Trip Inspiration

Six of the best new guidebooks for summer 2021

1. Sassy Planet

Featuring interviews with local characters, descriptions of little-known hideaways and nuggets of regional culture, this queer guide to 40 cities aims to uncover the less obvious LGBTQ+-friendly destinations. The writers, including The New York Times’ David Dodge and video artist Nick Schiarizzi, draw on the expertise of local DJs, artists, activists, drag performers, DIY historians and long-time residents, such as RuPaul’s Drag Race star Alaska, who shares her Pittsburgh recommendations. (Prestel, £18.99)

2. Take the Slow Road: France

Author Martin Dorey hits the road once more, this time in search of inspirational journeys around France via camper van and motorhome. Dorey, the author of multiple camper travel books and presenter of BBC Two’s One Man and his Campervan, takes it slow around our cross-Channel neighbour, finding plenty of scenic spots to park up and put the kettle on, as well as highlighting the top destinations for all kinds of travellers, from climbers and skiers to wine-lovers and walkers. (Conway, £20)

3. 52 Great British Weekends

Travel journalist Annabelle Thorpe offers up inspiration for a year’s worth of mini adventures, with ideas for exciting staycations that take in everything from ballooning in Bristol and summiting Snowdonia to watersports on the River Wye and a theatrical trip in Cornwall. Find out the best spots for dolphin-watching, wine-tasting, bike riding and more, and plan each escape based on what suits your areas of interest, as well as your chosen travel season. (IMM Lifestyle Books, £14.99)

4. Slow Trains Around Spain

This is a lyrical journey by rail as much as a guide. If you need insight or encouragement to plan your next trip by train, then Tom Chesshyre’s book detailing a 3,000-mile adventure on 52 rides is surely it. Such hubs as Madrid, Seville and Granada are covered, along with routes along the Atlantic coast and into Spain’s lesser-known interior, including the wilds of Extremadura and the plains of Aragon. It’s a riveting read for those keen to plan their next no-fly adventure. (Summersdale, £16.99)

5. Epic Hikes of Europe

The Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Shetland’s Ness of Hillswick circuit, the Causeway Coast Way and Helvellyn’s Striding Edge are among the 31 UK walks mentioned in this new guide, which taps into our recently discovered appetite for exploring close to home. Further afield, there are epic trekking tours in places as far and wide as Andalucia and the Arctic Circle. The guide packs in 50 first-person narratives from travel writers out in the field, along with a further 150 suggestions of great places to explore on foot. (Lonely Planet, £24.99)

6. A Field Guide to Larking

Laura Maiklem first brought us the bestselling Mudlarking, which extolled the joys of looking for lost treasures in and around the muddy banks of rivers. Now the author is back with a practical, illustrated guide for larkers everywhere. Learn how to take joy in the small things uncovered by beachcombing, fieldwalking or even ‘gardenlarking’ — all mindful activities that can be enjoyed whatever the weather. (Bloomsbury, £14.99)

Published in the September 2021 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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