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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An introduction to the British - country and quirks
GREAT BRITAIN - Rough Guide 2012

It is not so long ago that the Rough Guide travel series mainly covered off beat locations for the backpackers/budget traveller, with details of budget accommodation and eateries. There were often historical and geographical reviews of the areas. Maps were in glorious monochrome and pictures of the locations were rare or non...
Published on 26 July 2012 by Doccox

versus
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wide-ranging guide to Britain
This 1,005 guide to Britain is certainly crammed full of information. Unlike early Rough Guides it's printed on high-quality paper and is in full colour. It's not a book you're going to want to wander around with though. The paper is light weight but this is still a hefty book.

As a result of its geographical spread, and contextualisation of not just the...
Published on 2 Aug. 2012 by Dr. Paul Ell


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wide-ranging guide to Britain, 2 Aug. 2012
By 
Dr. Paul Ell (NI, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to Britain (Paperback)
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This 1,005 guide to Britain is certainly crammed full of information. Unlike early Rough Guides it's printed on high-quality paper and is in full colour. It's not a book you're going to want to wander around with though. The paper is light weight but this is still a hefty book.

As a result of its geographical spread, and contextualisation of not just the development of Britain, but the constituent parts - England, Wales, and Scotland (the Isle of Man makes it in but the Channel Islands don't) - and with `practical' information as well, there's not a great deal of detail. The West Midlands and Peak District combined into one section, gets fewer than 40 pages in total for example. This forms one of 25 regional sections, together with the separate practical and contextual sections. I'm not sure that sufficient detail is provided for visitors visiting even specific regions or major cities.

So is the book more of a taster to potential tourists not familiar with GB deciding where to visit? In some ways yes, as Rough Guides publish separate guides for England, Wales, and Scotland, and regional guides as well - on Devon and Cornwall, London, the Cotswolds etc. Arguably the GB guide would be used to select places to visit, referring then to a more detailed, and portable regional or country guide. But then again, the British guide also includes detailed maps of town and city centres, although not a lot of text recommending particular sights to visit, or indeed places to eat in or stay at - the latter seems especially haphazard at best with typically a good hotel, midrange accommodation and a hostel typically listed for towns included. So, the guide will be of limited use to give any detail to a place visited, but at least it'll be possible for a reader to find their way around...

Overall I think the guide fails to serve any readership particularly well. It's not a general work introducing the history and culture of Britain, it offers only limited information on particular places, and if used as a sole guide to GB a rather limited view of the country would result. It also suffers from two fundamental problems with paper guide books. It's too heavy and bulky to carry about, and although published only a couple of months ago it's already out of date. For instance it outlines the services of the (soon to be late) airline bmi baby which closes in September 2012. I wonder, therefore, if a better medium for guide books is as an e-publication produced for a colour tablet or mobile phone. I suspect this is going beyond the major concerns of potential purchasers of this book however. My advice would be to buy a more detailed regional guide if you know where you wish to visit, if you don't this guide will give you lots of ideas, but you'll need to buy an additional detailed guide book as well, which might be one of the excellent Rough Guide regional publications.

Overall, three stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An introduction to the British - country and quirks, 26 July 2012
By 
Doccox "ian_cox9" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to Britain (Paperback)
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GREAT BRITAIN - Rough Guide 2012

