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Scotland is famous for its top-quality gifts and souvenirs that include single malt whisky, cashmere clothing, crystal homeware, Heathergems jewellery, clan memorabilia and Arran fragrances.
Discover the best Scottish gifts and souvenirs to buy in Scotland at great prices in this information-packed guide.
The best gifts & souvenirs to buy in Scotland
So you’re nearing the end of your Scottish holiday and dreading the thought of packing your bags for the miserable trip back to the airport. As you start to decant the contents of your shower caddy into those little clear plastic security bags, you suddenly realize you haven’t bought any souvenirs to take back home. Doh!
Nothing for the parents, nothing for the friends, and nothing for the in-laws. What to do?
If you’re in a city like Edinburgh or Glasgow you’re in luck because you can take a quick walk down any of the main streets to find umpteen tourist shops where you’ll easily be able to pick up an overpriced trinket or two.
But what exactly should you be purchasing as a keepsake for yourself or a gift for friends and family?
As beautiful as Scotland is, it’s unfortunately plagued by that most serious of British tourism travesties – the tacky gift shop – so finding something you can be proud to hand out can be a bit of a problem.
Want a comedy tartan hat? You got it. Loch Ness monster plastic fridge magnets? No problem. ‘Cashmere’ jumper that says 90% Viscose on the label? Just pop into any tartan tat shop in Edinburgh.
The trouble is, all those cheap gimmicky novelty gifts will inevitably get chucked in the back of the cupboard a few days after they’ve been removed from their packaging, never to be seen again.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could buy some really nice gifts instead?
With that thought in mind I’ve created this article with suggestions for Scottish gifts and souvenirs that people will actually be glad to receive.
You will find all of these items are available to purchase online, so if you don’t have time to go shopping while you’re in Scotland you could always order them when you get home and pretend you picked them up in an exclusive Scottish boutique. 😉
If you’re looking for a unique Scottish gift you won’t find on the high street, take a look at the Out About Scotland Etsy shop.
Arran Sense of Scotland bath, body and home fragrance gifts
The first item in this list of Scottish gifts and souvenirs is my favourite by far. It’s also my other half’s favourite, my mum’s favourite and just about the favourite of anyone who loves a good long soak in a bath with deliciously smelly, creamy suds.
In fact, I rate this company so highly I reviewed a bunch of their products and created an article about them which you’ll find here: Arran Sense of Scotland Independent Product Review.
I’d place them near the top of the luxury home smelly-things market (that’s an actual business category isn’t it?) and they seem to expand their range with each new season so they now include skincare, diffusers, candles, and men’s toiletries in their collection.
What I love about the products these guys make is their commitment to protecting the environment, and all their products are made from natural ingredients, are free from nasty chemicals, and are not tested on animals.
Arran Sense of Scotland are proud of their heritage and each product line has a Scottish twist, so expect to find lots of hints of heather and gorse along with the Isle of Arran’s wildflowers – scents they’ve managed to perfect in the thirty years they’ve been going.
Arran Sense of Scotland started off as a family business that made luxury soap – which is still one of their most popular products – but my personal recommendation for a gift for men is the Lochranza Eau de Toilette which has a refined but not overpowering smell that lasts for ages.
My other half, meanwhile, swears by the After The Rain handwash. She won’t let me use much of it but when I’ve snuck a squirt out of the bottle while she’s not looking it always left my calloused hands feeling much smoother. Great stuff.
If you’re looking for an authentic Scottish gift bear Arran Sense of Scotland’s products in mind, and if you want to see what they currently have on offer check out the Arran Sense of Scotland website.
Cashmere sweaters and cardigans
Cashmere is one of the world’s most valuable textile fabrics due to the fact it’s so difficult to harvest. Unlike the wool from sheep, cashmere is woven from the fine downy undercoats of one particular breed of goat which isn’t native to Scotland.
