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on 20 April 2017
Very useful
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on 10 September 2017
Can't wait to get on a big trip
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on 26 October 2017
Indispensable guide!
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VINE VOICEon 14 June 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Scotland the Best is something of an institution, and generally seems to be highly regarded as the guide book approved by locals. Perhaps the greatest strength of this publication is that the author has indeed ferreted out some very worthwhile places which are off the beaten track. I certainly spotted a few of my favourite local haunts which are relatively well-kept secrets, as well as some attractions of which I was not previously aware (despite having travelled around Scotland fairly extensively). The author's style is also highly readable, with a great deal of wit and personality evident in, but never interfering with, his entries.

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.
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VINE VOICEon 19 June 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book aims to be everything you need to know about Scotland from the best places to stay and the best restaurants through to the best castles and beaches.

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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HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 2 February 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As a regular visitor to Scotland I ordered this book to provide ideas, inspiration and insider recommendations re new places to visit and this book provides just that. The author has clearly sought out the `the best' Scotland has to offer and compiled it together in this aptly named book.

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. As a camper, I would also have appreciated a `best campsites' section too!

I'd rate this book in two ways:
The author's selection of places for inclusion: 5 stars
The layout and overall presentation of the book: 2-3 stars
Overall rating: 3 stars
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on 12 August 2016
Difficult to read. I would have preferred the book to be laid geographically.
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on 8 July 2008
As a Scot, living in Scotland, this is the one guide book that I refer to again and again. When holidaying in Scotland, we plan whole days around this book. We'll plan a scenic route to see a waterfall or a good walk with the dog. We'll work out what eaterie we're going to have lunch in, and invariably, we'll be staying in a hotel, B&B or guest house recommended by this guide and have a pint in one of its suggested pubs.

The thing I like most about this guide is that it's not neccessarily "Scotland The Most Expensive". It has everything from "Best Fish and Chip Shops" through to top michelin starred restaurants. All this via "Best Waterfalls", "Best Woodland Walks", "Best Scenic Drives" etc. etc.

Once you get into the way this book works (persevere - you will get used to its indexing), it becomes indispensible.

Don't visit Scotland without a copy in your bag.
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on 8 May 2017
Ever since I moved to Scotland in 1994 I have bought this book every few years. If you ever travel to Scotland, simply do not go without this guide. It really does showcase the best on offer.
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on 27 July 2017
Bought for my house exchangees but I also use it and it is a superb resource with good information regarding access and travel.
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