It is not so long ago that the Rough Guide travel series mainly covered off beat locations for the backpackers/budget traveller, with details of budget accommodation and eateries. There were often historical and geographical reviews of the areas. Maps were in glorious monochrome and pictures of the locations were rare or non existent.
In the last 2-3 years all travel guides appear to have undergone a radical rethink with the use of colour pictures. With the limited times available for vacationers of ALL ages (particularly from the US) there is more focus on itineraries and activities for all ages and "must see" areas.
At last the Rough Guide series has come of age with a full colour guide , not so detailed , now focussing on 25 specific areas ( in ca 1005 pages) with key highlights , possible itineraries , travel options , local festivals ,history ( ancient and modern)0 , culture and cuisine , as well as the traditional accommodation suggestions.
There are also individual guides on specific areas so this remains an overview. With the advent of the Internet, much of the additional detail is on the Rough Guide website.
I found this guide good as a country overview to select possible areas to visit but more detailed guides (or an internet review) would be required for specific areas.
For a GB resident there are probably too many areas not covered ( or covered in brief) but for anyone from outside the country this remains an excellent introduction to Great Britain , its countryside and it culture
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good rough guide, but lacks details in several areas, 21 Sept. 2012
By 
Steven Brown (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to Britain (Paperback)
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This hefty tome covers the whole of Britain, but does that provide enough detail on the country?

I had hoped to use the guide as more of my holidays are now in the UK, as with children it's a lot easier to avoid flights and all the hassle that goes with a holiday abroad.

However, was a bit disappointed in the lakes section. Had never been to the area before, and was relying on the book to guide me. Unfortunately it's very superficial for the area I was staying in. We ended up doing lots of great things that were recommended to us by other people, but didn't rate a mention (even if it was just a dot on the map!) in the book.

Having looked at the book in more detail after this holiday, my general feeling on it seems to be that it's excellent for cities - covers off city centres and must see attractions in all the major towns in the UK - which I would imagine is what any foreign visitor to the UK is most interested in. For areas outside the cities, it's a bit patchy, so if you're a Brit who wants to use it for stay at home holidays (refuse to use the hideous "staycation" term!), then you might might want to get something a bit more targeted at the area you're going to.

in summary, I'm giving it 4 stars as it does an admirable job of containing information about the whole of Britain - just be aware of its limitations before you buy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Basic tourist guide, 27 July 2012
By 
Book fiend "Enthusiast" (Petersfield, Hampshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to Britain (Paperback)
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It is probably unfair of me to give this only three stars - a huge amount of work and research has gone into compiling a guide to the whole of Britain that comes in a reasonable sized book. An almost impossible task really as Britain has so much that could not possibly be condensed into one volume. For the average resident of our islands this might prove mildly unsatisfactory as there is so much that is inevitably not in this guide. however, for a tourist on a first visit or for someone who is taking a first look at an unfamiliar part of the UK, it serves as an excellent introduction to the possibilities and attractions and a fair idea of how much it would be possible to cover in a week or a day or two. It is a good introduction and has some very useful background stuff but it only skates the surface of any given area and any visitor would be wise to have a more detailed supplementary guide to accompany this. Nevertheless, it would be better than nothing and if you only wanted to take one book then you'd manage, just, with this guide.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview of Britain, 20 Sept. 2012
By 
Ian Shine (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to Britain (Paperback)
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I've been a Rough Guide fan for many years now, and this slightly new-look guide has lost none of the assets of the old-look guides, but merely tweaked them to make the guides easier to use. The most noticeable difference is that the old regional tabs on the page edges have been enlarged and given different colours, making it easier to flick between sections. There are also a few more colour photographs than previously, and the maps are slightly easier to read, with bigger and clearer symbols.
There is still the opening "Things not to miss" section - in this case consisting of 32 recommendations.
The 25 chapters of this book over almost 1,000 pages cover all the basics across Britain, and act as more of a starting point for exploring than as an exhaustive guide. I used this book during a holiday in Shropshire, which is one of six counties roped into the "West Midlands and Peak District" section. Obviously, this means everything cannot be covered in minute detail, but most things seem to get covered, even if they only get half a page - but then, to answer a few bad reviewers of this book, who wants to read four or five pages of rather bland guide book prose about a place, when the main purpose of a guide book is to give you the basics, tell you how to get there and do the exploring for yourself? This book certainly gets you to places and points you in the right directions - the Ludlow coverage is brief, but very effective.
One problem with a book covering such a large area is that the book itself is rather large - as already mentioned, it hits 1,000 pages. Consequently, it's not the kind of thing you want to lug around in your bag all day, and I suppose it serves better as something to leave at your accommodation and use for research/inspiration on the night before your trips.
One criticism would be that London gets around 80 pages - the same as the whole of Wales - only encouraging the country's already capital-centric culture and tourism, but then I suppose there is a lot of ground to cover, and getting it down to 80 pages was probably a fairly tricky task. Still, I think it could have done a better job of picking out a few more "off the beaten track" places outside of central London.
But all in all, you'll be hard pushed to find a better guide to Britain than this.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty and interesting book - an overview of the whole of Britain, but not really a in-depth guide to anywhere, 18 Sept. 2012
By 
K. Z. Sobol (Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to Britain (Paperback)
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This is a lovely looking guidebook, with plenty of lovely colour pictures and maps and contains much of the recognised Rough Guide style - aimed at the young or the young at heart, with key sights to see, travel information and other information such as a few suggestions of places to stay, eat, drink or go out at night, although these are anything but exhaustive.

