A well laid-out overview of Scotland for independent travellers,
This review is from: Lonely Planet Scotland (Travel Guide) (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I grew up in, and love exploring Scotland. This is my second Lonely Planet guide to the country, in fact. This edition is dramatically different to the other (15 year old) copy; the differences are all to the good. My criticisms of older Lonely Planet guides were:
1)They were consistent in style but they seemed to treat every part of the world as homogenous.
2)There were lots of lists but not so much to help draw readers determine what would really interest them.
3)Many details - such a places to eat and stay - would go out of date quickly.
4)They seemed to strive to cover everything in even depth; I personally prefer guides (like Peter Irvine's "Scotland the Best") which are not afraid to concentrate on the particular things the author finds fascinating.
So, I was very pleased by the effort Lonely Planet have put into dealing with these shortcomings. They have some authors (Neil Wilson and Andy Symington) who come from Scotland and have traveled enough of the country (and the rest of the world) to recognize that makes the place special. The book makes great use of pull out sections, summaries, charts and itineraries which make it possible to identify not just the big ticket tourist attractions - but also some of the quirkier and lesser known aspects of the land and its culture. Finally the book makes an effort to concentrate on those areas which are least likely to be covered well (and in one place) by websites; it works hard to earn its place in your luggage.
Reading the guide's coverage of those parts of the country I am most familiar with, I did find a few great places which were missing. Equally some of the eating and accommodation sections will date quickly (and are may be best searched for online). The guide's strengths are in its explanations: clear maps, carefully compiled itineraries and sections on food, politics, literature, history and nature.
As is the tradition with Lonely Planet, the guide would be best suited to relatively independent travelers who wish get under the skin of Scotland. It is also a fine source of inspiration for armchair adventurers and those who spend a little time dreaming of what to do when the weather lifts, the sun shows its face, the salmon run in the burn or the festival comes to town.