Scottish souvenirs: What to bring Home From Scotland

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With its historic castles, ancient churches, vibrant cities, friendly locals and the unique landscape from Portree to Inverness, Scotland is the perfect holiday for anyone looking for an adventurous and cultural escape.

Whether you are staying for a couple of days or a couple of weeks you will probably want to bring some Scottish souvenirs back as gifts or to remind you of your holiday.

The good news is Scotland is full of cute souvenir shops where you can buy everything from sweets to tartan cushion covers. Many of the souvenirs are handmade which makes them even more special.

1. Shortbread

Variety of Walker's Shortbread.
Shortbread

Shortbread is a dry biscuit made from flour, sugar and butter. It dates from the medieval times and originated in Scotland. Apparently Mary Queen of Scots was particularly fond of shortbread and she is often credited with introducing shortbread to Scotland in the 16th Century.

Shortbread is sold all over Scotland. You will find it in supermarkets, bakeries and many souvenir shops. Whether you are staying in a small B&B in North Uist or a hotel in Glasgow you may even find one comes with your tea and coffee.

Shortbread lasts for a long time which makes it perfect to bring back home. Many shortbreads come in decorative boxes but for a more affordable option go for one of the supermarket brands.

2. Black pudding

Packed black pudding packets placed on the table.
Black Pudding

Black pudding has been part of Scottish cuisine since medieval times because it is a good way of using various parts of the pig. You will find black pudding all over the UK but in Scotland they add oats giving it a unique texture.

Many areas of Scotland have their own black pudding recipe. One such example is Stornoway Black Pudding from the Outer Hebrides. The recipe is over a century old and has been passed down through generations. This has resulted in it earning Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status, which means that only black pudding produced here can use the name. If staying in Stornoway you will probably get it as an option for breakfast. Otherwise you can buy it in supermarkets and butcher shops all over Scotland.

3. Tartan items

Symbol of Scottish identity tartan.
Tartan

When seeing a tartan pattern most people will immediately think of Scotland.

The colourful checked patterns date back to the Roman era. The reported associations between specific tartans and clans is not always accurate, but tartans remain an important part of Scottish culture and history.

In addition to being a symbol of Scottish identity tartan has also become a global fashion statement. Today you will see the patterns on everything from scarfs to ties, phone cases to umbrellas.

4. Tablet

Scottish sweet packed.
Scottish tablet

Scottish tablet is a sweet treat made with sugar, butter, and condensed milk. It is similar to the fudge you will find across the border in England. What makes the Scottish tablet different is the texture—it is creamy yet gritty—and it has a rich, buttery flavour. Recipes have often been passed down through generations which is why it is considered part of the Scottish culinary heritage.

Tablet is a great souvenir for anyone with a sweet tooth. It is also easy to pack since it is light and it lasts for a long time. Another benefit is that the packaging usually has cute Scottish designs, making it a good gift.

5. Whisky

Whisky has been made in Scotland for centuries.
Scottish Whisky

Whisky has been made in Scotland for centuries. People started distilling whisky as a way of using surplus grain. Over time whisky making became a craft with each region developing its own unique style. Today Scottish whiskies are known worldwide. The price varies significantly depending on the quality and how rare and old the bottle of whisky is.

Islay and the area around Speyside is well known for whisky production. When visiting the Isle of Skye, one famous distillery is Talisker. Established in 1830 it’s known for its peaty and smoky flavor.

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6. Edinburgh Crystal

Edinburgh glassware.
Edinburgh crystal

Edinburgh Crystal started producing high-quality glass and crystal products in 1867. Sadly, the company went bankrupt in 2006, but you can still find its products in antique shops all over Scotland.

Edinburgh Crystal is known for being excellent hand-cut crystal products that are elegant and luxurious. The company made a wide range of glassware including glass bowls, vases, decanters, and intricately designed stemware. An Edinburgh Crystal tumbler and two whisky glasses would be the perfect way to compliment a bottle of whisky as souvenirs.

7. Quaich

A quaich is a drinking cup from the 17th Century. It has a shallow, wide bowl with two handles on opposite sides. It symbolises the bond between the giver and receiver.

In the early days quaiches were used as communal cups for toasting and sharing whisky or other spirits. As a result the quaich has become a symbol of friendship and hospitality and they are often used for special occasions, such as weddings and Christenings.

In the old days they were normally made from wood but today you are most likely to find them made of metal, silver, or pewter with detailed Celtic designs.

Gift shops are the best places to find these drinking cups.

8. Tweed – Scotland

Tweed is a woven wool material. You can get tweed with no pattern, but herringbone or tartan are the patterns that are most associated with Scotland. Harris Tweed is the most exclusive type of tweed, and it can only be produced in the Outer Hebrides. It often comes in earthy tones reflecting the colour of the Scottish landscape and the island’s pretty beaches such as Luskentyre.

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Today you can find a wide range of items made with tweed since it is such a popular souvenir. Some of the most useful items to look out for are jackets, scarfs, soap kits and cushion covers. You will find tweed items on sale all over Scotland, from cities in the south such as Edinburgh, to Isle of Skye in the north.

9. Laverbread – Wales

Packet of Welsh Laverbread.
Laverbread

Laver is a traditional Welsh dish made with seaweed. The laver is made by boiling seaweed to a consistency which looks like paste with a dark-green, nearly black colour. It is eaten on bread and has a salty taste, a bit like what you would expect something from the sea to taste like. It is highly nutritious and is sometimes called a “superfood”.

It can be bought in local supermarkets, markets and souvenir shops all over Wales. It comes in many different forms – it can be fresh, frozen or canned in a glass jar or tin. The last two options are perfect souvenirs because they are easy to bring home and last for a long time.

Bio: Kristin of Scotland Less Explored

Kristin from Scotland Less Explored.
Kristin from Scotland Less Explored

Kristin visits Scotland regularly and her site has all the information you need to plan an amazing holiday to the more remote parts of Scotland. If you are looking to venture off the beaten path and discover the Scottish Highlands and islands visit Scotland Less Explored. Follow Kristin from Scotland Less Explored on Facebook and Instagram.

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