Whether you are crossing an ocean to visit the UK or coming down from the North for a weekend break in Cornwall, these are the best travel guides. No UK vacationer should leave home without at least one of these top travel books.
Most are the latest editions of classic series, some are newer but equally reliable travel guides. Whichever you choose, their tried and tested, practical advice will ensure that you eat well, stay in charming accommodations, visit fun places and never get lost on British roads. And the good news is, most of these guides are now available as apps as well as books.
The AA Bed and Breakfast Guide
More than 4,000 B&Bs, guest houses, farmhouses and inns are inspected and rated by the the Automobile Association's inspectors to produce this full-colour, regularly updated guide. Symbols highlight the best breakfasts and other features. The guide is available directly through the British Automobile Association.
The Good Food Guide has been rating restaurants and dining experiences since 1951. Their annual Good Food Guide, based on reviews submitted by members and subscribers from all over the UK, has become a classic and is absolutely reliable. Organised geographically, with a special section for London, and an appendix for late entries, it describes food, decor, prices, ambiance, even who's cooking behind the scenes, with thoroughness and authority. A great book to have on the road if you want to sit down to nice food with regularity. No longer affiliated with Which?, a group of consumer magazines, it is now available through the Good Food Guide website. And you can buy it as an app for smart phones and tablets.
The Good Pub Guide
The British public has relied on this informative guide to more than 5,000 pubs for years. Independent and comprehensive, it includes yearly updates and loads of reader reports. This guide points you in the direction of good country pints, friendly neighborhood boozers, and smart urban bars with big wine lists. Information about facilities, atmosphere, quality, and cost provides real insight into a British institution.
Ever since the Real Ale Movement began, several decades ago, the number of small local breweries, pubs with microbreweries and pubs that regularly feature a guest selection of cask-conditioned ales has expanded dramatically. And every year the 110,000 members of CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale) update their guide with pub reviews and information on more than 600 breweries that produce real ale. A trained team of tasters provides tasting notes on many of the beers and there are pub reviews and feature stories about beer, pubs, and brewing. This one is the top British beer-lovers' guidebook to the UK. It's also available for most e-readers with special, digital-only features.
AA Road Atlas Britain
The Automobile Association (AA) is practically the last word in roadmaps of the UK. This clear, easy-to-read, and very accurate map book labels pages with their geographic location so they are easy to find. There's a huge index that includes airports and tourists sights as well as towns and villages and, in 2007, the 21st edition included information on where to find speed cameras. There are 103 town, city and port plans, locations of hospitals and emergency rooms, "Jam Busting" maps and guidance to the best, wide secondary routes. A real drivers' map book. It's available through most travel book sellers but the most up-to-date edition (along with apps and ebooks) is always available directly from the Automobile Association website.