Looking for some literary inspiration before you visit Scotland? We have you covered! We have curated a selection of the best fiction and non-fiction titles for your reading pleasure!

In this article, you will find selections of the best books about Scotland in a variety of genres. This includes the best non-fiction books set in Scotland with travel or historical focus, romance novels set in Scotland, photography guides and more.

Whether you are looking for inspiration for your Scotland travel itinerary, want to know more about this beautiful country or simply want some escapism set in Scotland (Outlander style) you will find something that appeals in this selection.

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Rick Steves – Scotland

Rick Steves is of course one of the best selling authors in the US when it comes to guide books for European travel.

This guide provides readers with Rick’s recommendations for Scotland which include his picks for sights, eating and sleeping.

It also includes a useful full-colour foldout map.


Lonely Planet – Scotland

Lonely Planet provides readers with up-to-date advice on what to and see in Scotland.

It offers a comprehensive guide to Scottish regions and all they have to offer.

Click to buy

DK Eyewitness – Top 10 Scotland

A third option if you are looking for a guidebook for Scotland (supplementary to this website of course) is the DK Eyewitness series.

This focuses on their pick of the top 10 things to do and see in Scotland. I love lists so they always appeal to me!



44 Scotland Street

By Alexander McCall Smith

The first in a series of books about the residents of 44 Scotland Street a busy Bohemian corner of Edinburgh’s New Town.

Follow the lives of the residents in this delightful series of books by Alexander McCall Smith.

The prime of Miss Jean Brodie

By Muriel Spark

Set in the 1930’s Miss Jean Brodie is a teacher in an Edinburgh boarding school. This is a classic novel written by Muriel Spark and was adapted for film with a young Dame Maggie Smith playing Brodie.

Knots and Crosses (Inspector Rebus Novels)

By Ian Rankin

An Inspector Rebus novel Knots and Crosses is the first in the series featuring detective Rebus.

Set in Edinburgh a number of the novels have been adapted for TV.


A history of Scotland – look behind the mist and myth of Scottish history

By Neil Oliver

Historian (and TV presenter) Neil Oliver tells the story of Scotland in this easy to read guide.

The Family Tree Scottish Genealogy Guide: How to Trace Your Ancestors in Scotland

If you have (or believe you may have) Scottish ancestry this guide will help you build your family tree.

Uncover your Scottish heritage with the help of genealogy expert Amanda Epperson and learn about church records, censuses, civil registrations and more.

Made In Scotland: My Grand Adventures in a Wee Country

By Billy Connolly

Find out from the big Yin himself what it means to be Scottish. In this reflection on his life, roots, and homeland Connolly takes readers on the journey with him.

A funny and yet brutally honest account from one of Scotland’s most loved comedians.


Outlander book set

By Diana Gabaldon

Familiar to most of us through the TV adaptation of the same name the Outlander series tells the story of love across the centuries.

The Refuge – an inspirational novel of Scotland

By Regan Walker

A Gold Medal Winner 2017 Illumination awards this romantic novel is set in Scotland in 1072.

If you enjoy historical romantic fiction this book is a delightful read.

Sea of Memories

By Fiona Valpy

Set in Scotland and France this novel tells the story of Ella.

Sharing her life story with her granddaughter Kendra takes us from the beautiful island of Ile de Re to the rugged hills of Scotland.


The Photographer’s Guide to Scotland – Skye, Glen Coe & the Trossachs

An excellent guide to some of the most beautiful places in Scotland. Includes detailed information about how to get to the various locations featured in the book.

If you are a keen photographer (or know of one) this is a must buy for your trip!

Scotland from the Sky

Combining stunning aerial photography and fascinating stories this is a beautiful book capturing the hidden stories within Scotland’s landscapes from above.

Photographing Scotland: A photo-location and visitor guidebook

In this extensive photo-location and visitor guidebook Dougie Cunningham explores and describes the most beautiful places in Scotland to visit and photograph.

Including classic views and also some lesser known and hidden gems!


The Ultimate Scottish Cookbook: Delicious Scottish Recipes!

Now for a selection of the best Scottish cookbooks for those of you who enjoy recreating some of the food we are often introduced to for the first time when we travel.

A Wee Scottish Cookbook

Feast on twenty recipes inspired by the Highland romance novel “Love Inherited.”

This companion cookbook spans the meals of a Highlander’s day from breakfast to a drink by the fire.

Outlander Kitchen: The Official Outlander Companion Cookbook

Featuring more than one hundred recipes, Outlander Kitchen retells Claire and Jamie’s incredible story through the flavors of the Scottish Highlands, the French Revolution, and beyond.

A perfect companion to the books and TV series.


Colours of Scotland: a relax-art-ation mindfulness adult colouring book

This latest edition of Colours of Scotland is bigger, brighter and sharper than before. In this new editions you will find new images have been added!

E-colouring books for adults unlike traditional hard copies allow you to print and colour images as often as you like!

The Scotland Colouring Book: Past and Present

Featuring a range of picturesque Scottish vistas, from freshwater lochs and wooded glens to majestic mountains, granite cities, and medieval castles, each stunning scene is full of intriguing detail sure to fire the imagination and make you reach for your coloring pencils.

The Colouring Book of Scotland

A unique Scottish colouring book suitable for adults as well as children featuring 20 of the country’s most iconic places including:

Edinburgh Castle * Forth Rail Bridge * St Andrews * HMS Discovery, Dundee * Balmoral castle * Loch Ness/Urquart Castle and many more.


Horrible Histories -SCOTLAND

Refreshed, renewed, reloaded! Readers can discover all the foul facts about the Scotland , including: the truth about William Wallace, the disgusting details of sick Scottish torture techniques, and how to terrify a tourist with gory Scottish ghost stories.

You wouldn’t want to be Mary, Queen of Scots!

See life through the eyes of one of the most unfortunate people in European history – Mary, Queen of Scots!

Crowned as a baby, widowed at 18, schemed against in your own country and menaced by the superpower next door your life is not going to be a bed of roses!

Informative captions, a complete glossary and an index make this title an ideal introduction to the conventions of non-fiction texts for young readers.

Hairy Hettie: The Highland Cow Who Needs a Haircut! (Picture Kelpies)

Hettie the Highland cow has lots of hair to keep her warm and cosy. But other animals want to be cosy too… In springtime two blackbirds stop by and build their nest in Hettie’s hair. She’s a cow not a hedge!

The second story about loveable Hettie the Highland cow takes us through the seasons in Scotland. This charming, funny story is brought to life by Jo Allan’s lively illustrations.

Happy Reading!

I am sure that this wide selection of books with a Scottish theme will have provided you with some inspiration and ideas.

Read more in our Edinburgh Travel Guide

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Related Reading

Find more inspiration for your travels in my Scotland Travel Guide which includes information about what to see, where to stay, how to get around, travel tips, recommended reading and more to make the most of your trip.