London in Three Guidebooks

by Kerry Dexter /
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Jan 15, 2016 / 0 comments

London is one of the world's great cities -- and it is one with so much going on that however many times you might visit and however long your stay might be, having a particular focus will make it easier to choose experiences and to make plans.

London in Three Guidebooks

For Jennie Milsom, London's coffee shops and to a lesser extent shops that focus on tea are what brings her to explore a number of the city's neighborhoods in Cafe Life London: An Insider's Guide to the City's Neighborhood Cafes. She does this by giving the low down on what each cafe is like and what you may find to drink and eat there. She also talks to people who work in and often ones who own the shops she visits and tells about the cafe and the neighborhood through short vignettes. Sometimes the people she speaks with are native Londoners, sometimes they are people who've come from other parts of the British Isles, and there are quite a few expats too, many of them from New Zealand and Australia. There are photographs to add to what you will learn of the ambiance of each cafe.

Cafe Life London. From  London in Three Guidebooks

For Geoffrey Smith, it is art, particularly painting, that he wants to explore in London, and given well known museums such as the Tate Modern, the Tate Britain, and the National Gallery, he has plenty to choose from to pick his 100 Best Paintings in London. Smith doesn't limit himself to the big name galleries, though. He also introduces paintings from perhaps less well known collections such as the Dulwich Picture Gallery and Kenwood House. He arranges his choices by collection, in fact, and then primarily chronologically within each collection. Smith is an enthusiast rather than an art historian or curator. His comments on the paintings are often quite detailed and work well to set a piece in context, and his enthusiasm shows too. Each piece is illustrated, and there is information about the artist's life and a note of two or three contemporary works in addition to the narrative on each painting. 

100 best paintings in London. From  London in Three Guidebooks




Giving you options to design mix and match highlights for your London days is the focus of Lonely Planet Make My Day London . It's part of a city guide series from Lonely Planet which was inspired, at least in part, by how you might use a guide on an electronic device: each page has section for morning, afternoon, and evening and each of those parts of the day is physically structured a bit like a deck of flash cards -- you can flip back and forth among them to create highlights for an ideal day. There's a lot of information packed into the small and well designed listings, thirty nine places and experiences in all, more than enough to take in on a short (or longer) visit. There's a facing page with and photograph, and each card has a paragraph about why you might visit the attraction and what you might find, there's a tiny map to help you locate the place (with nearby public transport stops noted), and at least one recommendation for a place to eat nearby. At the bottom of each page are cleverly worked out icons that will help you figure out how long it will take to reach the next attraction you've chosen by various means of transport, including by foot, bus, and Underground. Also included in the front and back matter, there's a basic orientation map, a large pull out map, suggestions on essential tourist information, and ideas for what Lonely Planet's editors would choose for three perfect days. There's also a bookmark and a band to keep pages in place, and a code to download an electronic version of the book. Chances are, though, that for planning a trip through London's highlights, you'll enjoy using the physical book. It's compact, lightweight, the pull out map is a great addition, and Make My Day London is easy to share with friends or lay on your desk or that table at the pub as you plan your next London adventure.

Make My Day London. From  London in Three Guidebooks





Kerry Dexter is music editor at Wandering Educators. You may reach her at music at wandering educators dot com.
You may find more of Kerry's work in National Geographic Traveler, Strings, Symphony, Perceptive Travel, Journey to Scotland, and other places on line and in print, as well as at her own site Music Road.