One of the most common questions about the practicality of visiting Scotland is about the money that is used there. I even get questions from people who live in England about it!
Growing up in Scotland and visiting England I always knew first hand the problems that the differences in the money gave. Sometimes people would think I’d given them a fake banknote when I tried to spend Scottish pounds!
Now that it’s the other way round and I visit Scotland it’s always a treat to see the different notes there, but as you’ll find out I try not to bring them home and always spend them!
If you’ve been wondering about the money situation when traveling to Scotland then this post should answer all of your questions.
Tip – if you’re traveling to Scotland I recommend getting a bank account that has no fees when traveling like Wise.
So what money does Scotland use?
Scotland uses Great British Pounds, or Pound Sterling, just like the rest of the UK. Where confusion comes in is around the fact that Scotland has its own set of Sterling bank notes that are different to those used in England.
What does Scottish money look like?
It’s only Scottish banknotes that look any different to any other money in Britain. Coins will look exactly the same.
Notes will come from either the Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of Scotland or Clydesdale Bank. An example is in the picture above. While in Scotland you may also receive English banknotes as well from the Bank of England.
Can you use English Money in Scotland?
Yes. You’ll have no issues at all using English money and banknotes all over Scotland. No one will question it at all.
Can you use Scottish money in England?
While you can use English money in Scotland, it isn’t always as straight forward the other way round.
It should be fine to use Scottish money when in England, it is legal tender, but because it looks so different many places may refuse to take it. You might find this especially happens in small independent shops and restaurants rather than the bigger chains. They aren’t used to seeing this kind of money every day and sometimes it can spook them and think that it’s fake.
Tip – if you’re also travelling to England or Wales after Scotland try to use up any Scottish notes while in Scotland over using any English ones. Save your English banknotes for the rest of Britain!
Should you exchange money before I travel to Scotland?
If you’re landing in Scotland directly from overseas then it’s a good idea to have some British Pounds before you arrive.
It can be useful to pay taxis, public transport or to get some food once you arrive, although almost all can be paid by card these days too. Having some extra notes for tipping is a good idea too.
If you’re getting currency before arriving in Scotland then it’s likely you’ll be given standard English banknotes. This is absolutely fine for using in Scotland – don’t worry about that at all.
If you’re starting your UK trip in England then any money you have from that portion will be fine for coming to Scotland.
How much are ATM fees in Scotland?
If you’re arriving in Scotland and need to get money then taking some out from an ATM, or cash machine, is a good idea. (In Scotland you may get Scottish banknotes when you withdraw)
You can find ATMs in many places like outside a bank (and often inside too), supermarkets, post offices and in shopping centres.
The vast majority of ATMs in Scotland are free to use and it will state that on the machine. They tend to be owned by the banks and will have the signage of the bank on it.
Be aware that you can also find some machines that do charge you to use them. These are more commonly found inside smaller shops or perhaps in more remote places. They normally warn you that there’s a charge before you withdraw money. It’s normally between about £1-2.50 charge.
Remember that your bank may also charge a fee for using an ATM even if the cash machine itself doesn’t charge. It’s best to use the free ones if you can!
More Scottish Currency FAQ
Does Scotland have its own currency?
Scotland uses Pound Sterling (GBP) just like the rest of the United Kingdom. Scotland does have some different banknotes that are commonly used throughout the country.
Is Scottish Pound the same as the British Pound?
Yes – Scotland uses Pound Sterling and it’s the exact same as is used around Britain in England and Wales.
Can you still use Scottish Money in England?
Scottish money should be accepted by establishments in England in theory. In practice some smaller shops and retailers may not recognise the different banknotes and be reluctant to accept them.
Is Scottish money worth less than English?
No, Scottish pounds are exactly the same as for the rest of the UK, including in England.
Does Scotland accept Euros?
No. Scotland used British Pounds and does not accept Euros. You’ll need to exchange your money at a bank or travelers exchange into pounds to use in Scotland.
Does Scotland accept US dollars?
No. Scotland used British Pounds and does not accept dollars. You’ll need to exchange your money at a bank or travelers exchange into pounds to use in Scotland.
Can I use my bank card in Scotland?
Most Scottish businesses will accept VISA and Mastercard debit and credit cards.
American Express cards may be less likely to be accepted in smaller shops and restaurants – it’s a good idea to ask before you need to pay.
Is Scottish money legal tender?
Scottish banknotes aren’t officially legal tender, even in Scotland. This means that you can’t insist that places will accept your money, especially if you try to spend Scottish money in England.
The best practice is to spend your Scottish banknotes while in Scotland and try and keep any English ones for changing and spending in the rest of the UK.
Can you exchange Scottish money abroad?
You may have difficulties exchanging Scottish banknotes outside of Scotland so it’s recommended to change them while still in Scotland. You could also try and swap them for English notes which can be exchanged more easily abroad or when you get home.
Scottish currency – what you need to know while traveling:
I hope you’ve found this post helpful for arranging your finances when traveling in Scotland. It’s fairly straightforward but it’s always good to know, especially if you’re traveling onwards in the rest of the UK.
If you can, try and spend your Scottish banknotes before leaving the country or swap them for English notes. Or go and buy some lovely Scottish whisky or nice gift before leaving!
🏴 Scotland Travel FAQ 🏴
Do I need insurance for traveling to Scotland?
YES! I always recommend people take travel insurance when exploring the world!
Check Travel Insurance Master for quote comparisons from different providers.
Do I need a car for visiting Scotland?
YES – If you’re wanting to explore Scotland fully then a car is worthwhile. It will get you to all the best sights and on your own timetable
I recommend DiscoverCars to compare car rental prices in Scotland
How to book accommodation in Scotland?
For hotels I recommend Booking.com
For apartments and cottages check out VRBO
Will my phone work in Scotland?
Perhaps – it depends if you have roaming enabled and beware this can be an expensive way to use your phone.
What to pack for Scotland
Keep yourself dry be prepared for any weather is my motto for Scotland! A rain jacket and comfy shoes are a must.
See my post about what to pack for Scotland
Do I need midge spray for Scotland?
YES – if you’re traveling in the summer months to any of the west coast, highlands, islands or lochs it’s recommended.
Locals swear by Avon’s Skin So Soft!
If you’re sticking to the cities or traveling in winter, early spring or late fall then you likely won’t need it.
What’s the best guidebook for Scotland?
I really like the Lonely Planet Guidebooks
Where to get flights for Scotland
Skyscanner is my first port of call for finding cheap flights to Scotland.
Do I need a visa for Scotland?
Many countries don’t need a visa for visiting Scotland as tourists (USA, Canada, Aus, NZ and Europe) – it’s always best to check first though.