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back to Book Reviews

The Good Guide to the Lakes
by Hunter Davies and Tom Holman
ISBN 978-0-7112-2861-0. Published by Frances Lincoln Limited.

The Good Guide to the LakesOur Vice President Hunter Davies has now been producing his Good Guide for over twenty-five years and this is the seventh edition of this popular book. The first edition, which was self-published, sold over 30,000 copies and further editions followed at three to four year intervals.

This will be the last guide produced by Hunter as he is handing over the reins to his co-author on this edition, Tom Holman. Also the publication has changed hands as far as the publisher is concerned and Frances Lincoln Limited is now performing this function.

The guide covers many aspects of life in the Lake District – best walks, mountains, views, lakes, the top museums, galleries, stately homes and literary connections, the latter obviously including AW as well as Arthur Ransome, Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth. The Society gets a good mention on page 9, although there is a slight error here where Hunter states that we commenced in 2003, whereas it was 9 November 2002 when the inaugural meeting was held at Ambleside. However, in view of his gracious comments about the Society in the book, I am prepared to let Hunter off the hook as far as this inaccuracy is concerned.

The guide continues its reputation for honest opinions expressed without fear or favour. Unlike many other guides, the book pays its own way and doesn’t accept payment for inclusion. It uses a star rating system to indicate the best hotels, attractions etc. If something is not worth seeing or doing, Hunter and Tom are not afraid to say so.

John Nicoll, in taking over the role of publisher, has commented, ‘We’re proud to take over another Lake District classic, and, like the incomparable Wainwright, to be able to revise and renew it for the 21st century, but keep the price at £7.99’.

reviewed by John Burland - Member No. 2