Book Review of the Week: Frommer's Edinburgh & Glasgow

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

I love Scotland! I am always looking for new books about Scotland, and have been rewarded with Frommer's new book, Edinburgh and Glasgow Day by Day, 1st Edition: 22 Smart Ways to See the Cities. Written by Barry Shelby, the book is a treasure trove!


It has fold out maps of Scotland and Edinburgh Castle, as well as a take out map in the back pocket of both Edinburgh and Glasgow. As with other Day by Day guides by Frommer's, the book has several really cool sections: the best full day tours, the best special interest tours, the best neighborhood walks, the best shopping, dining, nightlife, arts and entertainment, and hotels. The book also includes geographical sections of the Borders and Lowlands, Tayside, the Trossachs, and central Highlands, and a detailed section called the Savvy Traveler, which has basic facts about getting to and around Scotland. 


All of this is packed into a small, pocket-sized guide that is a perfect book to keep handy while on the train, or in line somewhere  - I've read it in the doctor's office, the grocery store, and while waiting at our daughter's basketball practice. It can elevate the mundane into a travel planning dream!


Filled with lovely color photos and Excellent Recommendations, this book is a pure joy to read.  We were lucky enough to sit down and chat with Barry about the book - here's what he had to say...



WE: Please tell us about your book, Edinburgh and Glasgow Day by Day...

BS: It is a very practical guide to the cities -- to surrounding areas, too -- with advice on what to see and where to stay and eat. There are a host of tours, whether you're visiting for one day or one week, as well as specialist itineraries that concentrate on historic places or great art.


WE: What led to your interest/background in Edinburgh?

BS: I first visited the country and the city in the mid-1980s and generally fell
in love with Scotland, a country to which I have ancestral connections. Later I married a Scot and lived in Glasgow for about 11 years. Now I live on the Outer Hebridean island of Lewis. I was born in Berkeley, California, by the way.


WE: Your research for this book must have been fun! What were the highlights?

BS: For me the highlights are discovering little, picturesque alley ways or new
vantage points that I had failed to notice previously. So that might be exploring the village of Dean along the river called the Water of Leith in
Edinburgh or walking through neighborhoods in Glasgow's salubrious West End.

Other highlights are eating out, especially at seafood or Indian restaurants, as those are two of my favorite foods, or savouring a glass of cold lager in one of the city's bohemian haunts. The culture and nightlife are almost always good -- especially when you consider that these are relatively small cities (1 million people in Glasgow and 750K in Edinburgh) and not places like Chicago, NY or London.


WE: Do you still discover new places, in Edinburgh and Glasgow? Or, are you busy exploring old favorites?

BS: It's a combination of both. I love going back to Glasgow's Kelvingrove Art
Gallery and Museum or to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. Likewise, as I say, the trick is to venture off the beaten track to see some new cityscape or historic passageway.


WE: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

BS: Always remember that Edinburgh and Glasgow are quite close -- especially by North American standards. You can travel between the city centers in about 50 minutes using the train, and during most of the day and evening it runs every 15 minutes. Traditionally, most of the travel writers' attention has been on the Scottish Capitol, Edinburgh, but Glasgow is a very dynamic place. Put the two together, mix in a bit of the adjacent countryside, and you have a superb destination -- even better these days as the dollar's
worth relative to the pound has risen and prices are therefore cheaper than
they've been in years.


WE: Thanks so much, Barry! Your guidebook is just a wonderful addition to our library. I can't recommend it enough.


Interested in purchasing Frommer's Edinburgh & Glasgow Day by Day, 1st Edition? 

Click here and save 20% on your entire online order at Frommer's.

Use the coupon code AFF20 in the Promotion Code field when prompted during checkout and click the Apply Discount button.


Comments (2)

  • nonameharbor

    15 years 6 months ago

    Reading Barry Shelby's answer in the interview:

    " For me the highlights are discovering little, picturesque alley ways or new vantage points that I had failed to notice previously."

    - This is just what I would look for, also, and made me very much want to read this guide book.


        "Take the adventure, heed the call, now ere the irrevocable moment passes!"

           ...The Wind In The Willows, Kenneth Grahame

  • Kerry Dexter

    15 years 6 months ago

    Glasgow is really a center of music, too, all sorts. It was named a UNESCO city of music in 2008. interested that Barry now lives on Lewis...would love to know his take on the Hebrides.

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