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Best UK Travel Books for 2024 (Travel Guides & maps)

Looking for a guide book to supplement all the great information available on this website? Look not further! Below you will find an updated selection of the best UK Travel Books available in 2024 covering the UK, London, Great Britain, England, Wales and Scotland!

The popularity of travel guide books is once again on the up and if you are looking for a resource to help plan your travels they are great place to start.

Combining a guide book or two with information provided on this website will ensure you have everything you need to start planning your trip.

In this article I have gathered together all the best guide books for UK travel including those for specific nations (England – Scotland – Wales – Ireland), as well as popular cities and regions.

UK map under a magnifying glass as seen in many UK Travel Books.

Tips for choosing the best UK travel guidebook for your trip

What are the characteristics of the main guide books available?

Guide books are not all the same and you can find a wide variation of styles written for travellers with different interests and budgets.

For example do you prefer a guide book with lots of photos, one that is more text heavy, one that covers the main sites or perhaps one that includes off the beaten track destinations?

Rick Steves Guidebooks

Rick Steves provides an excellent introduction to the main sights (which he rates in order of importance for visitors though I don’t always agree with his choices!) plus his books offer sound practical advice.

Written for a US based audience his popularity has led to many of the places (hotels and restaurants) he recommends often becoming overbooked.

If you want more detailed information for specific areas or are looking for hidden gems or off the beaten track destinations one of the other guide books may be a better option (or used to supplement Rick’s guides)

Quick picks – Top 3 Rick Steve Guide Books for the UK

  1. Great BritainRick Steves Great Britain
  2. LondonRick Steves Pocket London
  3. EdinburghRick Steves Snapshot Edinburgh

Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet are the biggest publisher of guide books in the world. The have a good range of guide books for the UK which provide detailed information for all travel budgets.

I find their smaller pocket guide books particularly useful. The Lonely Planet Pocket Guide to London covers all the main sights with practical information and tips. As the name suggests it also fits into your pocket or bag for easy reference when out and about.

Quick picks – Top 3 Lonely Planet Guide Books for the UK

  1. London Pocket Guide to London
  2. Main sightsLonely Planet Best of Great Britain 
  3. Road Trips36 road trips around Great Britain

Rough Guides

Rough Guides offer practical advice supplemented with beautiful photographs and useful maps.

They have produced some excellent guides to specific regions and areas of the UK written by those with a detailed local knowledge.

Quick picks – Top 3 Rough Guide Books for the UK

  1. Rough Guide to the Lake District
  2. Rough Guide to Yorkshire
  3. Rough Guide to Dorset

DK Eyewitness

With beautiful photographs, maps and hand drawn illustrations the DK Eyewitness travel guides are my personal favourite. They are easy to use providing detailed and practical information about destinations.

The DK ‘Top 10″ series of guide books are excellent offering information in a concise, visual and user friendly way (and are small, light ad easy to carry around)

Quick picks – Top 3 DK Guide Books for the UK

  1. LondonTop 10 London
  2. LondonFamily Guide to London
  3. Great Britain – DK Guide to Great Britain

Fodor’s Essential

Written by locals Fodor’s travel books have been around for over 80 years. They include detailed maps, itineraries and travel recommendations for all tastes and budgets.

Which regions of the UK do you need a guidebook for?

As you will discover below there is a wide selection of guidebooks for UK travel. Some are pretty straightforward as they cover one nation, city or area of the UK such as

However there are also guidebooks which cover Great Britain. This means that they will include travel information for England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland will not be included in these guidebooks as it is not geographically part of Great Britain.

Other things to consider

  • Check the date of publication – Buy the most up to date version to ensure access to current information.
  • Check that the book covers the areas you plan to visit – especially when purchasing for the UK!
  • If you are planning to take a guide book with you consider the weight and size! I often purchase a larger more detailed guide book to help with planning but pack a pocket size guide book for the trip. Many of the books are also available to purchase to download onto your Kindle or other e reader device.
  • If you plan to take a map you may find that some guide books have a pullout map included.

