At almost 900 pages, the new England travel guide from Lonely Planet is pretty comprehensive. This March 2011 edition is the 6th edition of a guide first published in June 2001, but one of the things we like about Lonely Planet is that each new edition of each guide is thoroughly re-researched. Some publishers these days skimp on their updates, and ask their writers to do an update from their desk, by merely phoning each entry in the book to check it’s still there. Lonely Planet authors have to visit each place for each new edition, so the information is guaranteed to be more accurate.
This bulky book begins with a location map followed by 13 colour pages showing England’s 27 Top Experiences. Why 27? Why not, and they’re all worthy of inclusion, from ancient Stonehenge to modern football. It’s interesting to see how many of these are covered in our London day trips section, easily seen on days out from London, including Stonehenge, Oxford, York, Bath, Cambridge, Stratford-upon-Avon and Canterbury.
It’s a wide-ranging list of suggestions, from Oxford’s architecture to Blackpool’s Pleasure Beach, and includes experiences like simply having a pint in the pub to taking a cruise boat along England’s rivers and canals. It’s good to see England’s eating scene singled out as one of the country’s highlights too. One criticism - the photos aren’t printed on glossy paper, just on regular paper, no doubt to keep costs down. The result is a loss of picture quality. It’s not disastrous, but it’s noticeable.
One feature that visitors to Beyond London Travel will enjoy is the list of suggested itineraries at the front of this England travel guide. There are seven recommended routes showing how to get the best out of a visit to England, depending how much time you have and what your interests are.
Several of these do include London, and the 2-week ‘England Highlights’ tour would enable you to take in Winchester, Salisbury and Stonehenge, Oxford, York, Bath, Cambridge, and Stratford-upon-Avon. That’s a pretty impressive tour for anyone wanting to see the best that England has to offer.
Another London tour focuses on the Heart of England, while if you have a full month you can head from London all the way to Hadrian’s Wall then back down through the Lake District, Liverpool, Manchester, the Cotswolds, see a little of the West Country as far as Dartmoor, then travel back to London mainly along the south coast. You could certainly use these itineraries to help you plan your own customised tour of England.
The back cover of this and other newer Lonely Planet Guides promises ‘3D plans of iconic sites’. Don’t get too excited, though, as there are only three of them, and for some bizarre reason they’re hidden away in the Northwest England chapter. This is odd because the three sites illustrated are the Tower of London, the River Thames, and the Housesteads Fort on Hadrian’s Wall. In our view it’s a gimmicky waste of space, and certainly the spread on the River Thames shows you very little more than a plain old non-3D map would do. But at least you don’t need special glasses to look at them
Despite a few minor faults, this is an excellent and thorough guide to England, from a team of experienced guidebook writers. If you’re spending time in London, the London section runs to about 76 pages and would certainly get you through a short visit to the city, though obviously can’t compete with something like the recent 300-page Discover London guide, also from Lonely Planet.
But at almost 900 pages, covering every major attraction in England, and with advice on getting around, hotels, and restaurants, this would be a good choice if you only wanted to buy one guide to all of England, including London. It also has a good pull-out city map of London at the back. At the price it’s currently being advertised at on Amazon (though this could obviously change), it’s less than 2 cents a page. This England travel guide is definitely excellent value for money.
Dec 26, 16 03:03 AM
Beyond London Travel visits Floors Castle near Kelso in the Scottish Borders, family home of the Duke of Roxburghe and one of VisitScotland's 5-star visitor attractions, a Scottish Downton Abbey.
Dec 04, 16 12:37 PM
The Beyond London Travel Books page reviews guidebooks, history, mysteries and fiction to help readers enjoy their visits to England, the UK, France, and beyond.
Dec 04, 16 12:20 PM
Beyond London Travel reviews Food Trails, a new guidebook from Lonely Planet for the culinary traveller which helps you plan 52 Perfect Weekends in the world's tastiest destinations.