I believe that if you intend to suck the marrow out of a city during a long weekend break, then it is essential to carry with you an easy to read and comprehensive guide book with decent maps. Well, this attractive guide book has a very logical structure, wide-ranging contents and thirty good maps. It is crammed with all the essential places to visit. In fact, the eye-catching red headings and unpretentiously titled chapters make this one of the most user-friendly city guides that I have ever had.
During our recent trip to Edinburgh, my wife and I were able to find all of the top tourist spots such as the pedestrian entrance to the castle and St Giles Cathedral as well as some interesting, less well-trodden paths and hidden gems too; the Writers' Museum was indeed empty as described and yet surprisingly fascinating! Unlike some of our previous city breaks embarked upon without a decent guidebook (I still have nightmares of Hamburg!) we did not have to travel too many extra miles retracing our steps due to wrong turns. Directions are clear and maps unfussy.
The guide has chapters that would suit all manner of visitor. The first chapter outlines the "Best" of both Edinburgh and Glasgow- including hotels, historical sites, bars and even the "best spa experiences". This section is perfect if you are just visiting for a day or two. For the long stayer (or those of us who like to see absolutely everything) there is a chapter with suggested itineraries for gentle two hour strolls, 3 day cultural tours or week-long explorations. The week tours extend to about 20 miles out of Edinburgh and so would only suit those with transport (car or bike). Although we tended to combine days one and two of the three day tour (and missed out a couple of the galleries), it was useful to have an idea of what was worth visiting close to any sites we visited.
I think that the strength of this guide is that it caters for all- from those looking for luxury at a price to anyone on a tight budget. However, in the Edinburgh section, there are far more expensive hotels than inexpensive ones listed...but that may be due to a lack of cheap hotels in the city. Cyclists, bus travellers, rail visitors and car drivers are all provided with the essentials needed in order to find their way and see all of the places of interest. At the start, there are tips on travel and booking accommodation as well as a satisfactory history of the two cities.
On a practical level, the guide is not pocket sized, but it fits into any handbag or rucksack pocket. The glossy cover and solid enough spine ensured that our book did not get too dog-eared during rain showers and three days of flicking. It is well written and descriptions suggest that the author has at least visited the places reviewed rather than just rung them up for their details; I particularly liked the honest and measured reviews of places (especially restaurants and cafes) and the wise,jovially expressed advice against driving in Edinburgh. Prices and opening hours cited were all correct too! Perfect if you intend to visit both Edinburgh and Glasgow, but value for money if you only intend to see one centre.