Best UK Maps

UK scratch off map
UK map with Ireland
UK map

Click links for prices – Marco Polo Map | Lonely Planet Planning Map | UK Scratch Map

Best Guide Books for London 2024 and beyond

DK Family Guide to London
DK Eyewitness London
Frommer’s London
Thrifty London
Fodor’s London
Rough Guide to London
Not for Tourists London
Fodors London

Click links for prices: Fodor’s London Guide | Not For Tourists London | Rough Guide to London | Fodor’s 25 best London Guide | Eyewitness London | Frommers London | Thrifty Traveler’s London | DK Family Guide to London

Best London Maps

A map of London is essential and I always carry one with me (and I have lived in the capital and visited many times!)

London Underground Map
Laminated London Underground map
Knoff Map of London
Streetsmart London Map
Lonely Planet London Map
Streetwise Map London
Map London

Click links for prices – Streetwise London | Lonely Planet London City Map | Street Smart London | Knopf Mapguides London | Streetwise London Underground Map | London Bus & Underground PopOut Map

Best Travel Guide books for Great Britain

Note that these guide books cover England, Scotland and Wales only.

DK Great Britain
Lonely Planet best of GB
Lonely Planet Britain drives
Great Britain Road Trips
Lonely Planet Great Britain
Fodors Great Britain Guide

Click links for pricesBack Roads Great Britain | Lonely Planet Great Britain | Lonely Planet Great Britain’s Best Road Trips | Fodor’s Essential Great Britain | Lonely Planet Best of Great Britain | DK Eyewitness Great Britain

Best Travel Guide books for England

There is a good range of guide books for England including those which are more area or city specific which may be useful if you are planning to spend some time in a specific area e.g the Cotswolds, the Lake District etc

England Guide Book
Lake District Guide Book
Rough Guide England
Rough Guide Devon and Cornwall
Cotswolds Guide
Lonely Planet England
Fodor’s Essential England

Click links for prices – Lonely Planet England | Rough Guide to England | Fodor’s Essential England | Rough Guide to The Cotswolds | Rough Guide to Devon and Cornwall | Rough Guide to the Lake District

Best Travel Guide Books for Scotland

DK Scotland
Rough Guide Scotland (general)
Rough Guide Scotland
Lonely Planet Scotland
DK Scotland
Fodor’s Essential Scotland

Click links for prices – Rough Guide to Scotland | Rough Guide to the Scottish Highlands and Islands | Lonely Planet Scotland | Fodor’s Essential Scotland | Rick Steves Edinburgh | DK Eyewitness Scotland

Best Guide Books for Wales

Walks Wales
Wild Wales
Rough Guide to Wales
Wales Travel Guide Lonely Planet

Click links for prices – Rough Guide to Wales | Lonely Planet Wales | Wild Guide to Wales | Wales Coast Path Walks – Isle of Anglesey

Best Guide Books – Ireland

Backroads Ireland
Everything guide to Ireland
Fodor’s Ireland

Click links for prices – Fodor’s Essential Ireland | Everything travel guide to Ireland | Back Roads Ireland

UK Guide Books – Historical Interest

Jane Austen England
Historical England
Wales castles
Castles, palaces and stately homes

Click links for prices – Jane Austen’s England | The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England | Wales Castles and Historic Places | Castles, Palaces and Stately Homes of Great Britain

UK trip planning

This guide to the best UK guidebooks will have provided you with the best options for your trip. As you have seen there are a lot of UK guidebooks to choose from but we are confident you will find the right ones for you and your itinerary.

If you enjoy reading about a destination before you go or simply want some reading inspiration my best books to read about England or best books to read about Scotland are a great place to start.

You can find more information to help you to plan your UK trip in these articles:

London Travel Guide & Itinerary Planner (+ 4 bonus ebooks)

London Travel Guide and itinerary planner.