These goats grow a thick, coarse layer of hair in the winter and only shed the fine hairs in summer, so not only is it slow-growing but there isn’t that much of it, meaning large herds are needed to produce enough fibres to make small amounts of textiles.
The number of herds in Scotland is growing year on year though, and today around 2,500 animals are used in the cashmere wool industry with the quality of the final product renowned the world over for its softness, durability, and warmth.
The inventiveness of Scotland’s clothes designers has taken cashmere wool to heart and there’s a fantastic range of hats, gloves, scarves, and coats that you can purchase online and on the high street.
Expect a genuine Scottish cashmere wool jumper to cost in the region of £150 and scarves to cost around £40, so if you see a ‘cashmere’ item labelled in a gift shop for £10 or less you can pretty much guarantee it’s fake.
The material is well worth the money and if you look after it, it’ll last for years. I’ve actually got a cashmere scarf that I’ve had for nearly ten years and it’s still going strong, and it’s got an added bonus that it seems to get softer and fluffier the more I wear it.
If you want an elegant, long-lasting quality Scottish gift, an item of clothing made from genuine Scottish cashmere wool is a great choice.
Clan memorabilia and clan tartan
The Scottish are a proud nation and they’re just as proud of their ancestral heritage as they are the country they live in, which is perhaps the reason why an entire industry has spawned around the clans.
The clans were initially formed by 12th and 13th-century Scottish warlords who imposed their rule over the peasants in each region by offering them protection in exchange for money (protection rackets have been going a very long time), but they weren’t officially sanctioned until the 14th-century when Robert the Bruce granted them land in exchange for going to war against the English.
The clan structure died away after the failed Jacobite rebellion of 1745 but the names live on and today the ancestors of the original clans enjoy a shared sense of history and belonging thanks to the distinct tartan colours and crests that each clan lays claim to.
The majority of clan souvenirs can be found online but you’ll also find gift shops dedicated to specific groups when you visit certain historic tourist attractions like Duart Castle (Clan MacLean) on the Isle of Mull and Castle Campbell (Clan Campbell) near Stirling.
If you’re looking for a clan souvenir you’re basically spoilt for choice as there are over 3,500 different tartans to choose from and over 500 separate clans with their own crests.
The biggest – Mackenzie, MacDougall, MacLeod etc – have lots of memorabilia in most of Scotland’s tourist shops and you’ll be able to get pretty much anything you can imagine labelled or engraved with your clan name and crest.
Most people like to buy gifts that feature their clan’s tartan and you’ll be amazed what you can find once you start looking, but if you really want to get an authentic memento that’ll last for years you could always get a kilt.
Kilts are still worn at all Scottish formal gatherings so if you’ve got a few upcoming weddings in Scotland it might be something worth investing in – but be warned a top quality one can cost well in excess of £500.
If you’re in Scotland you’ll find authentic kilt-makers in most high streets and many of them have ex-hire kilts that are a fraction of the cost of buying a brand-new one.
Discover everything you need to know about kilts, from how to wear one to where to buy one, in The Complete Guide to Scottish Kilts.
Edinburgh Crystal gifts
Unlike the other gift ideas in this article, Edinburgh Crystal is a product that’s no longer made, but it’s still possible to find decent examples if you like browsing second-hand shops, especially in Edinburgh.
The Edinburgh Crystal company sadly closed its doors in 2006 after a 139-year run, but the legend of the quality cut glass they manufactured lives on to this day – as can be seen in the number of crystal tableware, decanters, and vases that are sold on eBay.
The majority of the pieces you’ll find sold in antique shops are wine glasses, whisky decanters, fruit bowls and candlesticks, which aren’t that much more expensive than the items produced by ongoing British glass manufacturers like Waterford, but Edinburgh Crystal is considered to be more prestigious.
It’s also very heavy so bear that in mind if you’ve got airline weight restrictions on your return journey, and you’ll need to make sure it’s well packaged for when the baggage handlers inevitably decide to play football with your cases.
