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99 of 109 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2005
You're going to LOVE BRITAIN! I've spent a year in England and have made >30 visits all together.

Here are my reviews of the best guides....to meet you r exact needs.....I hope these are helpful and that you have a great visit! I always gauge the quality of my visit by how much I remember a year later......this review is designed to help you get the guide that will be sure YOU remember your trip many years into the future. Travel Safe and enjoy yourself to the max!

Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet has City and Out To Eat Guides. They are all about the experience so they focus on doing, being, getting there, and this means they have the best detailed information, including both inexpensive and really spectacular restaurants and hotels, out-of-the-way places, weird things to see and do, the list is endless.

Fodor's

Fodor's is the best selling guide among Americans. They have a bewildering array of different guides. Here's which is what:

The Gold Guide is the main book with good reviews of everything and lots of tours, walks, and just about everything else you could think of. It's not called the Gold guide for nothing though....it assumes you have money and are willing to spend it.

SeeIt! is a concise guide that extracts the most popular items from the Gold Guide

PocketGuide is designed for a quick first visit

UpCLOSE for independent travel that is cheap and well thought out

CityPack is a plastic pocket map with some guide information

Exploring is for cultural interests, lots of photos and designed to supplement the Gold guide

MapGuide

MapGuide is very easy to use and has the best location information for pubs, hotels, tourist attractions, museums, churches etc. that they manage to keep fairly up to date. It's great for teaching you how to use the underground and the double decker buses. The text sections are quick overviews, not reviews, but the strong suite here is brevity, not depth. I strongly recommend this for your first few times learning your way around the classic tourist sites and experiences. MapGuide is excellent as long as you are staying pretty much in the city centre. When you get to be an old London hand, remember that the classic Londoners guide will always be an A to Z (zed) map and guide. If you want to go a bit beyond the central core of the city (perhaps to Windsor, Hampton, or further away) you really need the proper AtoZ to be able to find exact routes and streets.

Time Out

The Time Out guides are very good. Easy reading, short reviews of restaurants, hotels, and other sites, with good public transport maps that go beyond the city centre. Many people who buy more than one guidebook end up liking this one best!

Blue Guides

Without doubt, the best of the walks guides.... the Blue Guide has been around since 1918 and has extremely well designed walks with lots of unique little side stops to hit on just about any interest you have. If you want to pick up the feel of the city, this is the best book to do that for you. This is one that you end up packing on your 10th trip, by which time it is well worn.

Michelin

Famous for their quality reviews, the Red Michelin Guides are for hotels & Restaurants, the Green Michelin Guides are for main tourist destinations. However, the English language Green guide is the one most people use and it has now been supplemented with hotel and restaurant information. These are the serious review guides as the famous Michelin ratings are issued via these books.

Let's Go

Let's Go is a great guide series that specializes in the niche interest details that turn a trip into a great and memorable experience. Started by and for college students, these guides are famous for the details provided by people who used the book the previous year. They continue to focus on providing a great experience inexpensively. If you want to know about the top restaurants, this is not for you (use Fodor's or Michelin). Let's Go does have a bewildering array of different guides though. Here's which is what:

Budget Guide is the main guide with incredibly detailed information and reviews on everything you can think of.

City Guide is just as intense but restricted to the single city.

PocketGuide is even smaller and features condensed information

MapGuide's are very good maps with public transportation and some other information (like museum hours, etc.)

Frommer's

These are time tested guides that pride themselves on being updated annually. Although I think the guides below provide information that is in more depth or more concise (depending on what the guide is known for), if your main concern is that the guide has very little old or outdated information, then this would be a good guide for you.

Rick Steves' books are not recommended. They may be an interesting read but their helpfulness is very poor. They don't do well on updates, transportation details, or anything but the first-time-tourist routine and even that is somewhat superficial on anything but the mega-major sites.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEon July 12, 2003
I will soon be traveling to England and plan to trek around the country for a week on as little money as possible. I know that Lonely Planet produces the best kind of guides for this type of traveler - that is, a cheapskate drifter like me. I'm certainly happy I picked this guide up and I'm mostly confident in the data it provides. There's a treasure trove of information on how to travel cheap, especially in terms of bus and train transport between the major cities, plus inexpensive lodging - including hostels and even YMCA's and campgrounds. The problem with this guide is a general "cooler-than-thou" attitude toward tourist areas, with a real snobbish outlook on some popular attractions. An example is the Madame Tussaud organization, as their various museums are described as boring at least twice in the book (I've been to England before and I strongly disagree). Also watch out for the general "tacky" or "dull" label for many towns that cater to tourists, which makes you wonder about Lonely Planet's motivation for including them in the guide at all. In most cities, the restaurant and club recommendations do not seem like a representative sample, but just a quick list of locations that the LP team found cool enough to visit in a short amount of time. A lingering production problem is the quality of the maps, which are mostly dim in the black-and-white format and hard to read. But despite the occasionally condescending attitude, Lonely Planet succeeds in providing a very informative guide for the penny-pinching traveler.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2008
Guidebooks tend to be hit or miss, and Lonely Planet's tend to be especially inconsistent.

