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guidebook recommendation

Illinois
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guidebook recommendation

I am just starting research for a first trip to London in September with my husband. We are in our 50's and are most interested in the culture and history of great cities we visit ( art, architecture, museums). And of course, food (not refined artwork on a plate, but good and interesting local food.). Besides exploring museums, cathedrals, and all, we love walking endlessly and exploring old streets, etc. As a starting point, I need to get a guidebook or two, and am wondering if any of you kind folks on this forum could recommend your favorite practical guide to the city. I am particularly interested in getting a feel for what neighborhoods might be the most interesting to wander, as well as what sites to see, hotels to stay in, etc.

I have just started browsing this forum, and I can see that it seems to be a very amiable and helpful family of London lovers. I thank you in advance for what will likely be the just the first of many inquiries.

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: guidebook recommendation

I like the Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness Guides because they have a great many colour photographs - very nice indeed.

The City is an under-visited part of London, with much of interest in terms of history, architecture and the juxtapostion of old v new. The Museum of London is a wonderful small museum as is the Museum at Docklands - and both are easy to reach by bus and DLR (respectively).

Will your visit to London be part of a longer holiday in other parts of the UK or will you travel from London to another city in Europe, by rail perhaps? With respect to hotels, are you looking for a full service hotel, a more modest type of accommodation or perhaps a bit of bed and breakfast in central London?

Boston...
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2. Re: guidebook recommendation

Just wanted to say that I can second TP's excellent recommendation for the Eyewitness London Guide-I just purchased it, and love the way it is set up and the photographs. I found that the copy I got is a bit heavy..the only drawback if you want to take it with you and are trying to watch the baggage weight. Still a terrific guide to digest whether it travels with you or not.

UK
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3. Re: guidebook recommendation

Third vote for Eyewitness.

Hitchin, United...
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4. Re: guidebook recommendation

Also consider Rough guide. They have less photos and diagrams of tourist sights, but more detail on the actual mechanics of the city, transport, where to eat and drink, public services... probably better for the longer visit.

Lytham St Anne's...
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5. Re: guidebook recommendation

Must agree with everyone here.

The Eyewitness Guide is excellent to read at home but the Rough Guide is the one to take as it may not have the pretty pictures but has more detail and is much lighter.

Enjoy London.

Graham.

London, England
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6. Re: guidebook recommendation

If weight is an issue, the Rough Guide to London (and a number of others) are available on Kindle. You sacrifice pictures, but lose (as it were) in weight. You can carry a whole range of guidebooks as well as your books to read on the plane (and whenever) and, if you want, your local, or a London newspaper) You can also load books of particular London interest. For example, Samuel Pepys Diary is available on Kindle for free.

I have used the Kindle version of Lonely planet guides for Spain, Italy and Japan and found them easy to navigate when I am out walking around. Only the maps are unhelpful as the print is too small.

You could buy a copy of the Eyewitness book for planning purposes and then one of the other guides to carry around on the Kindle.

(I don't work for Amazon, I am just so thrilled to find a way to carry a library around and with not having to lug a heavy guide around (or tear one up) that I can't help sharing the excitement).

Bath UK
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7. Re: guidebook recommendation

Taking a quick look around my bookshelves, we have a lot of Michelin Green Guides. Each has a good overview of the history of the country/region and suggests which sights to see (using a star rating system).

There is quite a bit more detail on architecture etc. that Lonely Planet/Eyewitness/Rough Guides..

A much thinner series of guidebooks from the same stable are the Michelin "Must-sees" guides. It is a similar idea but they categorise the attractions into chapters (e.g. Landmarks, Museums, Shopping, For Kids etc.) The "London Must Sees" guide was published 1 February (just checked that famous online bookseller).

I used them extensively in Las Vegas and New York - a good mix of photos, maps and descriptions (it even made travelling by NY subway easy).

I often find it helpful to judge a series of guidebooks by what they say about my home town/somewhere I holiday frequently.

Italy
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8. Re: guidebook recommendation

When we travel we always use both the Lonely Planet and the Eywwitness guides. We usually buy them new on ebay as you can get them cheaper.

Houston, TX
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9. Re: guidebook recommendation

Be careful with guidebooks on Kindle. Some of them are not indexed, so if you want to read about a specific place the best you can do is find the chapter that would contain that info and skim every page till you find what you need. Not a big deal, but it pays to check on that in advance of buying.

Perhaps you should visit a bookstore and check out the guidebooks they have there to see how they are organized, how in depth the info is, and general style of the book. Some books have a particular "style" which may or may not be appropriate for you--Rough Guides and Lonely Planet differ markedly IMHO from books published by DK, Frommer's, and Fodor's to name a few other popular ones.

Hayti, Missouri
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10. Re: guidebook recommendation

Another vote for Eyewitness Guide, but do not purchase for an e-reader. I made the mistake of doing that and the maps and charts are virtually illegible. They haven't quite figured out how to do travel guides for e-readers yet so you're better off buying the physical copy of the book.