Recommendations for travel books of England

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Recommendations for travel books of England

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kesäkuu 27, 2009, 11:00am


I'd love to hear what are your favorite travel books of England.
Better something with sense of humor :)


kesäkuu 27, 2009, 12:32pm

I liked the Bill Bryson one myself... of course I can't remember what it's called. If you look at my tags, any with genre - travel and location - uk should fit your requirements...

kesäkuu 27, 2009, 12:37pm

Musn't Grumble by Joe Bennett. He visits a lot of places in England you probably wouldn't want to.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 28, 2009, 7:08am

I'm assuming you mean England rather than Britain (sorry if this may seem obvious, but even the English don't always get this one right - Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish rarely make the mistake of muddling the two!), so have ignored anything that doesn't have a large chunk specifically about England/the English (there are some goods about Scotland and Wales for instance).

"Notes from a Small Island" (the Bill Bryson book) is fine if you like his travel writing. Personally, I don't get off on his humour and style, although he reads very easily. I much prefer his other work (science, language), but am probably in a minority.

Can't say that I rate much else of what I've read lately that's been written recently about England - too many seem to be conveyor belt produced or pandering to prejudices (eg Theroux, Bennett, Hawkes, Maconie). Books about the English are better (eg Jeremy Paxman, Kate Fox).

Going back a decade or so, I enjoyed Bettina Selby's "Riding North One Summer", Hamish Brown's "Hamish's Groat's End Walk", and Jonathan Raban's "Coasting", all seeing England (and in the latter two cases other of the home countries too) from particular travel perspectives, but they are not particularly humorous. Going further back, HV Morton's "In Search of England" is a classic. I've just started dipping into David Thomas's "Journey through Britain", which is a doorstopper of a book, but is broken down into very readable small chapters. However, I haven't really had a chance to form an opinion yet.

Hope that helps. Please bear in mind that I am English, so have my own prejudices!!

kesäkuu 28, 2009, 8:23am

Paul Theroux's Kingdom by the Sea was pretty good if you can stand to read his crusty self.

kesäkuu 28, 2009, 5:00pm

10x for your recommendations!
I'm new to the site so it was a positive experience to see that the forums are so lively.
I'll try to read at least some of these books since I've got enough time until September.
In the meantime I'm working on the itinerary, which is part of the fun of going on a trip.

kesäkuu 28, 2009, 5:43pm

If you're actually coming over here do let us know which particular area(s) - I bet we'd love to suggest things you should see and suggest books set specifically around wherever you'll be staying if you fancy some fiction reading too!

And for travel books that point you at some of the more interesting stuff you could try I Never Knew That About England ( or the Secret London guide (assuming you're going to London, that is).

kesäkuu 28, 2009, 10:54pm

Journey To The Hebrides is about as good as it gets.

kesäkuu 28, 2009, 10:54pm

Journey To The Hebrides is about as good as it gets.

kesäkuu 29, 2009, 4:55am

Yes, do let us know where and when you are likely to visit, and what you are interested in - there is some great travel and other literature about more specific parts of England/the UK/wherever. (BTW if this reading is about a visit, then I doubly recommend Kate Fox's book, "Watching the English"; it'll give you quite a good insight into our quirks and characteristics!

kesäkuu 29, 2009, 4:13pm

Thanks again for all your recommendations.
I'd probably have to postpone my trip if I was to read them all but at least I have something to get started with :)
I'm going to spend two weeks in England (yes, I'm already aware of the differences between Britain etc.)
during which I'll visit: the Cotswolds, Shporshire, Lake District, York and Cambridge.
Now this is probably enough to make my reading list endless so I'd love to hear your ideas about the books that should be on top of my reading list - including fiction!

helmikuu 6, 2011, 2:08pm

As far as the capital city is concerned: An excellent history of London - if you're looking for something a bit quirky and a more original angle on the genre is Tim Moore's Do Not Pass Go - which looks at London from the perspective of the Monopoly game board. Great fun and suprisingly informative. A more heavyweight and comprehensive history of London is Peter Ackroyd's London - The Biography.

helmikuu 6, 2011, 2:36pm

Nick Crane's Two Degrees West: An English Journey is pretty good. It shines a light on bits of England which don't get much attention.

But really I would pick out particular regions and look for books about them.

helmikuu 6, 2011, 4:28pm

How about area-specific books like Adventures on the High Teas and Pies and Prejudice by Stuart Maconie. I know the latter, at least, is an amusing take on 'us northerners' and the English north-south divide. Oh, how fervently we debated the subject at university! (For the uninitiated, southerners are posh, eat sun-dried tomatoes and drink cappuccino; northerners are broad, eat pork pie and drink tea with milk and two sugars...).

helmikuu 7, 2011, 8:41am

Can I third the recommendation for Watching The English? It's really excellent.

On the north-south divide, I'd just note that southerners care much less about it than the northerners do... I was shocked that both my best mate and my boyfriend told me, they never imagined that they would be best friends/going out with a southerner!!

helmikuu 7, 2011, 9:14am

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

helmikuu 7, 2011, 9:14am

#11 If you're headed for the lakes you might want to try I Never Knew That About the Lake District by Christopher Winn (touchstones, bleaghghggh) and if you're of a poetic bent while there you could find yourself a quiet spot to read some Wordsworth. You may also want to check out a series of crime novels set in the Lake District by Martin Edwards whihc includes The Coffin Trail, The Cipher Garden, The Serpent Pool etc. I haven't read any of these, I'm afraid so can't comment on whether they are any good.

York, of course, has you on the edge of Bronte country so the choices there are fairly obvious but you might also fancy a literary detour to Whitby for Dracula or Michel Faber's exquisite The Hundred and Ninety-Nine Steps; Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is a 'must', set in Shropshire and Yorkshire, with a delicious scene in York Cathedral; Jill Paton Walsh's 'Imogen Quy' crime series (A Piece of Justice, The Bad Quarto etc) are all set in and around Cambridge University. Happy reading!

helmikuu 7, 2011, 9:15am

Oops, double post.