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VINE VOICEon 28 April 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the March 2013 7th edition of the Lonely Planet of Scotland. I have a confession to make later -so read on!
The book is very well laid out and includes some "3D" drawings of downtown Edinburgh and Stirling Castle to name but two. All the pictures are in colour and the font is in various colours to help you pick out features and items from the pages.There are highlights regarding the shops, sights to see and culture etc. for each area of Scotland discussed.
There is tear off street map of Edinburgh and Glasgow at the back of the book -so you don't need to buy a separate map.
The book starts with a map of Scotland with "dialogue boxes" pointing to interesting places. For example, it mentions "Whale watching near Tobermory -which the guide book tells means Mary's well! It gives the tourist early warning of prices going up by 20% in July -Aug and the midges start to really bite then too!
On page 25 it mentions a web site where you can swap experiences with other travellers. There are helpful itineries on pages 26-28 depending on how much time you have -and the solid advise to enjoy a part of Scotland very well rather than dash around and not really "see" anything -this applies to any holiday in my view. The first 40 pages of the book give an overview of Scotland before going through area by area.
The maps in general are very clear throughout the book -I love a good map - and the LP ones are in colour and clear with places of interest clearly shown.
The other great thing about the maps of Edinburgh and Glasgow is the way they "zoom" in over a series of related maps from a main map. Excellent.
I have been going to Scotland for over 20 years now and used the LP guide to see what it said about Pitlochry; Peebles, Elgin, Glasgow; Edinburgh, Inverness; Dundee, Ayr; Stirling, Oban; Fort William and others. The guide was very helpful and covered all salient facts.
So how about that confession? I have got into the habit of using the Rough Guide series and indeed bought the latest RG before we went to Scotland in October 2012, staying at New Lanark and visiting Glasgow (by Park & Ride). The RG did help us plan our holiday and we used it during our visit.
I have retraced this holiday with the Lonely Planet guide. I think the LP is easier to use and navigate around (and I don't think it's just because I knew where I was going)
The LP shows places of interest on maps in red. The RG mentions them too but they are not as clear on the maps. The RG does mention the Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow as the Armadillo - but I could not see this slang name in the LP -so it is not all one way. The RG is 670 pages long versus 510 for the LP both at the same price. I am not clear what the extra 160 pages cover.The whole of Scotland up to and including the Shetland Isles are covered in both books
So how do I -a dyed in the wool RG user now view the LP series based on the Scotland guide?
It is clearer than the RG in the way it is laid out with the use of coloured text. The maps in the LP are certainly clearer than the RG. So I think the LP version is full of the information you need, but is funkier than the RG version. I decided to buy the LP guide to San Francisco now as a handy guide to carry around whilst in the city.
So points for the two Scotland guides: RG 7/10, LP 10/10
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VINE VOICETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 13 August 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I thought this was a terrific guide to Scotland and I speak as someone who was born in Scotland and who has lived here for most of my life. As I was born in central Scotland and have lived in the Highlands for more than 20 years, I have a good knowledge of these areas of Scotland. I also have a reasonable knowledge of some other parts of Scotland which I have visited or holidayed in. I can, therefore, vouch for the accuracy of this guide. This has been written by someone who knows, and loves, Scotland and who has researched it very thoroughly indeed. The information given is also bang up to date so you can be sure that the prices quoted for things like accommodation and restaurants are pretty accurate. I was also impressed by the fact that the author managed to capture the "vibe" of the locations rather than just giving factual information.

The guide is split into the following sections:

1. PLAN YOUR TRIP - This includes photos, itineraries, walks, golf, days out etc, etc.

2. ON THE ROAD - This divides Scotland into 7 distinct regions plus separate sections for Glasgow and Edinburgh. The guide provides extremely detailed information about each region and includes info about the main towns in each region. There is information about where to stay and where to eat and places to visit. There is a map of each region and there is even a fold-out map of Edinburgh at the back of the guide as the author recognises that Edinburgh will be on most tourists to-do list.

3. UNDERSTAND SCOTLAND - This covers Scotland's history, culture, food and wild Scotland.

4. SURVIVAL GUIDE - This gives a wide variety of information including details of embassies, the health service, electricity, money, telephones etc, etc. This is all information which would be invaluable to any tourist coming from abroad.

Altogether I thought that this was a great guide which would be especially useful to foreign tourists. However, it is also great for British tourists even for those who already live in Scotland. I plan to go to the East Neuk of Fife for a short break in the autumn and I have already been looking up the relevant section in this guide. I will use this guide when planning future holidays and even days out in Scotland. It is a guide that I will carry with me.