There are loads of designs in the Edinburgh Crystal portfolio but four are considered to be collector pieces (Star of Edinburgh, Thistle, King James, and Lochnagar) so if you’re lucky enough to find boxed examples with those names be quick and snap them up.
Unless you look on eBay it’s unlikely you’ll find genuine Edinburgh Crystal glassware online but Royal Scot Crystal sell similar designs on Amazon.
Haggis and haggis gifts
I have to admit my mouth is watering as I write this because I absolutely love haggis. If you’re from overseas and never heard of haggis it’s basically a savoury pudding that has been part of the Scottish diet since the 1400s.
Traditionally served with neeps and tatties (mashed swede/turnip and potatoes), haggis comes in various shapes and sizes but is usually bought in 500g ball or sausage-shaped portions which is enough to serve to 2-3 people.
It has a rough and crumbly texture and a peppery taste that works remarkably well with a good helping of whisky sauce, but it’s also versatile enough to serve fried with chips or even served on pizzas. You can even get vegetarian haggis, if that’s your thing.
Now for the unpleasant bit – the ingredients. I’m afraid the things that go into haggis are enough to give most people nightmares and to be honest when you see one in the flesh they look pretty gross.
The origins of Scotland’s national dish evolved from hunters who needed a way to store the offal of the animals they killed as the internal organs tend to go off before the rest of the meat. So what those ingenious Scots did was remove the heart, liver and lungs, mash it all up and mix it with onion, oats, and spices, and encase the resulting stodge in the animal’s stomach lining.
I told you it was gross.
The taste, however, is amazing, and once you start tucking in it doesn’t take long to get over the thought of what you’re actually eating. It’s really easy to cook as well because all you need to do is either boil it or pop it in the microwave.
As far as brands go, Macsween is one of the best but Grants aren’t far behind, and you’ll find gift-packaged versions from both manufacturers throughout Scotland.
If you want to learn more about Scottish food read: A Guide to the Best Traditional Scottish Food You Have to Try.
Harris Tweed jackets and Harris Tweed bags
Harris Tweed is one of the oldest commercial products made in Scotland today, with a heritage that goes back nearly 200 years. This cloth is sold around the world and is easily recognized by the Harris Tweed logo which features an orb and cross – officially Britain’s oldest certification mark.
There are a huge number of products made from this material and several manufacturers use it in their clothing ranges. However, the Harris Tweed brand is closely guarded and the fabric is only allowed to be made on the Isle of Harris in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides.
To get the certification, 100% pure wool must be sourced from Scotland and washed, dyed and spun on human-powered looms just as it was in the 1800s, with the final cloths undergoing a rigorous inspection. It’s for these reasons that Harris Tweed has gained a reputation worldwide for its strength, durability, and longevity.
By law, the certification tag has to be stitched onto every item that uses the fabric which is why you’ll see smaller gifts like whisky flasks and phone cases displaying it proudly front and centre, and in fact these labels have gained as much of a cult following as the material itself has.
You’ll find products made from Harris Tweed in pretty much every major tourist attraction in Scotland and there’s an incredibly wide range to choose from. Everything from coats to handbags to shoes and hats is made from the cloth, which makes it a great gift to give or keep for yourself as a souvenir.
If you’re looking for something made from Harris Tweed and you’re in Edinburgh or Glasgow you’ll find a multitude of items in any of the main shopping centres, or you can shop online and browse Amazon where you’ll find a selection of the most popular items.
Heathergems jewellery and Heathergems earrings
If you’ve visited the Highlands you’ll know that great swathes of the countryside are covered with the earthy colours of heather, the low-lying plant that gives Scottish mountains their brown colour in winter and their green and purple hues in summer.
Scottish heather is hardy and fast-growing and absolutely loves wet conditions, so as you can imagine it thrives all over this country. In fact, it grows across more than five million acres of Scotland’s moorlands, glens, and hills, so it’s no surprise it has a number of uses including medicine, beer, and jewellery.
