Success stories such as JK Rowling’s Harry Potter global phenomenon, the Dolly the Sheep clone and the famous Shakespearean play Macbeth are just a few contributors towards creating the Scottish cultural powerhouse of present. With worldwide acknowledgement comes global tourist and business attention.
Scotland is the northernmost country in the UK. Almost five and a half million people populate around 310,000 square miles of Scottish land, consisting of 790 offshore islands. Scotland's three main geographic regions are the Southern Uplands, Central Lowlands or Midland Valley and the northern Highlands. Whichever region your serviced apartment is in, from coast to coast there is an abundance of wildlife, mountains, rivers, greenery and urbanity for your corporate needs. Scottish industry flows out the two largest cities, Glasgow and the capital Edinburgh. Whilst representing the state’s economic strongholds, the cities are also centres for tourism, embodiments of history and expressions of national culture. Myths and legends are also central to Scottish nationalism. The national symbol is the unicorn and its prized attraction revolves around the Loch Ness Monster legend.
Go back ten thousand years to the Palaeolithic era and you will come across what many believe to be the earliest known occupation of Scotland. Developed was centuries of empire invasion, the creation of the Kingdom of Alba, the actual leadership of the famous Macbeth and the significant Scottish Wars of Independence. Equally important in Scottish history was the Union of Crowns in 1603. The nineteenth century and beyond saw great industrial advances, a rural to urban shift, and significant Scottish contributions to war efforts. Dominating modern-day politics are debates over another national referendum for Scottish independence from the UK. Many independence voters argue Scotland’s economy has its own qualities, perfectly capable of supporting global investment.
A table produced by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2012 suggested if Scotland was independent, it would be amongst the top fifteen richest countries in the world based on GDP statistics. GDP growth is increasing around 1% each year, with Scotland’s economic value enjoying support from energy, financial, engineering and construction sectors to name a few. Scotland is a great place for business lifestyle and serviced apartment living. In 2017, more incentive deals were offered by Scotland to foreign companies than anywhere else in the UK. A big incentive is the numerous tax relief schemes such as the EIS, SEIS, and SITR. All these tax incentives are clarified in more detail at www.sdi.co.uk.
Investors are also impressed with Scotland’s infrastructure ambitions. The process of making every major city a ‘Smart City’ is underway. This aims to reduce urban congestion, maximise energy efficiency whilst also limiting pollution. Also encouraging is the ambition to make 100% of Scottish premises covered by 5G network by 2021. With an ongoing investment of £2 billion, these goals look achievable. For now, the sterling is still the currency, but three Scottish banks issue their own bank notes, meaning there's quite a variety of different notes in circulation. It’s worth checking www.xe.com for the exchange rates before making your trip to Scotland.
Scotland’s visa policy matches the rest of the UK. Residents of EEA or EU countries do not require a visa for entry to Scotland and can stay for any length of time. British nationals who are not currently citizens of the EU and another fifty-six countries are visa-exempt for stays in the UK and Scotland of up to six months. You can always visit www.gov.uk for definitive clarification. Also worth considering is that UK’s withdrawal from the EU commences in March 2019 which will alter visa requirements.
The Scottish are typically friendly, and respect is the foundation of happy living in Scotland. After all, Edinburgh ranks second out of forty-seven cities in a survey measuring the global quality of life. We would only suggest that you prepare for the extreme climate and terrain. The Scottish often joke about their inconsistent climate, changing constantly and being so diverse across the country. If you plan to walk through the beautiful countryside, wear appropriate clothing and bring maps so you don’t get lost in the wilderness.
Scotland boasts one the most pleasurable driving experiences in the world. Beyond the rush of the cities, rural driving is an absolute. Expect the deeper you go though, the tougher the terrain is to manoeuvre. Despite this, if you follow the standard driving procedure, and have your national driving license with you, driving in Scotland should be a pleasure. If in doubt, read the ‘Highway Code’ for all the rules on British driving.
Edinburgh best shows the country’s past, consisting of centuries-old buildings, grand castles and amazing cathedrals. Most notable is Edinburgh Castle. Dominating the city skyline, the fortress and World heritage site is a world-famous icon. Whilst you can argue Edinburgh is more historically orientated, Glasgow offers greater expressions of culture. The city is home to one of the greatest rivalries in world football and is Scotland’s music capital. Celebrations of national music can be seen at the Theatre Royal and Concert Hall, displaying Scottish opera and orchestra respectively. Whatever you wish to take from Scotland’s biggest cities, SITU city apartments ensure all their attractions are right on your doorstep.
Scotland’s islands are also a focal point of the country’s tourism. With 790 to choose from it can be hard to prioritise just a couple. Probably the most popular though is the iconic Isle of Skye. The mountains and views are just extraordinary, giving the impression the land is entirely untouched and natural. Words cannot put it into perspective. The town of Portree acts as a good stop-off location for food or shopping breaks.
Improved currency exchange rate and new flights routes have ensured an increase in overseas arrivals by 15% this year. Its evident that the country has a focus on accommodating more international arrivals, and SITU has a similar goal. Stay in our Scottish corporate accommodation and fulfil your business travels in Scotland.
The previous winner of the Best European Airport award, Edinburgh serves almost ten million passengers each year. Over five hundred taxi companies serve this airport, granting you easy access to Edinburgh’s train stations, serviced accommodation and city centre.
Also popular amongst Scotland’s arrivals is Glasgow Airport (GLA). The Glasgow Airport Express service 500 is the airports official bus service that connects arrivals with ease to the city centre. Alternatively, Paisley Gilmour Street station is just over one mile from the airport.
Trains are a great alternative for travel to all of Scotland’s seven cities. The six railway lines are the West Highland, Kyle, Far North, Carlisle, Borders and Stranraer.
Timetables and fares can be found at the websites of both ScotRail and National Rail. Be sure to exploit Train passes and Railcards for longer and more frequent trips, making fares significantly cheaper.
Describe as ‘Clockwork Orange’ for its bright and warm orange colour, this lone metro system in Scotland is the third oldest in the world.
Glasgow subway runs on a circular line, consisting of fifteen stations serving routes across 10km. All routes are underground and function outwards from central Glasgow.
Bus services are available through Scotland, providing access to pretty much everywhere. The local city and long-distance coach operators are Scottish Citylink, Stagecoach, Megabus and National Express.
National Express specialises in providing comfortable long-distance travel, enabling passengers to travel throughout Britain.