This book is a great guide for those from overseas or those who have no limits to the time over which they can travel and the distances they can cover. At the beginning of the guide, there are 3 themed suggestions for cross-British itineraries, each of which would take a couple of weeks to accomplish and which dart from one area of the country to another. These are the Heritage tour, the Literary Trail and the Foodie Odyssey (the last of these takes you from the very North-East of Scotland to Padstow in Cornwall, via Birmingham, Abergavenny, the Cotswolds, London and Kent!)
The Basics section is also clearly for those less familiar with Britain and would I am sure prove very useful for an overseas tourist.

The introduction is a very pleasant read, with little snippets of information and a brief overview of each country. It also includes a short section entitled "Things not to miss" - listing 32 places, cross-referenced to the appropriate page and section of the book, as the highlights of Britain - many of which I have yet to see myself, but have added to my wishlist of places to visit.

I like the style and the information given in each section, despite its brevity and I think that this will be a useful starting point when thinking of initial ideas for travel, or as a source of additional ideas for a trip already planned. However, I think most people would find that the information on a single area would be somewhat lacking for an entire visit - again suiting the foreign traveller - flitting from one place to the next rather better than a British tourist wanting to discover one area of the country in more detail.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Informative, explicit and accessible. A very handy guide. If a bit fat., 23 Aug. 2012
By 
Pallus (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to Britain (Paperback)
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This book is a bit bulky, so not the most portable but then it does cover the whole GB.

Having recently reviewed Frommer's London 2012 (Frommer's Complete Guides) I thought I'd delve into the London section for comparison.

Some of the best things about London, namely Fish & Chips and Street Markets get a much better mention in The Rough Guide's small London section than they do in Frommer's whole book dedicated to London!

Also, I know an AMAZING city eatery which is totally hidden from public view. Unbelievably (and even a bit worryingly) it is featured here and awarded a special star. Eek! My secret's out!

The Frommer job also (curiously) included day trip destinations such as Stonehenge but without mention of the superior (imho) nearby Avebury Stones. Rough Guide are spot-on here, too, as their Dorset & Wiltshire section not only mentions but thoroughly recommends Avebury over The 'Henge. Get in!

Looking further afield, I though I'd look up Tongue in Scotland and there it was, with a little write-up plus details of available lodgings!

The book is superbly easy to navigate: inside the cover there's a map of Britain divided up into areas with corresponding colours and section numbers. The relevant colours are shown on tabs at the edge of the pages so are very easy to flick to. Plus, each section starts with a fairly good map of the relevant area.

Plus, there is lots of useful general advice about our island. Like lists of all the National Parks, web links to street markets and a guide to BEER! Essential stuff!

I thoroughly recommend this guide, despite its featuring "Shopping at Liberty's" as a top-ten London attraction. I suppose everyone should be allowed their quirks.

