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Whether it's your first time visiting London or you've been there before, this world capital has so much to offer that most travelers will depend on a good guidebook -- or two or three. But not all travel guides are created equal. Some are heavy to carry around but cover everything you need to know about London and are filled with beautiful illustrations, while others are portable and easily fit in your pocket but can touch on only the highlights. There are books to fit every traveler's preference.
Our Top Picks
Rick Steves' London
Rick Steves' London guidebook provides maps of West and East London, as well as a map to find your way around the city's Underground network. Steves gives advice on how to make the best of your time in London by avoiding long lines when sightseeing and to get around London by public transportation. Five self-guided walks make it easy for first-time visitors to get to know the city.
DK Eyewitness Travel London has all you need to know about London's best attractions, with 3-D cutaway illustrations of all the most important sights, plus beautiful photographs on quality glossy paper that the DK series is famous for. There's also practical information about walking tours, places to dine, shopping, and museums. Detailed city maps include a street finder index.
Lonely Planet London City Guide
The Lonely Planet London guidebook has 48 full-color neighborhood maps and photos, along with a convenient pull-out map of the city. Get recent reviews of restaurants, hotel accommodations, shops, bars, and more for all tastes and all budgets. Content covers history, music, theater, art, and all things cultural for this most cultural city.
This comprehensive guide to London written by locals includes dozens of full-color maps, plus one pull-out map. Fodor's recommends restaurants and hotels by price and area and designates their top picks. All the major sights are covered, with in-depth breakout features on Westminster Abbey, British Museum, and The Tower of London. It also to side trips to Cambridge, Oxford, and Stratford-Upon-Avon.
Not for Tourists Guide to London
This is a neighborhood-by-neighborhood guide to London that is helpful to locals and first-time visitors alike. With over 150 maps and thousands of listings for restaurants, theater, shops, and other spots that are under the radar of most tourists, this light-weight portable guide is full of tips. Also available as an ebook.
Frommer's London Day-by-Day Guide
The Day-by-Day series of guides from Frommer's offers itineraries that help visitors see the best of a destination in a short time. London Day-by-Day is full of color photos, thematic walking tours of the city's neighborhoods, and tips on the latest hotels, restaurants, and nightspots in all price ranges. The maps are bulleted with points of interest.
DK Eyewitness Travel Top 10 London
The DK Eyewitness Travel Top 10 London travel guidebook is packed with top-10 lists on all there is to see and do in London. Light-weight and pocket-size, the book is chock full of information on the city's major sights and attractions. It includes walks, itineraries, full-color maps, and high-quality photos typical of DK travel books.
This colorful guide for families traveling to London with kids provides 68 activities to do in the city and beyond. Child-friendly suggestions for family fun include exploring the London Dungeon, riding the London Eye for a birds-eye view, and of course, going to the London Zoo. There are practical tips for restaurants and games to keep the kids busy.
Wallpaper* London City Guide
This pocket-size guide is billed as an insider's checklist of all you need to know about London with a focus on architecture, design, and style. It has a color-coded map of neighborhoods and eight main chapters that cover nightlife, hotels, retail shops, art galleries, and contemporary life in the city. Few big sights are listed, but for a hip take on London, this could be a supplementary guidebook.
Let's Go Budget London
The Let's Go series of budget guides are compact, pocket-sized books aimed at travelers on limited budgets. The guide is packed with money-saving tips so you can get the most out of your time in expensive London without breaking the bank. Learn how to get discount tickets for performances and public transportation, and where to find cheap eats and affordable places to stay. Popular with students, this guide is really for any traveler looking to stretch the travel budget.
Fodor's London 25 Best has 25 must-see sights in London, plus a full-color removable street map. The book is divided into sections by London neighborhoods and has focused maps for each. Listings highlight sightseeing, nightlife, accommodations, eating out, and interesting walks.