The manufacturing process of Heathergems jewellery has been perfected over the last fifty years and it has become one of the most popular tourist souvenirs in Scotland, helped no end by the fact that each item is completely unique.
The heather is cut on hills in Perthshire, cleaned and bleached, and dyed in a variety of colours that reflect the ever-changing Scottish landscape.
The heather stems are then soaked in resin, compressed, and the resulting multi-coloured blocks are fashioned into various shapes that are polished and set in mounts to create necklaces, bangles, brooches, earrings and more.
There’s a visitor centre in Pitlochry where you can learn the process used to create these wee pieces of art as well as a shop where you can find some real bargains, but as it’s sold in jewellery shops throughout Scotland you shouldn’t have any problems finding the perfect Heathergems gift either online or in any Scottish city.
Wooden quaich and silver quaich
A quaich (either pronounced quake, as in earth-quake, or with the hard ‘k’ replaced by the Scottish ‘ch’ sound made from the back of the throat), is a traditional Scottish cup with a low bowl and two handles that was historically used as a way for quarrelling gentlemen to put aside their differences, before evolving into its modern-day use as a symbol of friendship.
The idea when using a quaich is to pour whisky into it, take a drink holding the two handles, and then pass it over to the other person, which is perhaps the reason why it’s nowadays often used in Scottish marriage ceremonies where the bride and groom each take a sip before saying their vows.
While the earliest versions of the quaich were made from wood, todays modern interpretations use a variety of materials including pewter, silver, horn, stone and brass. They’re also usually engraved with Celtic-style markings so they look quite ornate, which means they make a beautiful gift or a keepsake.
You’ll find quaichs in most jewellers as they’re frequently engraved and handed out on special occasions like birthdays, and they come in a range of sizes from plain 6-inch pewter ones costing £30-£40 to hallmarked solid silver examples coming in at nearly £1,000.
Yout might like to get your own quaich engraved while you’re in Scotland with a clan or family name but if not you’ll find a wide selection with generic designs on Amazon.
A Sgian Dubh (pronounced ski-an doo) is a small single-edged knife that’s worn as part of a traditional kilt. Featuring an ornate hilt and a plain scabbard, the Sgian Dubh is normally kept in the band of the sock on the right leg where it’s held in place by a small garter.
Although the origins of this now-ornamental knife stretch back hundreds of years it’s still used in traditional Highland dress and you’ll see them at all sorts of modern-day occasions including weddings, balls, and gatherings like Burns Night.
The reason why these knives are part of the traditional Highland dress is that they used to be kept under the armpit and were only drawn if the person came under attack, but as so many people had one back in those days it was considered polite to keep them in plain sight when entering someone’s house, hence its move to the sock band.
You’ll almost always find them in Scotland’s jewellers which is one of the best places to make a purchase as the handles will often be made from antler bone or metal which look much nicer than the cheap plastic ones you usually see in tourist gift shops.
Although the blade of these knives is only around 6 inches long the handle is often longer so you’ll likely need to check it in if you’re travelling through one of Scotland’s airports as it could very well exceed what is allowed onboard.
Note that although their use as part of a kilt is allowed in Scotland the tip is pointed and there’s a serrated edge on one side, so a Sgian Dubh could quite easily be classed as an offensive weapon in many countries.
You might get away with a replica though, and nowadays many Sgian Dubh’s have plastic blades that are designed to be kept in their scabbard, and some purely ornamental Sgian Dubh’s have no blade at all.
Note that these knives are really just for decoration so if you’re hoping to get one and take it into the great outdoors you’ll be better off getting any bog-standard multi-purpose knife instead.
Single malt whisky and Scotch whisky gifts
This gift idea is probably the one that first comes to mind when thinking of a souvenir that sums up Scotland – Scotch whisky.
Scotch is one of this country’s biggest exports and it’s drunk all over the world, with collectors willing to spend thousands on rare bottles.
