Lonely Planet Writer

Q&A with David Else, author of the Lonely Planet England guide

Lonely Planet's new England guide has just been released. Here David Else, the lead author on the book, answers some questions about the title and travel in England.

What picture do you paint of England in the new edition of the guide?

We paint a picture of a country that is ideal for visitors: rich in history, full of variety, and easy to get around. In the book we say:

“…travel here is a breeze. Granted, it may not be totally effortless, but it's easy compared with many parts of the world.”


"In this compact country you're never far from the next town, the next pub, the next restaurant, the next national park or the next impressive castle on your hit-list of highlights.”

We also describe a country where visitors are spoilt for choice. When researching the guide, we personally visited a huge number of places to stay and eat, and we list a fantastic selection of the best and best-value hotels, B&Bs, pubs and restaurants across the country.

Some of your comments which have been published in the media suggest a more negative view. Is the guide negative about England?

Overall, we are very positive about England as a nation, and for the sights and attractions that travellers can enjoy. For example, in the book’s introduction we say: “From Hadrian's Wall in the north to Canterbury Cathedral in the south, England’s astounding variety is a major reason to travel here. City streets buzz day and night, with tempting shops and restaurants, and some of the finest museums in the world. After dark, cutting-edge clubs, top-class theatre and formidable live music provide a string of nights to remember. Next day, you’re deep in the English countryside or enjoying a classic seaside resort.”

In a few places we have been critical of aspects of England – as any guidebook should – but overall we are very positive about England.

What struck you most about England while researching the new edition of the guide?

The quality of facilities for tourists keeps on getting better every year, whatever their budget - from boutique city hotels to country B&Bs, from fine food in restaurants to no-frills pub grub.

You’ve got a week in England. Where do you go?

In the book we emphasise England’s compact geography: visitors spend less time travelling between places, and more time IN them. We suggest several itineraries, and a week-long ‘highlights’ trip might take in Stonehenge, Bath, Oxford and York. More off-the-beaten-track ideas for visitors might meander through the West Country or along the east coast from Suffolk to Northumberland.