Many things come together to make the perfect holiday. Some of these will depend on your personal interests. For example, a history buff will love touring around a location’s historical sites to get a true sense of its past. An admirer of art and culture will make a beeline for galleries, museums and theatres.
But one of the best ways to feel at home in a new destination is to eat genuinely local food.
Scottish food has a long, proud and delicious history. With a diverse range of tasty, hearty ingredients, there’s something for everyone to eat in Scotland.
Many of the locations on our self-guided tours in Scotland have a reputation for first-class cuisine, from fresh seafood caught that day to incredible fusion restaurants in city centres. If you have any questions about these self-drive tours, please contact us.
To tickle your tastebuds, let’s dive into the Scottish foods you need to try on your upcoming trip!
Haggis: The National Dish of Scotland
While this may seem like an obvious starting point for an exploration of Scottish foods, it’s impossible to think of our country’s cuisine without haggis coming to mind. It was even immortalised in a Sir Robert Burns poem, ‘Address to Haggis’!
But what is haggis?
Haggis consists of various meats, onions, oatmeal, spices and salt. It isn’t the prettiest of foods to look at, but it packs a delicious punch!
The most traditional haggis dish is called haggis, neeps (creamy mashed turnips) and tatties (mashed potatoes).
For the perfect topping, look for haggis, neeps and tatties served with a whisky cream sauce.
Tourists Love a Satisfying Bowl of Cullen Skink
While its name doesn’t bring to mind the most appetising of dishes, the reality is something quite different.
Cullen skink is the Scottish equivalent of the French bisque and American chowder, albeit more filling than the former and smokier than the latter.
The smokiness comes from smoked haddock. A truly traditional Cullen skink includes Finnan haddie, a cold-smoked haddock from Aberdeenshire.
A Cullen skink also contains leek and potatoes in a wonderfully creamy broth. This is a winter warmer that you can stand your spoon upright in.
It’s definitely one of the Scottish foods you have to try!
Scotland is a Paradise for Seafood Lovers
Scotland isn’t short of fishing villages and coastal towns. It’s no surprise, then, that locals and visitors alike have a wide range of sensational seafood to choose from.
In many places, the food on your dinner plate likely came from the same day’s catch!
Of course, options will vary from place to place, but you’re likely to find any of the following on menus:
- Atlantic Salmon
- Smoked Salmon
And Don’t Forget Arbroath Smokies!
The seafood delights continue with this staple of Scottish fishermen.
Three factors are at play with this food: a Scandinavian influence, Northeast Scotland’s love of haddock and a stroke of luck that has turned into a local legend.
As the story goes, some barrels of salted haddock caught fire one night many years ago. Instead of destroying a catch, though, the incident gave rise to the Arbroath smokie recipe.
Dried and salted in barrels overnight, the haddock is then smoked over a hardwood fire.
Pair with a salad for a lovely local meal!
Treat Yourself to Afternoon Tea in a Castle!
Taking afternoon tea has long been a favourite pastime for people looking to indulge in a little luxury. A trip to and around Scotland is already a great way to escape your usual routine — and finding the perfect spot for afternoon tea is the cherry on top of the cake.
With signature sandwiches, sweet pastries, creamy scones, and savoury tarts, not to mention a wide range of freshly brewed teas, this experience is as delicious as it is filling.
Both Edinburgh and Glasgow have various outstanding afternoon tea experiences to choose from, including inside Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. But there are just as many incredible options in hotels and castles across Scotland.
Whether you’re looking to start or finish a road trip in style, or you want to mark a special occasion during your adventure, don’t pass up this unique opportunity to pamper yourself!
A Full Scottish Breakfast to Fuel Up or Cure Your Ills
On the short list of foods you absolutely need to eat in Scotland: a full Scottish breakfast.
The weather isn’t our strong suit in Scotland, so breakfast has always been a warm and hearty affair. Bulking up with plenty of hot food in the morning is the perfect preparation for the day to come — or the ideal way to clear your head from the night before!
A full Scottish breakfast includes all the ingredients found in a full English, namely sausages, bacon, baked beans, fried eggs, fried tomatoes, mushrooms and toast.
But the full Scottish has a few extra ingredients!
You’ll also find black pudding (blood sausage), Lorne sausage (or square sausage, as the locals call it) and tattie scones (potato scones). In some places, your breakfast may even include haggis and oatcakes too!
This filling meal is a great way to get you through a long day on one of the many amazing road trips in Scotland.
Satisfy Your Inner Foodie with Our Self-Drive Tours in Scotland
If this list of Scottish food you need to try has got your stomach growling, our range of self-guided tours in Scotland can help to satisfy the hunger.
From Edinburgh to Glasgow, Loch Ness to Loch Lomond and the Hebrides to the Highlands, our carefully crafted tours can take you to all corners of our beautiful country.
Whether you’re excited for Harry Potter-themed tours in Scotland or you want a romantic escape to St Andrews, Pitlochry and Stirling Castle, we hope our expert food recommendations make your adventure even more memorable.
And the best part is, we have only scratched the surface of the culinary delights you can eat in Scotland, so there’s plenty more to discover yet!
For more information about our tours, or to ask any specific questions you have, please contact us.