[My Ref: Rough GB Guide bigs up Avebury Stones & Tongue Aug 2012]
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3.0 out of 5 stars A lot to cover, 12 Aug. 2012
By 
Chappers "chappers" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to Britain (Paperback)
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I don't know what I was expecting from this book. Perhaps to uncover some unknown gems in my own little part of the world. I didn't really get it though.

I naturally turn to my home county when looking at a book that claims to offer "full coverage", yet in spite of this claim, only the predictable dregs of my region seem to have made it in, plus the inevitable poster-child county capital. None of the geographical unique-ness or county-wide historical developments. Maybe this is not the right book for that. But then it's synopsis right here on amazon suggests that it offers "unmissable alternatives to the usual must-see sights". Maybe I missed something?

What this book does seem to be for, is in promoting particular hotels and eateries in the said locations. There's not a bad word to say about any of the establishments mentioned, so to me, it reads more like a directory of tourist stop-offs and watering-holes with a couple of paragraphs about one or two of the local towns thrown in for good measure.

At the princely sum of £17.99 as printed on the book itself, I think that's a bit steep, considering it's slightly lacklustre offering. Maybe I'm being a bit overly critical (fuelled by the price I suspect), maybe the book tries to do too much. This country does have such a lot to offer, I don't think one small (but thick) paperback was ever going to stand a chance at doing it justice.

3 stars because of the price, would be 4 stars if it were priced more realistically.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Guide to Britain, 29 July 2012
By 
Brian R. Martin (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to Britain (Paperback)
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The `Rough Guide to Britain' is one of the popular series of Rough Guides that are rivals to other long-established guides. It may be useful to compare it to perhaps the most well known of the latter, the Michelin Green Guide to Great Britain. Both open with a section on basic facts about `travelling around', accommodation, the currency, what weather to expect etc. But the Michelin also has an overview of the history and culture of the country, which I think foreign tourist in particular would find very informative. Both guides of course have descriptions of places of interest. In the case of the Green Guide, these are classified using their well-known star system, which can be very useful if you are short of time. The Rough Guide does not do this, but on the other hand it divides up the country by regions, East Anglia, London etc., which is probably a more convenient way of navigating around the book than just a list of towns/places of interest as used by the Michelin. Both have a very limited list of places to stay and where to eat, and I doubt if either is adequate in practice. Tourists would do better to rely on local guides. As for size, the Rough Guide is about 1000 pages long, compared to about 500 pages for the Green Guide. The latter is therefore more convenient to carry around when visiting a site. Both books have good features, but I marginally prefer the Green Guide. To cover all of Britain in a single volume is very ambitious and inevitably there will be places of interest that any individual will think should have been included (or left out), and the same is true of places to eat and to stay.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very good and useful Guide Book, 24 July 2012
By 
P. Sharpe - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to Britain (Paperback)
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If you are familiar with the Rough Guide books then you will know what to expect.

The book itself is a good size, thick and full on information but not too big so that it becomes unportable. Its probably about the size of two normal sized paperback books and has around 900 pages.

It contains an overview of the countries, a top 30 things to see, useful travel info etc, then a more detailed look into the country, by area (ie London, East Midlands, South Wales, Scottish Highlands etc - area area has a colour code on the edge of the page so the section is located very quickly).

Each area has a top 10 things to see and some pictures and map(s) of the area at the start. It then goes on to look at the area in further detail giving ideas as to places you might want to visit, with the odd selected picture.

At the start of the book there are 3 itinaries set out, according to what kind of holiday you'd like to experience so if you don't want to have to read the whole book and make big decisions you have suggestions here that you could base your trip on.

As other reviewers have mentioned, because it is "Britain" rather than just England, Scotland or Wales, then the sections are maybe a little shorter and have to omit some other areas of interest or skimp on the details provided.

This is a great overview, however, if you know you only want to search around Scotland for instance, the "Scotland" book might prove to be better value.
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