LONDON -- A slew of books about travel to England, Ireland, and Scotland can help in planning every aspect of a trip to the region -- from traveling with children to shopping to woodland strolls.
"The Rough Guide to Walks in London & Southeast England," by Judith Bamber and Helena Smith (Rough Guides, $13.95), outlines green places to stroll in the London region (parks, gardens, and along canals, rivers, and railroad tracks), as well as day trips using public transportation. Destinations include the Eden Valley, the Saxon Shore, Cambridge, and Stonehenge. Each walk includes a map, route details, history, and recommended dining spots.
The book bills itself as the perfect guide if "you're looking to get your boots muddy but don't ever want to be too far from a pub."
"Take the Kids: Ireland," by Amy Corzine (Cadogan Guides, $18.95) can help travelers find child-friendly accommodations and eateries. Attractions include tours of Dublin in World War II amphibious vehicles known as Ducks (similar to the Boston variety) that drop into the Grand Canal Basin after a land tour; the Clara-Lara Fun Park in County Wicklow; the Dunmore Cave in Kilkenny; and the Galway Children's Theatre in Salthill. "A story to tell" is provided on every page, relating Irish folklore and fairy tales about various sites.
"The London Shopping Companion" by Nicki Pendleton Wood (Cumberland House, $12.95) lists locations and prices for shopping trips, along with maps, where to stay and eat, listings for one-of-a-kind collectibles, and tips on local transportation and payment options. The book lists not just clothing stores but everything from the London Dolls House Company to Spink, a 350-year-old purveyor of stamps, coins, and medals, to James Smith & Sons, an emporium for walking sticks and umbrellas.
"The Edinburgh Visitor Guide" (Oyster Press, $12.95) is packed with colorful photographs (by Colin Baxter), history, and practical information for planning a trip to Scotland's capital city. The book includes listings for pubs, restaurants, museums, shops, and historic sites such as Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, as well as nearby attractions outside the city such as Linlithgow Palace and the Scottish Seabird Centre.
"England," by Guy Macdonald (Cadogan Guides, $22.95), is a fat, comprehensive manual that offers themed itineraries, maps, a list of the country's top 60 attractions, and recommendations for hundreds of places to stay and eat. Listings offer both history and practical information, from Thomas Hardy's birthplace cottage in Thorncombe Wood to the picturesque Lake District to the sites of royal London.