While we’re all still waiting to get back on the road, this is the perfect time to check out Paul Critcher’s selection of 21 of the most entertaining travel books out there – how many have you read?
THE MOTORHOME LIFESTYLE
Take the Slow Road: England & Wales
Martin Dorey; £20
Martin Dorey is perhaps best known for his TV travelogue around Britain, One Man and his Campervan, and this book reflects his philosophy – it’s all about the journey.
Packed with ideas, advice and routes, this meander through England and Wales is a great way to start planning your trip.
AA The Caravan & Camping Guide 2020
A well-researched bible for campsite aficionados, the AA’s guide has been a stalwart of the UK camping scene for years, and each site listed has been visited by one of the organisation’s expert inspectors.
Nigel Donnelly; £12.99
This practical guide to touring life is authored by Practical Motorhome’s former staffer, so it has an excellent pedigree.
It’s clearly laid out and written with great authority, and makes excellent use of high-quality photography. Chapters range from Money Matters to Laws and Physics, with everything in between.
Caroline Mills; £12.99
Another member of our team, Caroline Mills has been writing for PM for more than a decade.
Here she picks out some of the very best motorhome and caravan sites available across the UK – covering everything from relaxing breaks to adventure holidays.
The Motorhome Touring Handbook
Julie & Jason Buckley; £13.50
Perfect for planning a big trip in Europe and beyond, this handbook is full of tips, information and sound travel advice from motorhome enthusiasts Julie and Jason Buckley.
Go Motorhoming and Campervanning
Vicarious Books; £11.99
Written by touring experts Chris Doree and Meli George, this handy book explains everything from which ‘van to buy, to finance and budgeting on the road.
Long Weekends and Spain
Rick Stein; £26 each
So many chefs to choose from, yet we’ve picked two books by Rick Stein. Unfair? Possibly, but we particularly enjoyed Long Weekends because it gives a wonderful flavour (pun intended) of the 10 cities he travels to across Europe, from Reykjavik to Palermo. Not only is the writing crisp and pertinent, the recipes are great, too.
As for Spain, we just had to include this one because of Rick’s campervan adventures in the accompanying TV series. The show’s producer, the late David Pritchard, reported on Rick’s gear-crunching driving in his blog.
Caroline Eden; £25
This recipe book/travelogue has won a stack of awards since it was published two years ago. In remarkable prose, Caroline evokes the food culture and communities around the Black Sea, in a colourful exposition of folklore and food.
Anthony Bourdain; £10.99
Food writer, travel guru and bon viveur, the late Anthony Bourdain wrote books that were made to make your mouth water. His literary debut, Kitchen Confidential, ripped through the food industry, revealing the subculture of the kitchen. Ten years on, with Medium Raw, he continued to lay open both his life and the secret world of the restaurant – his outspoken ability to tell it like it is remained undiminished.
Neither Here Nor There and Notes from a Small Island
Bill Bryson; £9.99 each
If you’ve never read a Bill Bryson book, what a treat you’ve got in store! This erudite yet approachable writer packs his books with knowledge, enthusiasm and laughter – all with what appears to be minimal effort. Read a chapter or two and he becomes a friend for life. We’ve included two classics here. Notes form a Small Island details his travels through Britain, while Neither Here Nor There finds him travelling across the Continent. His explanation of how the only safe way to cross the road in Rome is in the company of Roman Catholic nuns is a masterclass in gentle humour – enjoy!
Bruce Chatwin; £9.99
First published in 1977 and with every brushstroke in perfect position, Bruce Chatwin’s journey through Patagonia paints bitesize pictures of his travels, a quest originally inspired by a ‘piece of brontosaurus’. This is a remarkable part of the world, seen through the eyes of a remarkable writer.
Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know
Sir Ranulph Fiennes; £25
Some are cut from a different cloth, but others are hewn from a mountainside, as is the case with our foremost explorer and adventurer. This autobiography details his greatest expeditions, revealing his triumphs and disasters. A unique life.
Lonely Planet’s Ultimate United Kingdom Travelist
This entertaining book, great to dip into, is a fascinating bucket list of UK travel, ranking the top 500 experiences across Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands. One to tick off as you go.
Wild women and their amazing adventures over land, sea & air
Edited by Mariella Frostrup; £25
A brilliant collection of stories about some of the amazing travel adventures experienced by women throughout 300 years of history. Highlights among the selection include Junko Tabei, the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, and Nellis Bly, who made a record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days – move aside, Phileas Fogg!
Tintin and the Black Island
Hergé’s Adventures of Tintin are a shot in the arm for anyone with a yearning for adventure and entertainment – our hero reporter and his sidekick dog Snowy are famously one of Belgium’s finets and most enduring exports.
We’ve picked out this adventure because Tintin is rescued by a couple towing a caravan, who give him a lift. He rides in the caravan while it is being towed and, as a result, comes a cropper.
Mail Obsession: A Journey Round Britain by Postcode
Mark Mason; £2.99 (Kindle edition)
Britain is often said to be a nation of obsessives, and none more so than writer Mark Mason, who takes us on an unusual odyssey of the UK via its 124 postcodes. The book is filled with the type of factoids and trivia that most of us delight in.
Wild Signs and Star Paths
Tristan Gooley; £9.99
This is an author who has built himself a niche as the UK’s foremost reader of natural navigation signs, through water, land or sky. In this illuminating almanac, he decodes the ways in which nature can guide us through the world.
Paulo Coelho; £9.99
A mystical story about an Andalusian shepherd boy and his journey through life, this beautifully written fable teaches us about the great importance of simply listening to one’s heart and following the path it sets throughout life. Follow your dreams, folks!
The Salt Path
Raynor Winn, £9.99
This journey of pilgrimage along the South West Coast Path is as moving and searingly beautiful as the landscape itself. Great themes, such as grief, love and the healing power of the natural world, combine to make this an outstanding testament to the human spirit – and no wonder it has won so many awards.
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We just had to include this one because of Rick's campervan adventures in the accompanying TV series