Scotland The Best Paperback – 8 Dec 2011
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'the book is also a gospel, a love poem to Scotland and a patriotic tract'
'Nobody tells it better…All that's wonderful about Scotland is in the book' Daily Express
'Infallible and quite brilliant'
'Makes all other guides to Scotland redundant'
The Sunday Times
'The only guide worth a damn'
'he has been a driving force in Scottish tourism' Ecosse (Supp. To the Sunday Times – Scottish Edition)
'Irvine has also become quite the figurehead for Scottish tourism' Aberdeen Press & Journal
'Apart from a clever structure and the highest journalistic standards, this book is a joy. The clever thing about such opinionated copy is that pretty soon one picks up the character of the writer, and thus can get a much more accurate and tactile impression of a place than from so-called even handed reports. This book can only enhance the pleasure of visiting or living in Scotland'
‘The only travel guide that sells most in the country it is about.’ Independent on Sunday
About the Author
Peter Irvine is a director of two of the leading edge events companies in Scotland who produce most of the major public events in Glasgow and Edinburgh, including the annual Glasgow Art Fair and Edinburgh's Hogmanay, which is now the biggest New Year festival in the world.
In 2000 Peter Irvine was given the Thistle award for his personal contribution to tourism in Scotland and in 2002 gained another Thistle award for the Glasgow Art Fair.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book isn't the easiest to use, however. It's grouped by theme rather than area (except Glasgow, Edinburgh and the Islands which have their own sections) and takes a catalogue-style approach. It also includes coloured touring road maps of Scotland together with streetplans of Glasgow and Edinburgh but oddly these are all included between the `Glasgow' and `Regional Hotels' chapters rather than at the front or back of the book where they would be easier to refer to. Within the `classic views' section there's a set of photographs - not necessarily the collection you'd expect to see but they are a welcome (although not particularly inspirational) inclusion because the book is mostly a descriptive listing of premises and facilities.
It's mostly well-written in a chatty style and is full of personal observations eg the best time of day to visit or warnings that the claustrophobic might not like the narrow staircase of one particular venue described. Sometimes, however, the style degenerates into sarcasm some of which, in my view, is inappropriate in a supposedly factual travel guide.
For anyone visiting or living in Scotland and looking for a good meal out, accommodation, fish & chip shop, somewhere to visit or even just a scenic drive then this is the book to refer to. Just bear in mind that it's the author's personal view but, in my opinion, I share his views and the places he's identified have been described well and aptly.Read more ›
It's quirky and independent and the author has a keen insiders eye for detail and obviously writes with authority and passion. I use the book whether on day trips or longer breaks and it's come up trumps on many occasions from cafes/ bars in the big cities to little family run hotels in the highlands and islands. The beach walks section is spot on.
Keep up the good work.
I did however spot a couple of minor errors (restaurants misnamed, etc), and I found the organisation of the book rather confusing. It is difficult, for example, to search by region, and it is also often not clear which chapter a given attraction will fall into as there is considerable overlap. Therefore if one was, for example, planning a holiday in a specific region of Scotland with the aid of this book, it would basically be necessary to search the entire thing for the relevant entries, which seems a bit inconvenient.
Definitely worth buying for insider information on Scotland, but better organisation in future editions would make it completely indispensable for locals and tourists alike.
From annual events, routes for countrywide tours, activities (healthy and otherwise), views, walks, special interests to cultural venues, as well as the more predictable recommendations for places to stay at all budgets, and places to eat – from fancy fine dining to cheap, cheerful and quirky – the author covers them all, in a crisp style often lightened with a dry, affectionate wit.
There must be two types of reader for ‘STB’. First the people who live in Scotland, who think they already know the country well, and secondly visitors, who don’t.
As a member of the first group, I can reveal that we are kidding ourselves: Irvine (whose in-depth research suggests he must be hyperactive and have a severe case of FOMO-itis) ferrets out places, even in our home towns, that have newly sprung up or have been transformed since we last went there.
As for visitors, I have recommended previous editions to first-timer friends visiting from the US, Australia, the Middle East and Europe. Without exception, they have raved about how much it has helped them find great experiences (and avoid clichéd bummers) in Scotland.
“Indispensable” is the only word for it.
The book itself is split into 12 sections. These are: Wha's Like Us? (an introduction and random tidbits), Edinburgh, Glasgow, Regional Hotels & Restaurants, Particular Places to Eat & Stay in Scotland, Good Food & Drink, Outdoor Places, Historical Places, Strolls, Walks & Hikes, Outdoor Activities, Consuming Passions and The Islands. There is also a fairly comprehensive index.
Each different entry (be it for a hotel, attraction or whatever) is fairly comprehensive with the author's take on the item in question. There's also details on price, location, number of rooms, opening times etc. This is great but it obviously quickly dates the book as things change from season to season. I personally thought the author could be a little more down to earth with his comments but they weren't mean which is a good thing.
My main issue with the book was in terms of the layout. Unless you are going to Glasgow, Edinburgh or want to do a specific activity (such as hill walking or bird watching etc) then you really have to dig around the book. Hotels are in one place alongside places to eat. Then you have to look through other sections to see if there are castles in the place you're going to stay or an attraction where you're going to stay. I would have preferred it if it was all broken down into areas so you could see what's in the area you're planning to visit. Lists of top castles, churches, gay friendly places etc are all very good but they should be an extra rather than the main thing.
There are some maps in the book - mainly of the major routes and the town centres of Glasgow and Edinburgh.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Always a great read. Always a must have: in the car: on the desk when planning trips. Peter and his team give pertinent, interesting, witty information on pretty well everything... Read morePublished 8 days ago by Helena Bright
Great "Insider's" guide! Fabulous tips - so thorough - it will take a life time of exploring Scotland today's funny curiosity after just a quick read first read of this... Read morePublished 12 days ago by Anni M. Gibson
The first edition in 1993 fitted into the back pocket of a pair of 501's because way back then, there simply weren't that many good hotels or great places to eat. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Loki
Quick referencing system to see what's near to where you are could be improvedPublished 27 days ago by michael schorah
Best edition yet - a few minor disagreements re Pete's opinions but mostly he's right on the money!
A "must have" to keep next to the iPad or in the car - see the best... Read more
Excellent book about the best places to eat, stay and things to do in Scotland. An essential guide for all Scots and visitors.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer