Shaun January 11, 2018
the best UK travel books

We bring you a selection of the best UK travel books ever written.

From Bill Bryson to Paul Theroux, some of the best loved travel writers and journalists have written books about the little island West of Europe. We have compiled a list of the best UK travel books ever written, to inspire you to travel or learn something new about this union of nations and its people.

Being originally from the UK myself, I love how outsiders highlight and observe our quirks and eccentricities. Sometimes it takes a foreign pair of eyes to show you something new about yourself. With Bryson especially, its always in a humorous tone, and I am sure visitors and natives alike will enjoy these books equally.

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The Best UK Travel Books Ever Written-


Notes From a Small Island – by Bill Bryson

“Before New York Times bestselling author Bill Bryson wrote The Road to Little Dribbling, he took this delightfully irreverent jaunt around the unparalleled floating nation of Great Britain, which has produced zebra crossings, Shakespeare, Twiggie Winkie’s Farm, and places with names like Farleigh Wallop and Titsey.”

A typical Bryson take on his adopted homeland of 20 years. Full of humor and accurate insights into the island of Great Britain; a book appreciated by all (including the Brits).

Available in Hardcover, Paperback, eBook & Audio Formats


Coasting – by Jonathan Raban

Put Jonathan Raban on a boat and the results will be fascinating, and never more so than when he’s sailing around the serpentine, 2,000-mile coast of his native England. In this acutely perceived and beautifully written book, the bestselling author of Bad Land turns that voyage–which coincided with the Falklands war of 1982-into an occasion for meditations on his country, his childhood, and the elusive notion of home.

Whether he’s chatting with bored tax exiles on the Isle of Man, wrestling down a mainsail during a titanic gale, or crashing a Scottish house party where the kilted guests turn out to be Americans, Raban is alert to the slightest nuance of meaning. One can read Coasting for his precise naturalistic descriptions or his mordant comments on the new England, where the principal industry seems to be the marketing of Englishness. But one always reads it with pleasure.

Available in Hardcover, Paperback & Audio Formats


Love of Country: A Hebridean Journey – by Madeleine Bunting

Few landscapes are as iconic as the islands off the north-western Scottish coast. On the outer edge of the British Isles and facing the Atlantic Ocean, the Hebrides form part of Europe’s boundary. Because of their unique position in the Atlantic archipelago, they have been at the centre of a network of ancient shipping routes which has led to a remarkable history of cultures colliding and merging. Home to a long and rich Gaelic tradition, for centuries their astonishing geography has attracted saints and sinners, and stimulated artists and writers, inspiring awe and dread as well as deep attachment.

Over six years, Madeleine Bunting travelled north-west, returning again and again to the Hebrides, exploring their landscapes, histories and magnetic pull. With great sensitivity and perceptiveness, she delves into the meanings of home and belonging, which in these islands have been fraught with tragedy as well as tenacious resistance. The Hebrides hold a remarkable place in the imaginations of Scotland and England.

Bunting considers the extent of the islands’ influence beyond their shores, finding that their history of dispossession and migration has been central to the British imperial past. Perhaps more significant still is how their landscapes have been repeatedly used to imagine the British nation. Love of Country shows how their history is a backdrop for contemporary debates about the relationship between our nations, how Britain was created, and what Britain has meant – for good and for ill.

Available in Hardcover, Paperback & eBook Formats


Land of Plenty: A Journey Through the Fields and Foods of Modern Britain – by Charlie Pye-Smith

Golden fields, ripening apples, lowing cattle: our idea of the landscape has been shaped by agriculture, as has the land itself. But in a fast-changing world, how does the great British countryside continue to provide the food we eat?
Most people living in Britain today must go back several generations before they find an ancestor who worked on the land. How much do we really know about those who are supplying us with the most essential things in life: our daily bread and butter, meat and fish, fruit and vegetables?
In Land of Plenty Charlie Pye-Smith travels the length and breadth of these isles to explore the little-understood world of British agriculture. From ultramodern indoor dairy units producing millions of litres of milk a year to small, old-fashioned farms making cheese with twenty or thirty cows, and from landowners whose families have farmed the same fields for centuries to tenants who have just joined the industry, Pye-Smith investigates the timeless connection between land and people in the twenty-first century.
Revealing the dairy industry in Somerset and Gloucestershire; beef in the Scottish Borders; sheep in North Yorkshire; pigs and poultry in East Anglia and Hampshire; vegetables in Norfolk; and fruit in Essex and the West Country, Land of Plenty is a colorful and rewarding travelogue that gets to the very heart of modern British life
Available in Hardcover, Paperback & eBook Formats

The Kingdom by the Sea by Paul Theroux

After eleven years as an American living in London, the renowned travel writer Paul Theroux set out to travel clockwise around the coast of Great Britain to find out what the British were really like. The result is this perceptive, hilarious record of the journey. Whether in Cornwall or Wales, Ulster or Scotland, the people he encountered along the way revealed far more of themselves than they perhaps intended to display to a stranger. Theroux captured their rich and varied conversational commentary with caustic wit and penetrating insight.