I have used the Lonely Planet guides during my trips to Morocco, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand and found those to be excellent. So when I recently went on a two-week trip to England, I picked up this guide and figured it'd be very handy.

For London, it is very useful; It lists the major sites with phone numbers and hours, has a reasonable guide to accomodation, and the maps are very well-done.

For anywhere outside London, I found this book to be less than useful. I went out to explore the New Forest and drive around Cornwall, and actually found the AA Road Atlas more useful for finding popular sites and information about them. Many items listed in the AA Road Atlas had side-note paragraphs in the Lonely Planet guide, but these were not indexed so were nearly impossible to find.

Also, most of the smaller towns that are interesting were not even listed in the Lonely Planet book. RE: New Forest, the only town listed was Lyndhurst and the listing was very weak; Brockenhurst was recommended to me by some British friends, and I ended up staying there, but this book didn't even list the town (though it did mention it in passing, and that mention was not in the Index). Towns like Land's End were listed, but it didn't mention that it's a horrible tourist trap, whereas the listing for Lizard didn't mention it was actually a nice idyllic little town and the activities around it. We nearly skipped Lizard in favor of Land's End, which would have been a horrible mistake!

Overall this was a very disappointing guide for anywhere outside London.
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2001
England must be a difficult destination for Lonely Planet to keep writing new and fresh as it sucessfuly has this last decade. England however, is not a country generaly regarded highly by main stream travelers. Yes there are some kicking cities and night life and ofcourse there is always London, hoever England is not a cheep country to visit by anymeans and it takes a lot of effort and time to thoroughly enjoy the rewards of England. For this reason the lonely planet on England is comproable to the other guides on the market. The coverage is more extensive then the Britain guide, and the London section is nearly as useful to the Lonely planet city guide. I would recommend however the Britain guide to the typical back packer, or Antipodeans comming over for a while to work, you never know when you might go to Scotland or Wales. This is however a good guide for the mid range traveler who wants to stick to the Dales and lowlands. The coverage of cities, accomadation and getting there and away sections are adequate to excelent. The authors do miss coverage that I would expect in a comprehensive guide. Many northern cities are missing as with many cotswold villages and Cornish destinations. The set up however is still better then the other guides on the market and is much more user friendly. Four Stars.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2003
Now in an updated and expanded second edition, England: An Ancient Land In A New Light is Lonely Planet's latest guide to traveling throughout England. Accessibly covering all of facts that any visitor would need to know, including transportation advice, and a careful piece-by-piece dissection of every corner of English territory, Lonely Planet's utility as a travel guide is further enhanced with the inclusion of extensive maps, information concerning activities such as horse riding, biking, visiting national landmarks, and so much more. The collaborative and impressive effort of David Else, Paul Bloomfield, Fionn Davenport, Abigail Hole, and Martin Hughes, this compact, portable, extremely useful and authoritatively informative resource make England invaluable for planning any kind of trip anywhere in this island nation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I am a fan of the Lonely Planet series because they cater to the typical traveler. If you are a budget to mid-range traveler, these books are for you. They do list a few "splurge" hotels here and there however. The book is thorough and covers a number of smaller towns and more out-of-the-way places. I like this book in particular because it is dedicated entirely to England. Most guides cover at least Great Britain, if not all of the U.K. Scotland? Wales? Not here - just the most in-depth treatment of England I have ever found. Even small towns are covered with reasonable depth. I see this as the ideal book for someone planning on spending a week or more traveling around England. However, if you are just planning an extended trip to London and want to take some day trips out to the surrounding areas, I recommend this book for that as well. It has a huge section on London and is probably better at covering the environs than a guide dedicated solely to London.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2012
Bought the Kindle edition, so as to have it more easily accessible while traveling. Although the "map graphics" are a bit more cumbersome on a Kindle, it was GREAT to be able to access all the info as needed, without hauling around a bunch of guides. Information was up-to-date: didn't notice any major defects.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I love these books!! The first one that I used was Chicago. I have let more friends use it. They love the notes my husband and I made in the margins. The England book has been so helpful in planning our 10 day back packing trip through Great Britain. My only complaint is that maps need to be in color!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 2007
Lonely planet has a great team of writers. Every time I travel I get one of theirs books. It is a good format, has information on hotels, attractions and so on that are updated and realistic. Lonely planet a great job.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2013
The content of this guide is good, however, I don't really like the way in which it is set out. I have the printed version of this guide and it is great. I can flick through it and the detail is set out extremely well and the pictures and diagrams are brilliant. The web version though relies on the hyperlinks at the table of contents and these are cryptic. The content is great, but if I were Lonely Planet I would make the contents section longer so as to include the sections in greater detail. Also more photos and diagrams would be good. Perhaps it's unfair to compare the printed edition with the web edition. It's just that the printed edition is so good I was disappointed with the web version. Again, however, I have to emphasise that the web version has great content.
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