With its breathtaking landscape and welcoming culture, it’s ridiculously easy to fall in love with Scotland. Treat a special Scotland lover in your life with some of these unique Scottish gifts. Whether their family has Scottish roots, it’s to remember a special trip or simply to spoil someone you care about, here are some suggestions of my favorite great and unique Scottish gifts ranging from the tasty to the toasty…and everywhere in between!
Shortbread House of Edinburgh
Is there anything more traditional than shortbread? The rich, buttery cookie (sorry, biscuit!) is hard to pass up whenever it’s offered. And, for my money, Shortbread House of Edinburgh is the best. The Laing family has been running the business in Edinburgh since 1989 and their shortbread is truly handmade. The only problem is that once you open a tin, you’ll find it empty much too soon. Shortbread is perhaps one of the most traditional Scottish gifts you can give.
Available from Amazon: Shortbread House of Edinburgh’s Shortbread Finger Tin
Tunnock’s Tea Cakes & Caramel Waffers
Fancy a Tunnock’s Tea Cake or a Caramel? For many, they’re an important part of tea time and two of the company’s most popular sweets. The family-run business has been around since 1890 and they’re still going strong from their headquarters just outside of Glasgow. Tunnock’s Tea Cakes are comprised of a shortbread base beneath a dome of marshmallow-like Italian meringue that is all covered in chocolate (milk or dark, your choice!). The Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer is comprised of five layers of wafers with caramel between each and then the entire thing is coated in chocolate. Treat your sweetie to some of these delectable sweets!
Available from Amazon: The Very Best of Tunnock’s Gift Box
In 1867, Brodies were founded in Edinburgh. Since then, the tea merchants have been responsible for 150 years worth of high-quality tea. In particular, the tea brewers are known for several specifically Scottish blends: Famous Edinburgh, Scottish breakfast blend, and Royal Scottish. The newest, (it’s “only” been around since 1928) is their Ceylon-based Famous Edinburgh black tea. But who can forget a classic like the Scottish breakfast blend or the Royal Scottish? All three are available in lovely tins perfect for gifting and keeping the tea extra fresh. The Scottish gift of a cuppa takes you right back!
Scotland’s weather can be a little wet, a little cool, and a little windy. And no matter what time of the year it is, the perfect solution for battling that weather is a Scottish made cashmere scarf. The Edinburgh Woollen Mills has been around since 1946 and today you can gift your special someone with a beautiful cashmere scarf in a classic tartan or a striking solid color. A cashmere scarf is a Scottish gift that will last a lifetime!
Handwoven by the inhabitants of the islands in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, Harris Tweed is beautiful, high-quality fabric. It’s a protected name that is closely regulated. You can get the fabric made into any matter of things from hats to handbags to jackets and shoes. (I brought my dog home a Harris Tweed jacket from Edinburgh!) The perfect gift for a traveler is a Harris Tweed holdall bag.
Available from Edinburgh Woolen Mill: Harris Tweed Holdall Bag
St. James Smokehouse is one of the few remaining family-owned and operated salmon smokehouses in not just Scotland but the world. The company’s authentic Scottish cold-smoked salmon will entice your tastebuds and make your mouth water! And you can do so with a clear head as the Shetland Island raised salmon is sustainable.
Available from Amazon: St. James Scotch Reserve Scottish Smoked Salmon
According to law, only whisky made in Scotland can be Scotch whisky (as opposed to “whiskey”). So gift your special someone Blair Athol, a Highlander Scotch whisky, with a hint of oak and a rich maltiness. The 12-Year-Old set, complete with a hip flask and the option to engrave the bottle, is a thoughtful gift! After all, what’s a more classic Scottish gift than whisky?
Available from The Whisky Exhange: Blair Athol 12 Year Old Flora & Fauna
The Scots have a quirky sense of humor. In fact, each year nearly half a million people flock to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and many are there specifically for the comedy portion of the arts festival. If stand-up comedy appeals to your gift recipient, then consider Billy Connolly. The Big Yin, as he’s affectionately known, is beloved both inside and out of the nation for his raucous sense of humor. He’s a classic.
There are also some great comedies on the small screen, that is, the television! Still Game was a big hit in recent years before ending in March 2019. On Still Game, Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill portray two retired widowers in their 70s — decades beyond the actual ages of the actors. The duo and their friends get into all sorts of mix-ups and trouble in their working-class neighborhood on the outskirts of Glasgow.
For those with more quirky tastes, check out internet video maker turned TV star Brian Limond. Limmy’s Show is a loosely strung together sketch comedy show where nothing is off-limits.
This might be one of the most unique Scottish gifts on the list as tastes in comedy can vary widely.
Scotland has a rich history when it comes to the written word. From modern-day authors like J.K. Rowling to Irvine Welsh, to classics like Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson, there’s a Scottish born author for all readers.
J.K. Rowling is famous the world over for her books, specifically the Harry Potter series (perhaps you’ve heard of them?). For grittier adult tastes (and one of my absolute favorites), there’s Irvine Welsh. He’s best known for his novel Trainspotting, although he’s written dozens of books, many of which are set in and around Edinburgh.
Born in Edinburgh, Sir Walter Scott is so beloved that his birth city is home to a monument to him that is the second largest monument to a writer in the world. His output was varied from the Waverly Novels series to short stories, plays, and even non-fiction works. Perhaps his most famous works are Ivanhoe and Rob Roy.
Although they were not alive during the same period of time, like Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson takes his readers on adventures. From Treasure Island and Kidnapped to Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Stevenson captures the imagination of all ages! For an especially nice gift, I recommend Treasure Island featuring the illustrations of American artist NC Wyeth.
Available from Amazon: Harry Potter Books 1-7 Special Edition Boxed Set by J.K. Rowling
Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by N.C. Wyeth
Since opening in 1990, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut has been the place to see new and up-and-coming bands. English band Oasis was signed there in 1993 and I hear they were quite successful. But the city’s music scene is so iconic because of the bands that emerged from it and call it home. Some of the most popular Glasgow bands are Primal Scream and Franz Ferdinand. No other Scottish gifts will get the party started like this one (except maybe the whisky).
Available from Amazon: Primal Scream’s Screamadelica
Franz Ferdinand’s You Could Have It So Much Better
Looking for more gift ideas? Check out these gift guides:
12 German Gift Ideas for Your Favorite Germanophile
9 Irish Gifts for Your Favorite Irish Lover
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