Martha Ainsworth’s England Travel Tips

Best England Guide Books and Maps

The British Tourist Authority is particularly helpful. If you have a branch office near you, visit it in person to gather free information. They often have a bookshop as well. The British Tourist Authority website can give you a start.

To plan your travel, you must buy a book or two. Websites can help you get started, but when you get there, you need a book in your hand with phone numbers, maps and so on that you didn’t know you’d need. At minimum, you must have one general purpose guide book.

My favorite: Lonely Planet England. I own 12 England guide books and in my opinion this has the most reliable information, the most useful format, and the best descriptive writing.

Other good basic guidebooks include Frommer’s, Fodor’s, and the Eyewitness guides. Notes From a Small Island is not a guidebook but a wonderful narrative describing (and attempting to explain) England for Americans.

Great Sleeps in London and Great Eats in London, by Sandra Gustafson are excellent resources when you need to conserve funds.

In addition to your basic guidebook, browse your local bookstore for books on special interests, itinerary suggestions, or activities like walking tours, sports, gardens, pub guides, driving itineraries etc. Dream!

Atlas London A to Z is essential for finding your way around London; there is no better set of city maps than this pocket-sized booklet.

If you’re driving, you also need a road atlas. The atlas book format is much easier to manage than a fold-out map. Decent road atlases are published by AA (The Automobile Association U.K.), AAA (American Automobile Association) and Rand-McNally. You should be able to get one at your local Barnes & Noble or Borders. Make sure it’s recent; small roads don't change much but there has been new motorway (freeway) construction in the last few years. The following are shipped from U.K.:

“Town plans” (close-up local street maps) come in very handy when you need to find your B+B or the route to a cathedral.

Other Helpful England Travel Links

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