Travel: A novel idea… Lose yourself in Scotland through iconic books set in or written in the country’s most stunning locations

There is nothing better than getting lost in the pages of a good book, escaping to different destinations and embarking on new adventures.

It’s World Book Day on Thursday and Covid restrictions mean you can’t explore Scotland yet.

But readers can enjoy discovering Scotland on the page, either through Scottish writers or by reading a Scotland-inspired story.

Whether it’s crime crime novels, action-packed adventures or old favorites, discover Scotland’s literary ties and stay inspired for travel when it’s safe to do so.

Here are some favorites:

The Waverley novels by Sir Walter Scott

From the epic poem, The Lady of the Lake, in the wild romantic landscape around Loch Katrine and the Trossachs to Rob Roy, inspired by Highland folk hero Robert ‘Roy’ MacGregor and backdrop by Jacobite Rebellion in 1715, works by Scott are landmarks in Scottish literature. Visit Rob Roy Cave at the head of Loch Lomond and Glen Falloch, Abbotsford House, near Melrose, Sir Walter Scott’s ancestral home.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

The adventurous adventure was written during a stay in Braemar. It is believed that Stevenson based some of the characters on people he met in the village. Treasure Island is also rumored to be inspired by the island of Fidra in East Lothian.

The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

Edinburgh is woven into all the pages of the famous novel, especially locations such as Greyfriar’s Kirkyard, Barnbougle Castle and Dalmeny House.

Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon

Sunset Song incorporates the struggles of rural life into an Aberdeenshire village. Grassic Gibbon’s novel tells parts of real life, including Laurencekirk, Stonehaven, Dunnottar Castle and The Aberlemno Standing Stones in Angus. Arbuthnott is home to The Grassic Gibbon Center, the ideal place to learn more about the author.

© Shutterstock The Glenfinnan Viaduct, immortalized in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books.

John Buchan’s Thirty-Nine Steps

Buchan’s love of borders is often reflected in his books, and the area is home to John Buchan’s story at Peebles and the John Buchan Way – a 13-mile journey between Broughton and Peebles.

The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

Follow Harry and his friends to Hogwarts, the School of Magic and Magic. Visit Tom Riddle’s grave at Greyfriars Kirkyard, meet Hedwig’s winged friends at the Scottish Owl Center. Or take the Hogwarts Express across the Glenfinnan Viaduct.

Peter Pan by JM Barrie

The story of a young boy who never grows up has been going on for decades. A statue of Peter can be found in JM Barrie’s birthplace in Angri Kirriemuir, but it was Moat Brae in Dumfries, where Barrie lived as a boy, who inspired Neverland, the enchanting remote where Peter Pan and the Lost Boys overcame Captain Hook.

Beano, Dandy and Oor Wullie by DC Thomson

The jokes of Dennis and his friends in Beano, and A’body’s favorite wee laddie, Oor Wullie are published by DC Thomson in Dundee. Once restricted, look for statues of fellow Legendary Desperate Dan, Minnie the Minx and Oor Wullie in the city center.

Peter Rabbit and Friends by Beatrix Potter

Potter made her fluffy boyfriend, Peter Rabbit, after a childhood summer vacation in Dunkeld. Add Birnam Arts to future travel plans as it is a great place to learn about the area that inspired her and meet some of her other characters at the Beatrix Potter Exhibition Garden.

Report on Murder & My Scotland by Val McDermid

On a more formidable note, a doyenne of Scottish crime fiction is Val McDermid, whose first book, Report For Murder, was published in 1987. My Scotland, a Personal Journey to Scotland and How She Used the Discretionary Arrangements in Her Works in 2019.


The Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter movies is the famous steam train, The Jacobite. Fans of the famous magic train can even book a Harry Potter apartment.

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