Altogether highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 29 July 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( 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.
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VINE VOICEon 8 August 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I picked up a copy of Lonely Planet as a Scottish native. I figured it would be handy to have a guide to the country for when friends visit and want to explore, I find myself somewhere unfamiliar or I fancy a day out somewhere new.

What you get here, like any LP country guide is a decent introduction to the basics of the place, and ideas of what to explore further. The book is logically arranged by area then split up from there. I find that the smaller places tend to fare better from LP country guides than the big cities. The chapter on Edinburgh is a bit lacking. It covers all the main tourist attractions in the centre of the city but little coverage given to the multitude of things available outwith the Old and New towns. Perhaps a good starting point for a first time visitor but for anyone else, you won't learn much. That said, if you have visited Edinburgh a few times, you'd perhaps be more inclined to pick up a city guide instead.

However, there's plenty to get you started if you want to use the guide to get out into the country. The coverage here is great in my opinion. Plenty of tips on the best accommodation, suggestions of activities and where to get more information. There are maps throughout the guide but there aren't many towns that get a street map, it is mainly just regional maps. There is also more colour than LP used to use which is good to see.

Overall, if you are a first time visitor to Scotland and plan to explore lots of places this is a good choice. If you are only going to visit Edinburgh or Glasgow, I would perhaps suggest a city specific guide instead. My favourite guide to Edinburgh is the Local's Guide to Edinburgh (Locals Guide Edinburgh Owen OLeary

And a final note, if you find yourself in Dundee, the best chip shop is in fact Dora's on Dura Street. Not The Deep Sea. Just so you know.
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VINE VOICEon 14 May 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A whopping 512 pages of info plus fold out maps of Glasgow and Edinburgh sounds pretty impressive doesn't it? In reality this guide is decent rather than stellar though, with a lot of attractions namechecked, but not necessarily given that much airtime. Having visited Loch Carron, the Applecross peninsula and Torridon last year, I was a bit disappointed not to see more offered about this spectacularly beautiful area. And the fab Kishorn seafood bar not even mentioned. That said, the well-regarded Applecross Inn is included, as is another of my recommendations, the seal, otter and jellyfish-spotting Seaprobe Atlantis cruise around the Kyle of Localsh.

Features I particularly liked were the city guides, divided by region (though Glasgow seemed to be lacking most of the eateries and burgoning street food culture recommended my Glasweigan friend), best beaches and castles, and the interesting little factoids and quirky attractions scattered throughout the book in buff coloured boxes (The Corryvreckan whirlpool, offbeat accommodation in bods and lighthouse cottages, keeping the Sabbath and walking on Mull)

There are some nice pictures, though this guide still tends toward the older, more wordy Lonely Planet format. Maps help orientate you and give you some idea of distances between attractions, but are not detailed enough to navigate by. Some of the non-geographical sections included are Scottish Larder, Culture, History, and Wild Scotland. There's some interesting info in these sections, such as recognition of the strong scottish showing in contemporary crime writing, though there's also a lot of predictable stuff about scotch broth, tartan, and bagpipes. All the usual stuff on transport, bank holidays, electricity and visas etc to be found at the back.

Overall, this is not a bad book, but I think suffers a little from trying to cover what is actually a pretty vast area in just one volume. I have noticed that the Lonely Planet 'Discover' series, which takes a more pared down approach are a notch above their more comprehensive guides, probably for this very reason. 3.5 stars.
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VINE VOICEon 28 December 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As an enthusiast of Scotland, having been brought up there, I got this book to see if I could find anything new. In summary, the book seems well researched with stacks of information, and well laid out for people planning a holiday there - of greatest use to first-timers, or those looking for ideas. There is a map toward the front which would benefit from being bigger and perhaps in pull out format. There is then a section on top 14 experiences - mostly geographical (eg Edinburgh / Skye) but some activity related (eg golf) - these are only very brief descriptions preumably to seed ideas. The Need To Know/First Time sections are likely to be of use to foreigners and amusement only to Brits (eg "Scots expect a firm handshake with eye contact"). There are then a further series of sections What's New / Month by Month / Itineries - each very brief followed by slightly longer and more useful sections on walking, golf and regions. The main body of book is comprised of extensive sections on the main destinations eg Edinburgh, Glasgow, Southern Scotland, Highlands & Islands etc which cover the entirety of Scotland - this part is a very useful reference section and each "region" is broken down logically with stacks of useful / practical info. At the back is a decent section on History which is quite interesting and condensed into 10 pages or so followed by some other info on culture, wildlife etc as well as a directory, index and pull out street map of Edinburgh. In conclusion, I could not describe this as essential book for visiting Scotland, but could be useful for people planning a holiday to Scotland, looking for ideas, particularly if they are first time visitors and have no firm plans on what they want to do.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 April 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a handy little guide of approximately 500 pages. It is in the current Lonely Planet format and therefore starts with about 40 pages of general background to travel in Scotland including the top sights which is usually rather subjective, suggested itineraries depending on the amount of time you have available and the rather useful Whats New section which shows recent changes appearing in the new edition of this book.