While there have been many imitators over the years, none have come close to the genuine article, which is why a quality bottle of single-malt is such an iconic thing to buy on a visit to Scotland.
There are five main whisky-distilling areas in Scotland, each of which has its own distinct flavour, but the two most popular are the Speyside and Islay whisky regions.
Speyside is the area of the Highlands towards the east of the country around the River Spey, while Islay whisky comes from… the Isle of Islay. No surprises there.
Speyside whisky tends to produce sweet, floral flavours that are quite delicate and in total contrast to the spirit produced on Islay which is generally very peaty, smoky and in some cases, medicinal.
There are more books, video tutorials, and accompanying drinkware than you’ll be able to fit in your holiday bag, so what I suggest you do is either get a few 5cl miniatures from each region of Scotland you visit or get one (make that two) big 70cl bottles of your favourite tipple.
If you’re not sure what to buy pop into any dedicated whisky shop and ask the staff for help, but don’t go expecting free samples as that’s generally left to the distilleries to dish out.
Whisky shops almost always have whisky experts on hand and they’ll be able to suggest a few options you might like, but if you already have a big-name brand in mind you’ll typically find the best prices in supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury’s.
Just make sure you know the airport restrictions if you’re flying back home.
If you’d like to read a comprehensive guide to Scotch whisky take a look at: A Guide to the Single Malt Whisky Regions of Scotland.
While Scottish gin might not be as big of an export as Scotch whisky (at least not yet) its popularity is exploding and in the last decade the artisanal gins produced in Scotland have gained a cult following.
Traditionally, gin is seen as an English spirit and dry London gin is one of the world’s favourite varieties. However, the fact is that of all the gin produced in the UK, more than 70% of it comes from Scotland.
So why is that? Well, it actually started in Edinburgh’s port of Leith in the 1700s. Back then, Dutch traders sailed in and out of Leith on a regular basis, carrying with them an exotic range of spices as well as the fiery Dutch spirit Jenever.
The combination of this spirit and the rich abundance of herbs and spices lead to the blending of an alcoholic drink that slowly transitioned into the style of gin that is enjoyed around the world today.
Three of the world’s best-selling gins – Gordon’s, Tanqueray, and Hendrick’s – are now made in Scotland and some of the world’s oldest gin distilleries are still producing spirits, including Eden Mill in St. Andrews which is over 200 years young.
It’s fair to say, then, that Scotland is at the heart of the gin distilling industry.
When it comes to gin-themed gifts and souvenirs, you’ll find a number of differences compared to whisky.
The first and most obvious is the fact that bottles of top-end gin are generally much cheaper than top-end Scotch, and while you could potentially pay over £1,000 for a bottle of ‘the water of life’, the best gins tend to come in at around fifty quid.
The bottles are also much more attractive than whisky bottles and have a wider array of designs, with everything from coloured glass featuring embossed motifs to ceramic bottles with wooden stoppers.
Gin bottles don’t have quite the same mythology as Scotch whisky bottles, but the rarer ones are starting to sell for ridiculous amounts on eBay, so if you purchase an unusual bottle for yourself you might consider keeping it for the future to see if the value skyrockets one day.
As far as distilleries go, you won’t go wrong with Edinburgh Gin, while the island gins of Islay (The Botanist) and Skye (Misty Isle) come highly recommended too.
As far as buying gin goes you’re pretty much spoilt for choice as most whisky shops sell it as do supermarkets, off-licences, airports, and some of the better tourist gift shops.
Personally, I suggest ordering a bottle from Amazon as you won’t have to worry about transporting the delicate glass bottle back home, unless you really want the authentic touch, in which case just head to any gin distillery during your travels as they all have their own outlets.
Scottish sweet treats
Here in Scotland, we’ve perfected the art of making delicious treats that aren’t particularly healthy but are guaranteed to bring a smile to anyone’s face, whether they’re 8 or 80.
