Which country is Scotland in?

Written by Chris Thornton | 6th of December 2023
Which country is Scotland in?

Scotland is not in another country; Scotland IS a country encompassing the northern third of the British Isles.

However, it's easy to see how it can be confusing; Scotland is in a political union with three other countries: England, Wales and Northern Ireland. So while Scotland is a country, it is not an independent country.

The name for this group of countries is "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", but more commonly known as The United Kingdom or just the UK. Scotland is within the UK, but the UK is not a country.

UK countries
The countries of the United Kingdom.

The Scottish Parliament

Although Scotland is within a political union, it is not fully controlled by the UK Government at Westminster, London. Since 1999 Scotland has had its own Scottish Government through a process called devolution to give Scotland more autonomy within the UK.

The Scottish Government operates from the Scottish parliament building at Holyrood at the bottom of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh (photo at the top of this article).

Currently, the Scottish Parliament is responsible for the following:

  • The economy.

  • Education.

  • Health.

  • Justice.

  • Rural affairs.

  • Housing.

  • Environment.

  • Equal opportunities.

  • Consumer advocacy and advice.

  • Transport and taxation.

The UK Government still has complete control of:

  • Immigration.

  • The constitution.

  • Foreign policy.

  • Defence.

Scottish Independence

Scotland may one day leave the United Kingdom and become an independent country. This would mean it would no longer be within the political union of the United Kingdom.

A referendum was held in 2014 and resulted in 55% of Scots voting to remain within the union. The main political party for independence is the Scottish National Party (SNP), which since 2016 has tried to secure a second referendum on Scottish Independence.

Scotland voted to remain in the EU in 2016 but was removed as it was part of the UK. This was seen as a "material change in circumstances" and again fuelled the question, "Should Scotland be an independent country?".

The UK Government has so far refused to grant a new vote on Scottish Independence despite the SNP winning many elections with independence as their main manifesto commitment.


Here are a few frequently asked questions on Scotland's nationhood.

Is Scotland a country or UK?

Scotland is a country. The UK is a political union of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Which country did Scotland belong to?

Scotland has belonged to no other country; it is a sovereign country within the UK political union.

In history, parts of Scotland have been held by the Vikings and Romans. Oliver Cromwell conquered all of Scotland for England in 1650 but only held it for a few years when Charles II was restored to the throne.

Is Scotland part of Europe or the UK?

Scotland is part of the UK. Despite voting "remain" in the 2016 EU referendum, Scotland had to leave the European Union as it was part of the United Kingdom. Wales and England predominately voted to leave.

Key information

  • Scotland is a country and not within another country.

  • Scotland is in a political union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

  • Scotland was removed from the European Union despite voting to remain within it in 2016.

  • Scotland may one day become an independent country - Scottish Independence.

  • Geographically, Scotland is in the top third of the British Isles, with the North Sea to the north and east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.


I hope this short article has answered your question - Scotland is a country and does not exist within another country. Please read my article "Is Scotland a country?" for more in-depth information.

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

Claim Your Free 6 Day Travel Itinerary:

Simply enter your email and we'll send it your way!

Free Scotland travel itinerary

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