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We used to be fans of the Lonely Planet series of travel guides, but we’ve pretty much been converted to their long-time competitors Rough Guides in recent years. This was especially true during our 2011 trip to Norway, when we used both guides alongside each other and came to strongly prefer the Rough Guide.
Our most recent trip was rather more local — a week spent walking in the Lake District for a week. Rough Guides were kind enough to provide a review copy of The Rough Guide to The Lake District for us to take with us.
I’ve not used one of the regional Rough Guides before, but the format was the same as for the larger guides and once more, this book provided the kind of information we wanted and was easy to read.
Highlights included useful overviews of all the famous walking routes in the Lake District, details of wildlife and tourist attractions (including England’s only Golden Eagle, which we saw) as well as useful transport and accommodation information, should you need it.
The main lakes and towns are all covered, and there are enough maps to just about enable you to find your way around, if you have managed to travel without a sat nav or road atlas.
As an example of the walking coverage, walks listed for Ambleside, where we stayed, were Stock Gyyll, Wansfell Pike, Loughrigg Fell, Jenkins Crag and the mighty Fairfield Horseshoe. We completed 4/5 of these (using an OS map as well, obviously) and all of them were as described in the Rough Guide. Although this may sound elementary, not all travel guides manage this, in our experience.
If you want an exhaustive guide to the eating and drink places of the Lake District, this may not be it — at least, it wasn’t for Ambleside, where we stayed, ate and drank.
Our favourite pub, The Golden Rule, was mentioned, but none of the others were, and neither of the two restaurants we visited were listed either — so I will help you out by recommending Dodds Restaurant to anyone who wants a good value, tasty meal in a restaurant that is family friendly but still enjoyable for adults.
That said, we rarely ever look at food and drink guides in travel books, as we prefer to simply have a walk round and choose somewhere that looks appealing. Indeed, until I got home and wrote this review, I hadn’t even looked at the pub information for Ambleside!
Rough Guides has notched up another victory with The Rough Guide to The Lake District, which provided all the information we wanted and was accurate and easy to use. Recommended, especially if you are more of an outdoors type.
Book information (available from Amazon (Amazon⇒) and all the usual places)
Title: The Rough Guide to The Lake District
Format: Paperback, 296 pages
Publisher: Rough Guides (6th edition, 17 Jan 2013)