Traditional Scottish cooking is decidedly different from the English style because it developed independently and made use of different ingredients.
While the English refined cooking methods that were brought over by the Romans, Scotland had no signature cooking style until the early 1500s.
It wasn’t until the time of Mary Queen of Scots that the inklings of traditional Scottish cooking appeared, thanks to the influence of the French, who Mary allied with.
One of the earliest sweet treats in Scotland was a traditional biscuit bread that was made from leftover bread dough. The dough was mixed with butter and allowed to dry out which resulted in something similar to a crumbly rusk – which as you’ve probably guessed by now, developed into shortbread.
Today, shortbread is one of the most-exported Scottish food products after whisky, and the sight of a tin adorned with a piece of tartan and an obligatory Highland cow can be seen in every single tourist gift shop in the country.
There are dozens of manufacturers of these delicious biscuits, but by far the most famous is Walker’s who are so respected even The Queen loves their products and has, in fact, granted them a warrant to supply the royal household.
Alternatively, Dean’s of Scotland and Stewart’s of Scotland make superb shortbread, though having tried both I’d give the nod to Dean’s for taste and Stewart’s for presentation. As always, you’ll find the best selection on Amazon, so click the link below to see what’s on offer.
Another famous Scottish treat is Tunnock’s teacakes which are a bit of a legend in their own right. Tunnock’s have been making lip-smacking treats in Scotland since the 1890s, but it’s their iconic teacakes that the nation has taken to heart.
They comprise a biscuit base with a thick layer of marshmallow on top, all covered in a yummy coating of chocolate. They’re not exactly healthy and the sugar content alone is enough to make dentists weep, but paired with a good-old Scottish cup of tea they’re bliss in a foil wrapper.
Tunnock’s tea cakes can be found in pretty much any Scottish supermarket and to be honest that’s exactly where I recommend getting them from as the gift packs in tourist shops are seriously overpriced.
While hunting around on the shelves, keep your eyes open for Tunnock’s other delicious snack – Caramel bars – which are layers of wafer separated by caramel and covered once again in thick chocolate.
Other Scottish sweets are butterscotch (hard sweets made from sugar, cream, and butter) and tablet (a type of fudge that’s harder and has a crumbly texture), as well as clootie dumpling (a type of dried fruit pudding).
I’ve listed a few of Scotland’s favourite sweet treats in A Guide to Traditional Scottish Dishes, so click the link if you’d like to know how to make them yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are popular souvenirs to buy in Scotland?
Clothes made from Scottish cashmere wool. Clan memorabilia featuring clan mottos and crests. Edinburgh Crystal and Royal Scot Crystal glassware. Haggis. Clothes and products made from Harris Tweed. Heathergems jewellery. Quaich (a traditional Scottish drinking bowl). Sgian Dubh (a traditional ceremonial knife). Single-malt Scotch whisky.
Where can I buy Scottish gifts?
Tourist shops in towns and cities. Tourist information centres. Airport shops in Scotland. Tourist attraction shops e.g. Edinburgh Castle. Manufacturer retail outlets e.g. the Harris Tweed Company on the Isle of Harris. Online retailers e.g. Amazon.
What is Harris Tweed?
Harris Tweed is a cloth made from 100% goat wool that is sourced from Scotland and washed, dyed, and spun on human-powered looms. Only the Harris Tweed Company is allowed to certify the material with the 200-year-old Harris Tweed logo.
What types of Scotch whisky can I buy?
There are six main whisky-distilling regions in Scotland, each of which has its own distinct flavour – but the two most popular are Speyside and Islay. Other regions of single-malt whisky are; Campbeltown, the Highlands, the Lowlands and the Scottish Islands.
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Don’t forget to bookmark Out About Scotland to discover the best places to visit in Scotland, learn what to do in each region and get suggestions for top tourist attractions to add to your Scottish sightseeing itinerary.