Available in Hardcover, Paperback & Audio Formats


Not Quite Lost: Travels Without A Sense of Direction – by Roz Morris

As featured on BBC Radio Devon, BBC Lincolnshire, BBC Wiltshire, BBC Berkshire, BBC Oxford and BBC Bristol

In life there’s the fast lane, and then there’s the scenic route. Take your time getting there and you might meet people whose stories are as gripping as those of any famous name.

In Not Quite Lost, Roz Morris celebrates the hidden dramas in the apparently ordinary. Her childhood home, with a giant star-gazing telescope on the horizon and a garden path that disappears under next door’s house. A tour guide in Glastonbury who is having a real-life romance with a character from Arthurian legend. A unit on a suburban business park where people are preparing to deep-freeze each other when they die.

But even low-key travel has its hazards, and Roz nearly runs down several gentlemen from Porlock when her brakes give up on her. She takes her marriage vows in a language she doesn’t speak, has a Strictly-style adventure when she stumbles into a job as a flashmob dancer, and hears an unexpected message in an experiment in ESP.

Wry, romantic, amused and wonder-struck, Not Quite Lost is an ode to the quiet places you never realised might tell you a tale.

Available in Paperback & eBook Formats

The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain – by Bill Bryson

A loving and hilarious—if occasionally spiky—valentine to Bill Bryson’s adopted country, Great Britain. Prepare for total joy and multiple episodes of unseemly laughter.

Twenty years ago, Bill Bryson went on a trip around Britain to discover and celebrate that green and pleasant land. The result was Notes from a Small Island, a true classic and one of the bestselling travel books ever written. Now he has traveled about Britain again, by bus and train and rental car and on foot, to see what has changed—and what hasn’t.

Following (but not too closely) a route he dubs the Bryson Line, from Bognor Regis in the south to Cape Wrath in the north, by way of places few travelers ever get to at all, Bryson rediscovers the wondrously beautiful, magnificently eccentric, endearingly singular country that he both celebrates and, when called for, twits. With his matchless instinct for the funniest and quirkiest and his unerring eye for the idiotic, the bewildering, the appealing, and the ridiculous, he offers acute and perceptive insights into all that is best and worst about Britain today.

Nothing is more entertaining than Bill Bryson on the road—and on a tear. The Road to Little Dribbling reaffirms his stature as a master of the travel narrative—and a really, really funny guy.

Available in Hardcover, Paperback, eBook & Audio Formats


The Village News: The Truth Behind England’s Rural Idyll – by Tom Fort

We have lived in villages a long time.  The village was the first model for communal living.  Towns came much later, then cities.  Later still came suburbs, neighbourhoods, townships, communes, kibbutzes.  But the village has endured. Across England, modernity creeps up to the boundaries of many, breaking the connection the village has with the land. With others, they can be as quiet as the graveyard as their housing is bought up by city ‘weekenders’, or commuters.

The ideal chocolate box image many holidaying to our sceptred Isle have in their minds eye may be true in some cases, but across the country the heartbeat of the real English village is still beating strongly – if you can find it. To this mission our intrepid historian and travel writer Tom Fort willingly gets on his trusty bicycle and covers the length and breadth of England to discover the essence of village life.

His journeys will travel over six thousand years of communal existence for the peoples that eventually became the English. Littered between the historical analysis, will be personal memories from Tom of the village life he remembers and enjoys today in rural Oxfordshire.

Available in Hardcover & eBook Formats



The National Trust Book of Scones: 50 Delicious Recipes and Some Curious Crumbs of History – by Sarah Clelland 

Scone obsessive Sarah Cleland has gathered 50 scone recipes from National Trust experts around the country, and has written a quirky guide to 50 National Trust places to delight and entertain you while you bake or eat those blissful treats. Eccentric owners, strange treasures, obscure facts—it’s all here. Whip up a Triple Chocolate Scone while you read about the mechanical elephants at Waddeston Manor, savor an Apple & Cinnamon Scone while you absorb the dramatic love life of Henry Cecil of Hanbury Hall, or marvel at a Ightham Mote’s Grade 1 listed dog kennel while you savor a Cheese, Spring Onion and Bacon Scone. 50 of the best scones in history and 50 of the best places to read about—you’ll never need to leave the kitchen again. Includes dual measures.

Available in Hardcover & eBook Formats


DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Great Britain – by Roger Williams

DK Eyewitness Travel‘s full-color guidebooks to hundreds of destinations around the world truly show you what others only tell you. They have become renowned for their visual excellence, which includes unparalleled photography, 3-D mapping, and specially commissioned cutaway illustrations. DK Eyewitness Travel Guides are the only guides that work equally well for inspiration, as a planning tool, a practical resource while traveling, and a keepsake following any trip.

Available in Hardcover & eBook Formats


 

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