually based on the individual’s clan tartan. However, for those women who eschew custom, they can still find kilted skirts in many clothing stores throughout the country.
Everybody loves a good scarf, especially in countries with cold climates like Scotland. Like most Scottish-made products, tartan, cloth woven in one of the numerous patterns of coloured checks and intersecting lines, predominates and shows pride, and that includes scarves. Tartan scarves are made of wool, cashmere, silk and more, and come in all colours. Tartan scarves are so ubiquitous in Scotland that they can be found anywhere.
When visiting Scotland, chances are you will get caught in at least one downpour, most likely more. What better way to stay dry than under a tartan umbrella, or “brolly” as they’re called in this part of the world? Like tartan scarves, you will have no problem finding a tartan umbrella wherever you’re at in Scotland, and in whatever pattern and colour you prefer.
What better way to accessorize that new kilt or tartan skirt, or any outfit, than with a piece of unique jewellery? And in Scotland, that means Heathergems jewellery. This handmade Scottish jewellery, which makes for a great souvenir from Scotland, is made from natural heather stems grown in Scotland, and Heathergems is the only manufacturer of this unique product in the world. The stems are gathered, dyed and compressed into gemstones. Heathergems makes rings, pendants, bracelets, earrings, brooches and much more.
There’s no brand on Earth more synonymous with tweed than Harris Tweed, which is made from pure virgin wool and handwoven by residents of the Outer Hebrides in their own homes. In fact, Harris Tweed is so revered that it is legally protected by trademark and an established standard defined in the Harris Tweed Act. Harris Tweed products include suits, jackets, trousers, overcoats, hats, skirts, capes, purses, wallets, socks, gloves, slippers, hip flasks, Teddy bears and more in all manner of colours. And why not get them at the source? If going to the Hebrides, check out Harris Tweed in Tarbert on the Isle of Harris, which is also one of the most beautiful islands in the Outer Hebrides.
Football (Soccer) Souvenirs
Football is massive in Scotland, and the Scots are rabid fans. The biggest rivalry in Scottish football is between Celtic and Rangers, both based in Glasgow. No matter which team you support, you will have no trouble locating Celtic or Rangers gear in Glasgow and elsewhere. If you want to sport the green of the Celtic Football Club, your best bet is to check out the Celtic Superstore in Glasgow. Here you will find team jerseys, T-shirts, polo shirts, jackets, shorts, magnets, pendants, coffee mugs and more. If you prefer Rangers blue, head down to the club’s Glasgow Rangers Store, which proudly sells all of the aforementioned items, but with the Rangers colours and logo.
Loch Ness Souvenirs
One of the things Scotland is most famous for is Loch Ness, or, to be more precise, the fabled Loch Ness Monster. The image of the Loch Ness Monster, or Nessie, can be found on a cornucopia of Scottish souvenirs, which can be found all over the country, not just at Loch Ness. Nessie-themed souvenirs include T-shirts, hoodies, hats, jewellery, toys, plates, mugs, magnets, keychains, books, stationery, posters, Christmas ornaments, Harris Tweed and so much more. There are no shortage of shops in Scotland that specialize in all things Loch Ness, including the Loch Ness Nessie Shop and Loch Ness Gift Shop in Inverness.
William Wallace Souvenirs
Sir William Walllace, who was immortalized in the Academy Award-winning movie “Braveheart,” is one of Scotland’s most beloved national heroes and an instrumental leader in the country’s First War of Independence. To this day, Scotland still pays homage to William Wallace in many ways, including via souvenirs. Popular William Wallace souvenirs include statuettes, T-shirts, hats, books, glasses, tankards, collector coins, Wallace sword letter openers, rings, pendants, and more, many of which can be found at the National Wallace Monument gift shop in Stirling.
Bagpipes are the soundtrack of Scotland, and one of the most unique Scottish souvenirs you can find. Nothing stirs Scottish pride as much as the pipes, and you can bring a set home to always remind you of your visit. One of the best places in the country to buy bagpipes is the aptly named Bagpipes Galore in Edinburgh. If you’re not ready to play with the pros, you can get some practice pipes here. Another great shop is McCallum Bagpipes in Kilmarnock, the “world’s favourite Great Highland bagpipe maker.” In addition to full bagpipes, they sell solo chanters, practise chanters, reeds, reel pipes, small pipes, percussion and even Highland wear.
A quaich is not only a quintessential Scottish souvenir, but a small drinking bowl you can use every day, or just admire as a memory and a work of art. The quaich is generally made of wood, but can also be made of silver, stone, pewter or brass. They are frequently engraved with a clan’s crest or heartfelt message for a friend or loved one, which is why they are often given as gifts for weddings, birthdays, baptisms and anniversaries. Historically, the quaich was used by Scottish clan chiefs to welcome visitors or as a farewell cup, a tradition you can keep alive in your own home with your own quaich.
Scottish Heather Honey
Bring a taste of Scotland home with you in a jar of Scottish heather honey. This tasty treat comes from hives in the Highlands and is well-known for its full-bodied flavour and caramel-like taste, making it the go-to honey for chefs around the United Kingdom. Scottish heather honey is also overflowing with vitamins and manganese. In fact, it has up to 10 times more of some essential micronutrients than its global competitors, according to The Scotsman, and has officially been named a superfood. Scottish heather honey has a reddish-orange to dark-gold colour, and is often referred to as the “Champagne of all honeys.”
Are you a tea fanatic? If so, Scotland is the place for you, because like most people in the United Kingdom the Scots are devoted tea drinkers and quite serious about the quality of the tea they drink. The most revered brands in the country are Scotland Breakfast Tea and Scottish Blend. Scotland Breakfast Tea is a black tea that is typically served with milk and sugar, and is rather rich, strong and full-bodied, which is why it’s an ideal wake-me-up in the morning. Despite its name, Scottish Blend is not a whiskey, but rather the first tea to be specially blended to match the softness of Scotland’s water. It comes in a distinctive pyramid shape that allows the tea leaves to move around, thus ensuring a better cup of tea. But whatever brand you choose, it will make for a succulent Scottish souvenir.
Cairn O’Mohr Fruit Wine
Although Scotland is much, much more famous for whiskey, it also produces a very popular wine, Cairn O’Mohr. This line of award-winning fruit wines is made from berries, flowers and leaves found in Scotland, such as strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, oak leaves and brambles.
No list of souvenirs from Scotland is complete without mentioning Scottish whiskey. It is required that Scotch whiskey be made in a manner specified by law, and due to the fact that there are more than 120 distilleries in Scotland, any whiskey you buy will be of top quality. There are five categories of Scotch whiskey: single malt, single grain, blended malt, blended grain and blended Scotch whiskey. Furthermore, all Scotch whiskey has to be aged in oak barrels for at least three years. According to British GQ, some of the best Scotch whiskeys include Macallan Double Cask, aged 18 years; Glenfiddich Spirit of Speyside Distillery Edition 2020, aged 13 years; Deanston, aged 12 years; Glengoyne, aged 18 years; and Glen Scotia, aged 45 years. No matter what brand you choose, rest assured you’ll be taking home a bottle of one of Scotland’s best.