Britain is just getting better and better
- 26 March 2003
According to Lonely Planet, Britain is just getting better and better; the food is getting tastier, the cities more attractive, and the rich cultural heritage more accessible.
Lonely Planet’s new edition of Britain describes the island mass as ‘simply one of the most beautiful islands on earth’. From the bars and clubs of Soho to the lochs and glens of the Highlands, it’s also a land of proud contrasts. And it’s not just for foreign tourists.
‘In the space of a few hours you can immerse yourself in history at ancient castles or stone circles, marvel at majestic cathedrals, eat in world-class restaurants or friendly local cafés, down a pint in a traditional pub, stroll through ‘chocolate box’ villages, hike over wild moors, or dance all night in an ultra-trendy club. And all in a country that takes about 12 hours to drive end-to-end,’ David Else, author of Lonely Planet Britain said.
The fifth edition has in-depth coverage of Britain’s cultural attractions and heritage, enough outdoor activities to impress any nature lover; and accommodation options to suit every taste, from rural retreats to boutique chic. The guide also has over 150 detailed maps.
‘While there will always be things to whinge about, licensing hours, transport and high costs for example, foreign tourists and Brits alike should get off the beaten track to discover the full scope of what Britain has to offer; newly rejuvenated cities, beautiful countryside and magnificent coastlines, ‘ Else said.
The guide sings the praises of many British cities;
- Cardiff, the first city of Wales, is now very trendy and ‘on a high.’ (p719)
- Glasgow has soul with ‘a unique blend of friendliness and warmth, urban chaos, black humour and energy.’ (p857)
- ‘In size and vivacity, Bristol is unmatched in south-western England … an artistic incubator that’s spawned musical trendsetters.’ (p342)
- Manchester has reinvented itself as one of the most exciting cities in Britain with top-class museums and nightlife. (p632)
- And yes even Birmingham is ‘radiant’, with its cutting edge developments. (p475)
- London continues to be ‘jaw-droppingly expensive’ but it’s no surprise given it’s a ‘city the world revolves around… exhilarating, irrepressible, intimidating and brimming with spectacle and possibilities.’ (p174)
There’s a new section on ‘Bizarre Britain’ (page 70-78) with a host of festivals and events, some dating from pagan, medieval or Victorian times. The weird and wonderful includes: the World Toe Wrestling Championship in Wetton, Derbyshire; sheep racing on the Channel Islands; the Obby Oss, Padstow’s fertility rite; the world bog snorkelling championships in Llantwrtyd, Wales; Baal Fire, a procession of flaming whiskey barrels through Allendale, Northumberland; and Up Helly Aa which involves burning a replica Viking longship on the Shetland Islands.
Britain is also ‘activity central’ according to the new guide. A dedicated section on activities includes walking, cycling, rock climbing, canoeing, golf, swimming, fishing, horse riding, skiing, sailing, and canal travel.
‘This guide was written for tourists and Brits – it’s a must-have in any suitcase and on any self-respecting British bookshelf,’ author David Else said.
The guide is over 1000 pages in length and retails at £15.99.