Tipping in Scotland: Where & How Much
We’ve all had that awkward moment in a restaurant abroad when the bill arrives. How much extra should I leave as a tip? Will they think I’m cheap if I don’t leave double the value of the bill? Does my server depend on my tip for their livelihood?
After planning out destinations and activities, the next thing many travellers want to know is: do you tip in Scotland?
The answer is yes; Scotland’s tipping culture is pretty similar to that of the rest of the UK. BUT, tips are not expected in as many places as they are in the US.
With that said, there are a few places where it’s almost expected that you should tip (but you’ll still be welcome back even if you don’t!). Let’s run through where and how much to tip in Scotland.
Who to Tip in Scotland
It’s fairly common to tip in restaurants or cafés if you’ve had (good) table service, with many people also tipping for average or even slightly less-than-average service.
But with that said, more and more eateries are adding a service charge to the bill. Perhaps it’s due to the lack of change we all seem to have on us these days.
So, don’t forget to check the bill for an added service charge (which will usually be around 10-15%) before putting some extra coins down when paying at restaurants in Scotland.
In terms of tipping in restaurants, it’s more expected in the city centre and other tourist-heavy areas than it is outside of town. A good pub meal at a city centre bar is normally accompanied by friendly service and, as such, demands a tip.
While not expected as much as in eateries, it’s also fairly commonplace to leave a tip for your taxi driver. The 10% you’d give in a restaurant might be a bit excessive in this case. Instead, most people will simply round up to the nearest pound, or leave an extra £1-2 on top of the fare.
Tipping tour guides: yay or nay? If you take a tour, you’re probably already going to be quite a bit out of pocket, especially in Edinburgh. However, if you feel the tour guide was especially knowledgeable and made your experience a lot more fun, a 10% tip will be most welcome. If there was no fee for the tour (lucky you!), it’s standard to give a small donation at the end.
Do You Tip in Hotels in Scotland?
Hotels are another place you might consider leaving a tip—the housekeeping team will always appreciate a few coins or a £5 note on the nightstand. And before you even get to your room, consider giving up to £2 per bag that the porter carried up for you.
While I’m talking about tipping in hotels, you might also want to leave around £10 for the receptionist and car valet if you used their services. So, when planning a trip to Scotland, set aside a little bit of your budget for tipping hotel staff (or just stay at an AirBnb or a campsite!).
Where to Tip: A Quick Checklist
- Restaurants with table service
- Cafés with attentive staff
- City center eateries and tourist hotspots
- Tour guides who enhance your experience
- Hotels for housekeeping and special services
- Porters who carry your bags
- Taxi drivers
Who NOT to Tip in Scotland
It’s not common to tip the bartender after a pint in Scotland, although you’re more than welcome to if you feel like it! Like your taxi driver who’ll be taking you home after a night on the town, you might want to tell the bar staff to round up the bill to the nearest pound. Or, you can ‘buy them a drink’ (but this isn’t something I’d recommend for taxi drivers, unless you don’t want their next customer to get home in one piece!).
You’ll also stand out as a clear tourist if you try to tip a shop server. Don’t do this, you’ll probably confuse them!
Where Not to Tip: Avoid Awkward Moments
- Bartenders after a drink
- Shop servers
- Cases where service charge is already added
- Any other situations where tipping isn’t customary (hairdressers, baristas at coffee shops without table service, mechanics)
How Much Should I Tip?
As a general rule, tip around 10-15% of the total amount of your bill. It’s not expected that you tip as much as in some other countries—tipping 20-25% will come across as somewhat extravagant (although it’s likely to be appreciated!).
It’s always nice to tip a bit more if you’re part of a large group (and you can each give just a few pounds) or if you’ve made a lot of mess or had some difficult requests. And of course, following the rule of tipping for good service means you would reward out–of-this-world service even more so.
Another thing worth bearing in mind is the minimum wage, especially compared to the ever-increasing cost of living in Scotland. In Scotland, the minimum wage is related to a person’s age until they turn 23.
For workers under 18, the minimum wage (as of 1 April 2023) is just £5.28. That’s probably the same cost as your pint at an Edinburgh pub. Those 23 and over are entitled to £10.42 per hour, but that’s still not enough for a main course in most restaurants.
And, it’s pretty common practice for employers to pay hospitality staff at the minimum wage.
So, while these workers don’t necessarily rely on tips as much as their US counterparts, they’re still among the lowest-paid workers in the country, and some of the hardest working to boot! For these reasons, you’ll likely want to consider leaving at least a few pounds for the waiting team at the end of your meal.
A Last Word…
There you have it—a quick guide to tipping in Scotland. In most sit-down restaurants, it’s considered polite to leave around 10% of the bill total. For most other situations, rounding the bill up or telling the staff to keep the change will suffice.
If in doubt, do what the locals are doing!
What is the tip percentage in Scotland?
As you’ve seen throughout this article, there’s not a set amount to tip. However, as a rough guide, 10-15% is sufficient in many cases. Otherwise, leaving a few extra pounds or telling the server to keep the change is ideal.
How much do you tip for a tour in Scotland?
It really depends on how much the tour cost and how you’re paying. The standard is around 10-15%. If you’re paying in cash, consider rounding up the total and asking the tour guide to keep the change.
Is 10% too low of a tip?
No, 10% is a perfectly reasonable amount to tip your wait staff in Scotland, although you might like to increase it to 15% for outstanding service. If the service charge is already included in the total, it’s commonly either 10% or 15%.
Is it rude not to tip in Scotland?
While not necessarily rude, there are times and places when tipping will be more expected than others. If service was exceptional, definitely consider leaving a tip. However, we won’t think you’re an ungrateful tourist if you don’t leave a large tip at every opportunity—it’s not expected here as much as it is in the US, for example.
Should you tip in Glasgow?
Yes, you should leave tips at restaurants and in taxis in Glasgow much like you would elsewhere in Scotland. In fact, it’s more common to tip in tourist areas than more remote communities. So, based on that, it’s a good idea to tip in Glasgow.
Do I tip in cash or include it in the bill?
In Scotland, you can leave tips in cash whether you’re paying the bill with cash or card. You won’t generally get a printed bill to write the tip amount on as you would in the US. You just leave your chosen amount with the payment.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say your bill comes to £63.54 and you want to round it up to £70, a £6.46 tip. But you’re paying in cash and you only have £20 notes, so you leave £80. In this case, you would just tell your server to round it up to £70, and they’ll bring you £10 change.
Can I use my card to tip in Scotland?
Yes, most places accept card tips now. There will usually be an option to add 10%, 15%, or 20% to the total on the card reader before making the payment.