This official tourist board guide from VisitEngland recommends accommodation that’s especially welcoming to cyclists and hikers. In addition there’s a lengthy practical section of general travel advice, useful to anyone who’s visiting the UK. It also suggests the best places to visit in each of England’s different regions.
England’s Eight Regions
The guide has a lengthy section for each of the eight different official regions of England, outside London. Each section begins with a list of the main attractions in the area, and a paragraph about each of them, but the rest of each section is taken up with the very detailed accommodation listings. Obviously the places must have something extra to offer walkers and cyclists.
The accommodation listings really are detailed when it comes to the practicalities. There are headings under each listing on Facilities for Walkers and Facilities for Cyclists. Some places, for example, will pick up people from the local train station. Some have secure bike storage or do bike rentals. Also useful if you don’t have your own wheels is the distance to the nearest shops… and to the nearest pub - this is England, after all!
Each listing also gives the current accommodation prices, and extremely full contact details. These include Sat Nav locations, address, phone, website, email, whether they’re on Twitter or Facebook, and whether or not you can book online. We were really impressed with the thoroughness of these listings. Naturally you also get a description of the property, and of the accommodation available. Oh, and the times of year when they’re open.
At the back of the book is a 19-page section of general travel information, followed by two indexes. These enable you to look things up by place name or by property name.
This section will be especially useful for overseas visitors, who may not be familiar with, for example, the names of the various rail companies in different parts of England. The section includes a map of the National Rail Network, and the websites and phone numbers for rail, ferry, bus/coach and car hire companies, plus roadside assistance like the AA and RAC. There are many other useful contacts listed, and useful advice on getting around England. It’s a comprehensive and helpful section of the book.
Room for Improvement?
The only way to improve the book would perhaps be to give more information on the long-distance paths and cycle routes in England. There is a page about Sustrans, and an overview map of the main cycle routes, but more detailed maps of the long-distance footpaths and cycle routes would be helpful. They would enable people to plan their route by cross-referencing the places to stay on the way. However, this would present practical problems and require an even bigger book than the chunky 270 pages it already is.
Buying the Book
At £7.99 for those 270 pages, the guide is definitely good value for money, and can be well recommended. It's ring-bound, so you can open it flat, and though not quite pocket-sized, would fit into maybe a large anorak pocket. You can buy it on Amazon UK, Amazon USA, and other Amazon stores worldwide. You can also buy the book or browse it here.
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