Hot on the heels of the Edinburgh bookshop app we looked at last week, the Edinburgh Book Trail app from purpleTrails lets you explore our city’s fascinating literary sights using your phone as a guide.
The app contains four themed walking routes through the city centre, from the Royal Mile to the New Town. Each contains points of literary interest — from the iconic, such as the Scott Monument, to those perhaps less well-known, such as the monument to Victorian author Catherine Sinclair. Each stop on the trails features a short description and explanation of its significance, together with photos and often a short video.
Points are plotted on maps, making it easy to follow the routes. The app also takes advantage of your phone’s location-based abilities, letting you check in to the locations you discover and allowing you to pull up ‘virtual goggles’ which point you to nearby points of interest.
If you don’t have the time to follow one of the walking trails (or even if you don’t happen to be in Edinburgh), the app also lets you browse all the points of interest based on a number of themes or by region of the city. Dozens of attractions and points of interest are included, ranging from writers’ birthplaces to locations featured in famous works, such as Inspector Rebus’ favourite watering hole, The Oxford Bar.
There’s even a light-hearted and fun Game Trail, where you follow ‘famous writer’ Pearl Litspur around the city on the trail of her stolen manuscript, solving clues to help her uncover the mystery.
Six authors, including Quintin Jardine, Christopher Brookmyre and Sara Sheridan also pop up at opportune points in exclusive videos, talking about their love of literary Edinburgh and their favourite or most significant places.
As a whole, the Edinburgh Book Trails app is an innovative and attractively designed package, which will appeal to locals and visitors alike. It does an excellent job of bringing Edinburgh’s past and current literary heritage to life, and although it comes with an above average price tag for an iPhone app, it is still cheaper than most traditional guidebooks and, with its ‘pick up and browse’ multimedia appeal, comes recommended from us.