Scotland - AA Travel Hub
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Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and covers the northern third of the island of Great Britain.


It shares a border with England to the south, and is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the south-west. In addition to the mainland, the country is made up of more than 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.


Edinburgh, the country’s capital and second-largest city, was the hub of the Scottish Enlightenment of the 18th century, which transformed Scotland into one of the commercial, intellectual, and industrial powerhouses of Europe. Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, was once one of the world’s leading industrial cities and now lies at the centre of the Greater Glasgow conurbation. Scottish waters consist of a large sector of the North Atlantic and the North Sea, containing the largest oil reserves in the European Union. This has given Aberdeen, the third-largest city in Scotland, the title of Europe’s oil capital.

Via Wikipedia

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Speed Limits

Standard legal limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers.


In built up areas: up to 30 mph (48 km/h) unless otherwise indicated, outside built up areas: 60 mph (96 km/h), motorways and dual-carriageways up to 70 mph (112 km/h).
Motor caravans with an unladen weight exceeding 3.5t or motor vehicles adapted to carry more than eight passengers are banned from the outside lane of a motorway with three or more lanes.
Scotland has many rural roads which are mainly one-lane with passing places.

Licence / Insurance

A visitor may use their national driving license only if they have reached the minimum age to drive a vehicle. Visitors from countries outside of the EU can drive in Scotland for up to 12 months, provided their licence is still valid in the country is was issued in. A provisional (learner’s) driving license issued abroad is not valid for use in Scotland.
It is prohibited to drive an imported vehicle in Scotland without adequate motor insurance. If the importer does not hold an insurance certificate valid for the United Kingdom, arrangements should be made prior to travel.
A minimum of third-party insurance is required.


Unleaded 95 octane petrol is sold as ‘premium unleaded’ and unleaded 97-octane petrol as ‘super unleaded’. All UK petrol and diesel contains 10ppm or less Sulphur.
Leaded ‘4-star’ petrol and lead replacement petrol (LRP) are no longer available. Drivers of older cars designed to use leaded petrol are advised to use lead-replacement additives available widely in filling stations and accessory stores.
Prices vary according to the region, fuel brand and type of outlet; supermarket prices may be lower.
LPG: There are approximately 1,300 filling stations which sell Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). If you are visiting Scotland please be aware that UK filling stations use a bayonet type LPG pump attachment that requires an adaptor for use with other European LPG vehicle connectors. UK filling stations do not generally have adaptors available so you should make sure that you have a suitable adaptor before travelling. The following two companies can supply ‘European to UK’ LPG adaptors:


Passenger vehicle tyres (other than motorcycles) for not more than 8 seated passengers must have a minimum tread depth of at least 1.6mm throughout a continuous band in the centre 3/4 of the tread and around the entire circumference.


Currently there no toll roads in operation in Scotland.

Other Requirements

While it is not compulsory, it is recommended that you carry a warning triangle, first-aid kit and fire extinguisher. Motorists must not use a warning triangle on a motorway.
It is an offence to use a hand-held phone or similar device when driving.
It is prohibited to use the horn when the vehicle is stationary, except at times of danger due to another vehicle in movement, or as an anti-theft device. The use of the horn is prohibited in built-up areas from 2330 to 0700 hours.
Visiting motorists driving left-hand drive vehicles should ensure that their headlights are adjusted for driving on the left, otherwise they risk being stopped by the police and subsequently fined up to £1,000.
At some intersections called ‘box junctions’, criss cross yellow lines are painted on the roadway. Traffic at these junctions must not enter ‘the box’ (i.e. the area of yellow lines) unless the exit road or lane is clear.

Travel Advice

Entry Requirements

A Common Travel Area (CTA) is in existence between Ireland and the UK (including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man). Under the CTA, it isn’t necessary for Irish citizens travelling to the UK to carry their passport with them. They must, however, carry an acceptable form of photo-identification, examples of which are listed below.

  • A Valid Passport
  • A driver’s licence with photo
  • An international student card
  • A national ID card
  • A bus pass with photo
  • A Garda ID with photo
  • A Work ID with photo

Please note, however, that some airlines and other carriers require that you have a valid passport before you can travel with them. Please check with your travel company regarding their requirements before travelling.

Local Laws & Customs

Practical advice

  • Read our travel advice, inform yourself before travelling and get advice locally when you arrive
  • Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them
  • Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or even illegal

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.

European Health Insurance Card

The Department of Foreign Affairs advise you to get a EUROPEAN HEALTH INSURANCE CARD (EHIC) before you travel to Great Britain. This card replaces the E111 form and entitles you to emergency medical treatment on the same terms as British nationals.

The EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance and doesn’t cover medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or treatment of a non-urgent nature. You can APPLY for an EHIC online at

Emergency Assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representativeOR HOTEL management.

Contact the Embassy

If there is an emergency, or if you need help and advice, you can contact the Irish Embassy in London or the Irish Consulate in Edinburgh.

If you phone outside ofWORKING hours, leave us a message giving:

  • Your name
  • The nature of your problem
  • Where you are now
  • Your contact details (mobile phone number or phone number of where you’re staying)

The Department of Foreign Affairs regularly monitor these messages and one of our staff members will be in contact with you.

How they can help you

The Department of Foreign Affairs have a lot of experience helping Irish citizens who run into problems when they’re abroad. Learn more about the kind of emergency assistance they can offer you.


If you’re planning a trip to Great Britain, the Department of Foreign Affairs advise you to take normal precautions.

Scotland on Instagram

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