Is Lonely Planet my best bet?
November 11, 2007 11:45 PM   Subscribe

What is the best UK travel guide to give to an American student spending the semester there in the spring? She'll be in Gloucestershire, with short trips to London and around the Continent depending on time and budget.
posted by kyleg to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I can strongly recommend Lonely Planet, but prefer Rough Guides. I've always got a copy of their Scotland and England guides, though the UK version might be better for you if she's planning to travel.

They're great for ideas and reference, but don't be a slave to their pages. Once she's here she'll find that there's a lot of stuff which doesn't make it into the guidebooks.
posted by Nugget at 1:20 AM on November 12, 2007

For London, I can give my strongest recommendations to the Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness travel guide, and the Time Out Guide to Cheap Eats in London.

I think the guides for all of Europe are not going to be as useful as country- or city-specific guides.
posted by grouse at 2:15 AM on November 12, 2007

I've always found the Rough Guides to be a great source of information.
posted by Grinder at 3:00 AM on November 12, 2007

If she's in to the arts, I heartily recommend checking out the legacy of William Morris and his school around Stroud. I used to make some church or house one of them had worked on the end point of my Sunday bike rides when I lived round that way. The site linked is of course itself a good guide to the gurt lush Cotswold hills of south Gloucestershire.
posted by Abiezer at 3:10 AM on November 12, 2007

There's alway Rick Steves. Before I came to the UK I found tons of his books for cheap at used book stores. He updates them every year, which makes for easy to find early editions that are perfectly useable.

Go to London as often as possible, and come check out Cambridge- it's beautiful and worth a day trip. Go to the national express website and look into bus fairs- if you plan a week or two ahead of time you can get to may cities for as a little as a pound.

Also keep in mind how expensive Britain is compared to other European countries, especially with the exchange rate at about $2.10. It's easy and cheap to "go to Europe" as the Brits say.

Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions.
posted by farishta at 3:35 AM on November 12, 2007

Last time I browsed the major guides they didn't have anything to amazing about Gloucestershire, at least in terms of detail. really local sources, like council websites will be much more helpful if they're staying here for a bit. Having lived here for the last 5 years now I can say its pretty great place both to live an to visit. If I can be of any help my email's in my profile.
posted by prentiz at 8:25 AM on November 12, 2007

I've just moved to Gloucestershire and found the wikitravel website useful in giving an overview of different towns, although it doesn't have much in depth information.The Gloucestershire county council website may also help with some information. I'm currently living near the university, so if that's where she's staying then feel free to message me if you need any advice.
posted by Laura_J at 3:01 PM on November 12, 2007

I think you'd do better ordering something more specialized from the UK. You might want to look at this recent thread on Ask MeFi.
posted by lukemeister at 8:42 PM on November 12, 2007

Most places you go in the UK should have a tourist information office ( ) which are stocked full of leaflets and flyers for local attractions, not so good for advanced planning - though the web site might be useful. But they are very useful places when you find yourself in need of something local to do, plus I kind of like shifting though the physical flyers rather then just reading on line, so often start holidays in random places looking around the tourist office to see what events and things are on.
posted by paulfreeman at 9:14 AM on November 13, 2007

Thanks for the replies, guys. I mostly want something to give her before she leaves that will whet her appetite for the trip and that she can carry with her as a general reference. The other tips are appreciated, and I will pass those along.

Would those of you in the area mind if I give your contact info so she could ask any specific questions directly?
posted by kyleg at 1:25 PM on November 15, 2007

I grew up in the Cotswolds and I know what it is like trying to show someone around - quite frustrating as you try to get across an idea of what is special about the place without being in too much of a hurry (that's not the point) or too detailed and obscure. So I would suggest some books to read ofr pleasure in advance or while there: Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee, Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford, The Blanket of the Dark by John Buchan, New from Nowhere by William Morris. There are probably more but that should do for now. Good luck.

(My American girlfriend thought that I would be a good guide but alas I'm not available ;-) )
posted by PollyAnnaCowBoy at 4:16 PM on December 28, 2007

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