• Scotland covers an area of just over 30,000 square miles, has a 2300-mile-long coastline and contains over 31,460 lochs. Of its 790 islands, 130 are inhabited. The highest point is the summit of Ben Nevis (4406ft), while the bottom of Loch Morar is 1017 feet below sea level.

• The capital is Edinburgh (population nearly 480,000), and the largest city is Glasgow (population 580,000). While the number of people worldwide who claim Scottish descent is estimated at more than 25 million, the population of the country is just over 5 million – 1.2 percent of whom (roughly 60,000 people) speak Gaelic.

• Scotland is a constituent territory of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II. It is a parliamentary democracy whose sovereign parliament sits at Westminster in London, with elements of government business devolved to the separately elected Scottish Parliament which sits in Edinburgh.

Whisky accounts for 13 percent of Scotland’s exports and is worth over £3 billion annually.

Essentials

Everything you need to know before you set off.

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Scotland features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

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8 great alternative UK city breaks

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22 Feb 2017 • Greg Dickinson insert_drive_file Article
The most romantic places in the UK

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Whether your idea of romance is a stroll in the countryside or a sunset cocktail over one of the world's greatest cities, the United Kingdom isn't short of roma…

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8 alternative UK winter breaks

8 alternative UK winter breaks

The UK gets pretty grim during the winter, with its dark, early nights and splutteringly cold weather. But if you can’t wait until spring to start having fun …

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