Top critical review
26 people found this helpful
Back Roads? Not quite
on 22 May 2010
I love DK Eyewitness Guides, they are pretty much the only guides I buy and are in my opinion by far the best guides you can get. Since touring in a car is my preferred style of holiday, I had pretty high expectations for Back Roads Great Britain.
Obviously I haven't had time to visit all the places in the guide but reading the routes of some of the areas that I know well (Eg the Cotswolds) was enough to highlight the good and bad.
What I want from a driving guide like this is to be shown some of the 'off the beaten track' hidden gems that exist in rural Britain. Unfortunately what you get are the larger, more well known towns that most guide books would already have.
For example, on the Cotswold drive you go through the very popular town of Bourton-on-the-Water, well worth going to and not to be missed. However a stones throw from here are the tiny and beautiful villages of Upper and Lower Slaughter, Upper and Lower Swell & Naunton etc, they are on the back roads of Britain and sadly missed off the route. Instead 50% of that particular drive is on the A429, not quite a back road.
This guide can be bought with or without a pull-out map. I bought the one with the map included as I thought it would be helpful to see the routes plotted on a larger map. A waste of money, it is just a map of Britain with A roads and motorways, so if you already have a map or GPS it is not needed.
Another slight negative is the information on larger towns and cities. If you're used to the excellent 3D illustrations of Cathedrals and Historic buildings that other DK guides include, then the information in here may disappoint. For example there is just one paragraph on the city of Salisbury and its splendid cathedral. What I'm trying to say is that this book does not replace the need to have a more detailed place by place guide book.
On the positives, my wife loves that the market days are listed out for each route, there are many walking guides for some of the bigger places visited and there are day trip options given for further exploration.
The places the routes do go to are all worth going to and not to missed, I just wish the book had given more of what the title promised - back roads, not A roads. Yes there is plenty of B road driving, but if you only follow the routes in the book I am sure there are places worth visiting that will be missed.