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Scotland The Best: New and fully updated 12th edition of Scotland’s bestselling guide Paperback – 14 Apr 2016
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‘Makes all other guides to Scotland redundant’ - The Sunday Times
‘The book is also a gospel, a love poem to Scotland and a patriotic tract’ - The Observer
‘The book has become the definitive description of Scotland for visitors and residents alike – covering everything from the best fine dining to the best wilderness walks to get away from it all’ - Press and Journal
‘Nobody tells it better…All that's wonderful about Scotland is in the book’ - Daily Express
‘His guidebook is a bible for visitors paying homage to Caledonia, and with a new edition out all eyes are on this Scottish renaissance man’s next move’ - The Times Scottish Edition
‘If you want to know the top 10 places to eat in Edinburgh right now, look no further than the latest edition of guidebook guru Peter Irvine's Scotland the Best’ - Daily Record
‘The only guide worth a damn’ - The Scotsman
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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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.
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. There are also a few pages of pictures which is a bit random and feels out of place in a book that otherwise is just text.
Overall this is a good reference book to use before you set off for your trip. It's not the best but you'll definitely find some useful information. 3 stars.
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