The main body of the book, some 400 pages, is devoted to a detailed consideration of the nine regions of Scotland. The two major cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh each have good coverage with 40 and 60 pages respectively. I was particularly interested in the information given on Edinburgh as I have been there several times and am visiting again in about a month. The section was in depth enough for me to unearth several interesting things which I had not done before to keep me amused during my stay. The pull out map of Edinburgh at the back was also helpful.

For each region there is an introductory section including when to go (temperature chart), why to go and other key information. There are maps and information on the key sights of the area. Where to eat and sleep is covered, although the former is not always sufficiently updated in new editions to be entirely reliable in my opinion and for accommodation I tend to rely on internet sites such as Tripadvisor as I believe many if not most do these days.

The final section is devoted to a mix of history and culture, and finally the very useful Survival Guide, which is a welcome addition to the Lonely Planet travel books. Overall this is a very comprehensive and useful book which will assist the traveler and make their visit to this very interesting country more rewarding.
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on 9 June 2014
It was better than having no guidebook (and you can't rely on the internet to check out where to go as the 3G signal is extremely poor in much of the Highlands and we didn't come across great wifi availability either. But we were disappointed and frequently frustrated by the lack of detail contained in this guide. Lots of info on the big cities and plenty on particular historic monuments (but this really isn't difficult to obtain elsewhere). What was missing were the small details necessary for travelling around that I normally turn Lonely Planet to get. Things like info on campsites with hook-ups for camper vans and also ferries, for getting between the islands was very limited. Many popular tourist destinations had very small sections and addresses weren't given for many places to stay and to eat. This could be a pain eg we booked to go to a Seafood Restaurant described in the guidebook as being in Kinlochlevan. So we drove there and searched around for ages. It turns out it is about 4 miles out of the village. Because of the misdirection from Lonely PLanet we'd actually driven the wrong way round the loch and added about 10 miles (and 30mins) to our journey. A nuisance if you are in a camper as we were, would ruin your night if you were travelling on foot or by public transport.
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VINE VOICEon 26 April 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a lovely new edition of the Scotland Lonely Planet guide. I like the inclusion of beautiful colour photographs here and there and also lots of colour throughout the text in this new revised edition which brings the book to life a bit more, makes it more attractive to me as a reader and user of the guide, but it doesn't seem to detract from the level of detail which to me still looks to be comprehensive and well organised.

There are some suggested itineraries here, depending what area of the country you are trying to cover and how long you are staying. There's also some specific information if you're coming with a view to going walking, or playing golf. There's an Edinburgh street map included at the back that can be pulled out. I like the text boxes scattered throughout the more practical information, which offer an insight into a particular aspect of the area, or attraction, that is being discussed on that page.

I've used Lonely Planet guides for years and always found them informative, accurate and reliable whilst in the particular country or city, and enjoyable to read pre-trip too.

I like the sections at the back with additional background information on aspects of culture; literature, cinema, plus food, wildlife and so on, pertaining to the country/city/region in question, and I enjoy reading the pages giving an historical overview too.

We already have a guidebook covering the Scottish Highlands and this more extensive book covering Scotland in its entirety is a welcome addition allowing us to plan trips over a wider area and find out a lot more information. The real test is in the application, so we will be using this to plan our next trip to Scotland and see how we go when we have the guide up there with us.
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on 12 May 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have recently used the newest version of Lonely Planet's France guidebook, and now this Scotland one. In my review of the France guidebook I expressed a deep ambivalence towards guide books, and particularly towards Lonely Planet efforts. I've always felt that following a guide book too closely removes the best of exploring by reducing the sense of discovery you get from a new place. In addition, I've seen the 'Lonely Planet effect' in action, whereby a hotel/restaurant/attraction's success or failure depends almost entirely on whether it makes it into the guide book, and whether it gets a good review. And whether it does so depends, unfortunately, on far more than how good the place is.

However, putting these misgivings to one side, the latest edition of this Scotland guidebook is better than any other guidebook I've seen before. It takes the best of the Lonely Planet series - clear layout, generally carefully research, and with loads of helpful tips. Added to this, the presentation style is a huge leap forward from previous Lonely Planet books I've used: the maps are top class, and the guides to e.g. the castles of Scotland negate the need for a guidebook at each venue.

I recently took a trip to the Outer Hebrides, and often head up north to Scotland. This book has whetted my appetite for a new trip - I may try to keep the guidebook closed and just explore for most of the time, but if I am going to pack a guidebook I would unhesitatingly pack this one.
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