A guide to tipping in Scotland

Written by Chris Thornton | 30th of August 2023
Tipping in Scotland

How does tipping work in Scotland, is it expected? What is the tipping etiquette in our bonny wee country? Are you anxious about offending Scots? The fact that you're on this page shows that you care about local customs - so good on you! Let's investigate tipping in Scotland.

Service charge

To be honest, tipping was lost on me a little when I first visited Orlando, Florida, in 2017. We had just arrived and decided to grab breakfast at Denny's to kick-start our holiday. The breakfast was fine, and the service was OK, but when I went to pay, the waiting staff asked how much gratuity I would like to add - 10%, 15% or 20%.

She went on to explain it was a tip for them for serving us... my brain began whirring (hopefully not audibly), an extra charge for their service? Now I had tipped at home in Scotland when I had received exceptional service, but in America, it seemed that a tip was required for everything regardless of good service. I didn't realise that in America, the waiting staff's main income was from tips.

Slightly taken aback, I chose the middle option of 15% gratuity so as not to look too tight on our first day in America, but it made me think about the differences in tipping culture in Scotland.

Tipping for good service

I live in Moray in northeast Scotland, far from the big cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, where tipping is becoming more common, especially in the touristy areas. But for me tipping in my area of Scotland is not typical and not "expected" as standard.

For me, tipping is a reward given for good service. If the staff had been particularly nice, good with the kids, offered up a nugget of helpful information, or generally looked after us well, I would feel a tip was in order.

My personal experience as a local is tipping is never expected in Scotland. Each time I have paid for something, the staff always have the exact change ready for me if I pay in cash, and when paying by card, there is no automatic prompt for me to add extra.

It's normal to pay the final total you are given, and you won't offend by not adding extra. However, tips are very much appreciated, and providing one is considered very kind.

There is not as much pressure to tip in Scotland, as staff are paid a regular wage for their work; the tips offer them additional income, not their sole income.

Scotland tip / Scotland tipping

How much should I tip in Scotland?

Absolutely nothing if you don't want to, don't feel like your HAVE to, but if you would like to give one for great service, here are some guidelines.

Automatic service charge

Be aware that some businesses can add a "service charge" of 10-15% to your bill, so do not tip if this has already been added to your bill, and don't pay more money.

Tipping in restaurants

It is common to leave a tip if you have had a great meal and fantastic table service at a restaurant. 10% is average, but £10 would be considered a great tip; anything more is an exceptional tip. Most people will likely leave a tip even though they are not required to.

Tipping taxi drivers

It's common practice in Scotland to tip 10% a taxi driver at the end of the journey, or at least round up to the nearest pound (this also saves hassle if paying by cash). I'm probably a bit of a miser, but I've never paid a 10% tip, just rounded up occasionally; the driver just says the amount, I pay, and nothing else is said.

Tipping tour guides

Tours in Edinburgh can already be quite expensive, but if you feel an additional tip is warranted for an especially good tour guide, then again, 10% of your tour fee is typical. If the tour is free then it's nice to give a tip; you might be giving them the only money they earn that day.

Check out these Edinburgh tours with the fantastic Katrina Milne.

Other travellers may tip too!

Shop staff

You do not need to tip the staff member when purchasing clothes, foodstuffs, souvenirs, etc.

Do you tip bartenders in Scotland?

No, it's not common to tip a bartender each time you purchase drinks, but you can tell them to "keep the change" if paying with cash or offer to buy them a drink, the convention being they will just take a tip.

If it is a fancy bar with custom-made cocktails, it can be nice to tip the bar staff but again, not expected. You could tip for a pub meal if you received good food and service.

Tipping in Hotels / Hotel Staff

For standard hotels, as a general rule, tipping is not the norm, but for high-end hotels with valet service and porters etc., it can be more common and polite to offer a small tip for services rendered.

  • Housekeeping - £5 per day.

  • Hotel porters - £1-2 per bag.

  • Concierge/ Receptionist - £10-15.

  • Valets - £5-10 per car collection.

Inverlochy Castle Hotel.  Tip 10% as a general rule.
Inverlochy Castle Hotel is a very upmarket hotel near Fort William.

Minimum wage

Hospitality workers in Scotland, especially in the large cities, are some of the worst paid in the country. For 16 to 17-year-olds, the minimum wage is just £4.81 per hour, which is not great when the living wage for Edinburgh is considered to be £9.50 per hour.

Therefore a tip for these workers makes a world of difference and should be considered, especially if you are within a large group (6+) and create more work/mess. Again it's not mandatory or expected to pay a tip, just kind to the lower-paid workers who really will appreciate it.

Guide to tipping in Scotland Edinburgh

Key takeaways:

  • Staff get paid by their employer, and tips are an added bonus.

  • Tipping is not widespread in Scotland, but a nice thing to do for good service.

  • Consider tipping younger staff as their pay is very low.

  • A 10% tip is average.

  • It's ok to tip nothing; you will not cause offence.

  • Do not tip if service charges have already been added to your bill.


Tipping in Scotland is not a requirement or expected, but just a nice thing to do if you receive good service. Scots are generally a kind, helpful bunch, so you may even find that your tip may not be accepted on some occasions!

I hope this short guide on tipping in Scotland was helpful to you. If you are on a budget while visiting Edinburgh, why not check out my article on free things to do in Edinburgh.  Also, see my guide to currency in Scotland if you want to learn how money works in Scotland.

All information was correct at the time of writing, please check things like entry costs and opening times before you arrive.

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Hi, please leave a comment below, or why not start a discussion on the forum?


Noreen Roesser
29th of August 2023 @ 23:45:03

Very helpful information. It is our first trip to Scotland!

15th of September 2022 @ 16:44:30

Hi Jordon, I would generally say you don't need to, but it's a nice thing to do if you get exceptional service.

15th of September 2022 @ 12:41:17

What about staff at a bed and breakfast?

16th of August 2022 @ 03:24:22

Thank you