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Book Review : Lonely Planet – London (Lonely Planet Publications)

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It does seem somewhat paradoxical that the sales of travel books and guides are in decline despite world travel increasing substantially in the last decade. However, in the last 40 years since Tony and Maureen Wheeler wrote their first Lonely Planet Guide, the travel business has changed beyond all recognition. Part of that change has been technological with information freely available online and having the ability to arrange many of the elements of your trip before you set off. Another important change is the world is far more fast-moving and many written guides cannot keep up with the latest developments. Lonely Planet is not the only travel guide publisher that is moving away from being just a traditional book publisher into a multi-platform brand. Even a Lonely Planet of a decade ago would have been mostly text-based with the odd series of photographs. The latest 2016 edition of Lonely Planet London has a far more snappier style with more photographs and a more colourful format.

The guide is split into four main sections. There is ‘Plan Your Trip, ‘Explore London’, ‘Understand London’ and finally the ‘Survival Guide’.

‘Plan Your Trip’ deals with many of the practicalities of your trip including sections on Getting Around, Need to Know and First Time London. To give the visitor some ideas there are a useful list of things to do in sections which include London’s Top 16, Top Itineraries, With Kids and If You Like. A month by month guide to London main events is also added before a subsection that provides specific advice and suggestions for Museums & Galleries, Eating, Drinking & Nightlife, Entertainment, Shopping, Sports & Activities and Gay and Lesbian.

The comprehensive Plan Your Trip section illustrates one of the best features of Lonely Planet Guide which is to give most of the relevant information that you need without bombarding the reader with too much information. If you are a traveller on a limited stay, there is enough information to get a reasonable snapshot of what is available with some insights into London social and cultural scene.

The next section, ‘Explore London’, divides London into neighbourhoods and gives overall account of each neighbourhoods particular character, places to visit and provides eating and drinking suggestions. The areas are interesting because I suspect if we were looking at a guide even ten years ago  it would have included  the West End , the City, the South Bank, Kensington & Hyde Park, Notting Hill & West London, Richmond, Kew and Hampton Court and Greenwich , but Clerkenwell, Shoreditch & Spitalfields, East London, Camden & North London sections would have been very short or non-existent., The rise of East London especially based around the 2012 Olympics is one of the major stories of London’s most recent past.

For those who like to learn more about London , ‘Understand London’ offers some insights into present day London, History, Architecture, Literature, Theatre & Dance, Art & Fashion, The Music Scene and Film & Media. This section is important to understand the trends and fashions of a fast-moving modern London which is in the middle of a building boom that is changing the city skyline and attracting investors from all over the world. The huge rise of the population in which a third of Londoners are now born overseas has led to many to argue that London is not just the capital of England but is the capital of Europe.

Finally we have the famous ‘Survival Guides’ section which gives you all that local information you need to make your stay as hassle free as possible.

For all the advantages of getting information online, a decent guidebook is still a great way to find your way around a new city. Lonely Planet London follows the well-known Lonely Planet format with  a great selection of maps , photos and nuggets of  information.  It is  a well written , knowledgeable and informative guide-book  that follows a long  tradition of  Lonely Planet guidebooks being written by local writers who want to share their love for their city but have the honesty to mention many of the positives and some of the negative sides of London life.

For more information or to buy a copy of the book, visit the Lonely Planet website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Book Review : Discover London by Lonely Planet

lonely planet

It may be over 40 years since Tony and Maureen Wheeler wrote their first Lonely Planet Guide , but the brand shows little sign of relinquishing its top spot as the Number One Travel Guides. However recent changes at the company have suggested a move away  from a traditional book publisher to a multi-platform brand.

What ever the future is for Lonely Planet, one of their recent publications, Discover London perhaps shows signs of  a snappier style with more photographs and more colourful format.

The first part of the guide is a quick introduction followed  by  London Highlights section which include all the usual attractions but also some less well known  like the Royal Court Theatre or the 606 club.

Once the highlights are completed , there comes advice on what is the best ways to see them with a series of itinerary  suggestions called Top days in London.

A month by month guide to London main events is followed by What’s New , Get Inspired and Need to Know.

The next section divides London into areas and offer a comprehensive account of each area related to its particular character, places to visit and decent eating and drinking places. One of the best features  of Lonely Planet guides is that they generally provide the information that most people are looking for and don’t get bogged down in information which might be interesting but is unnecessary for the traveller on a limited stay.

The areas are interesting because I suspect if we were looking at a guide even ten years ago  it would have included  the West End ,the City, the South Bank, Kensington, Hyde Park, Hampstead, North London and Greenwich ,  but Clerkenwell, Hoxton, Spitalfields, the East End and Docklands sections would have been very short or non existent., The rise of East London especially based around the 2012 Olympics is one of the major stories of London’s recent past.

It is some of these recent developments in London  that get discussed generally within the In Focus section with regards to Architecture, Literature, The Arts, Shopping, Food and Drink amongst others. This section is important to consider the trends and fashions of a fast moving London but which are usually paying homage to London’s past.

Finally we have the famous Survival Guides section which gives you all that local information you need to make your stay as hassle free as possible.

In a fast moving city it is increasingly difficult for guide books to be up to date on certain aspects , therefore listings of Hotels, restaurants and clubs are far shorter than perhaps they once would have been, but this is probably one area that online information will win out over guide books.

Tony Wheeler when he was co creating Lonely Planet believed a great guidebook  should do three things: inform, educate and amuse.

Discover London follows that noble Lonely Planet tradition with  a great selection of maps ,photos and nuggets of  information.  It is  a well written , knowledgeable and informative guide book  that follows a long  tradition of  Lonely Planet guidebooks being written by local writers who want to share their love for their city but have the honesty to mention some of the negative sides of London life.

 Visiting London Guide – Highly Recommended

 For more informati0n and to buy a copy of the book, visit the Lonely Planet website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.

We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here