10 travel books on Scotland


07 September 2020
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Read History Scotland’s pick of ten top reads for travel in Scotland.

As the country begins to emerge from the Covid-19 travel restrictions, we take a look at the ten best books to help you enjoy your Scottish adventures, with a special focus on history and heritage.

Our picks include island hopping, castle bagging and travelling the roads our ancestors once trod.

1. Best for… planning your trip

Scotland The Best 100 Places by Peter Irvine

Peter Irvine draws upon a lifetime of experiences to create this list of 100 best places in Scotland: including wild glens, ancient buildings and remote islands. Each of the places has recommendations of where to stay, eat and what to see.

2. Best for… island hopping

Lonely Planet’s Highlands & Islands by Neil Wilson & Andy Symington

The two experienced Lonely Planet authors go above and beyond to get to the heart of what makes island travel so special, with their hand-picked recommendations on things to go and places to stay, with lots of recommendations from locals. Enjoy honest reviews, itineraries and cultural insights for all of Scotland’s island groups.

3. Best for… seaside adventures

Coastal Scotland by Stuart Fisher

From the wild waters around Cape Wrath to the serene beaches of the Silver Sands of Morar, via one of the world's largest whirlpools at Corryvreckan, Coastal Scotland journeys around the varied shorelines of Scotland to complete the most comprehensive survey ever taken.

4. Best for… travelling as our ancestors did

The Hidden Ways: Scotland’s forgotten roads by Alistair Moffat

In The Hidden Ways, Alistair Moffat traverses the lost paths of Scotland - its Roman roads tramped by armies, its byways and pilgrim routes, drove roads and railways, turnpikes and sea roads - in a bid to understand how our history has left its mark upon our landscape.

5. Best for… an epic road trip

The Rough Guide to the North Coast 500 by Rough Guides

Whether you plan to take a photo with the John O' Groats sign or visit the fishing town of Ullapool, The Rough Guide to the North coast 500 – a 500-mile loop along Scotlands north Highlands – will show you the top places to explore, sleep, eat and drink along the way.

6. Best for… castle bagging

Castles Map of Scotland by Collins

Explore 700 ancient monuments with this detailed map from expert map-makers Collins. The index comprises map references, the age and type of each castle, public access details, Historic Scotland and National Trust for Scotland ownership, notable grounds and gardens, telephone numbers and websites.

7. Best for… camper van and caravan adventures

Take the Slow Road: Scotland by Martin Dorey

An exploration of the best driving routes around Scotland for camper vans and motorhomes. The guide shows the coolest places to stay, what to see, what to do and explain why it's special. Includes maps and photos.

8. Best for… planning a pilgrimage

Britain’s Pilgrim Places by Nick Mayhew-Smith

Explore 2,000 years of history and heritage around the British Isles with this guide to Britain’s holiest sites, produced in collaboration with the British Pilgrimage Trust. From hermitages to cathedrals, each listing is covered in detail with advice on finding the site in question.

9. Best for… where to stay

Great British Bed & Breakfast Guide by Sawday’s

A curated collection of handsome country homes, cosy cottages, light-filled apartments and elegant town houses, all of which offer a warm welcome and a delicious breakfast.

10. Best for… a weekend break

52 Great British Weekends by Annabelle Thorpe

This travel guide covers a calendar year in the UK with a getaway for each weekend of the year. Seasonal advice, travel tips and advice on historic sites are included.


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For more history travel, visit the Exploring Scotland section of our website here.