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Last year was an unusual year for me as, for work and personal reasons, I spent time in everywhere from Yorkshire to Devon, via the home counties and East Anglia. Halfway through the year my parents bought me the Time Out book "1000 things to do in Britain" so that I would at least have plenty to do with my time off! I have used the Time Out website many times to find out about entertainment events around London so I was looking forward to seeing what they would suggest.
WHAT CONNECTION DOES THE BOOK HAVE TO TIME OUT?
The listings are based on the work of Time Out magazine, which provides entertainment listings and reviews. The first thing I noticed when I flicked through the book was that there was a number of related adverts throughout. This did make me wonder how independent the recommendations included would be. However when I read the introduction, I saw that Time Out say that no payments influenced the choice of venues etc listed. They say that the list of things to do was finalised before advertising space was sold. I think this is fair enough as the general text outweigh the adverts in quantity and it easy to see which is which. If you disagree with any of the suggestions or think something great has been left out, you can also email the authors using the details in the front of the book.
RANGE OF ACTIVITIES INCLUDED.
The 1000 suggestions are not organised in any particular order, in that suggestion number 1 is no more recommended than suggestion number 1000. I don't mind this approach as it would no doubt be difficult to narrow down just one choice for the top spot, especially as everyone has different tastes. Many of the activities strike me more as suggestions of places to visit such as castles, national parks, shops and restaurants. Some are predictable such as the idea of visiting a stately home, but others are more unexpected - butchery lessons, bog snorkeling and indoor skydiving for example. I was really impressed with the range of ideas in general. Reading the book has given me a lot of new entries in my "must see/visit/do" list. The trouble is, even when though I was traveling around the country, I found that the things I most wanted to do or see were not in the same place that I was. As the book is intended to be national in scope that is no doubt inevitable. Nevertheless, if I had not been travelling, and I had wanted to find new things to do within day trip distance of my home, I would not have found much. All the suggestions were places that I already knew of and had visited although it did remind me of places that I had not been to for some time such as the Oxford Botanic Garden. I think this national approach would be frustrating for many people, especially if you live in one of the areas that is less well covered. There is only one suggestion for Gwent for example, compared to 14 for the city of Bristol. I decided the best way for me to use the book was to use the suggestions as a starting point for an internet search. If I read about a lovely sounding national trail walk in Scotland, I decided to google national trails where I was going to be, and this worked well.
One place that I enjoyed visiting solely on the suggestion of this guide was the seaside town of Leigh-On-Sea in Essex. The main part of the books suggestion was to eat sea food there such as local cockles, which as a vegetarian was not something I would do. However, having a soft spot for seaside places in general, I enjoyed the little beach and the attractive town itself. I wish there had been more similiar places suggested in the areas I would have been able to visit!
IS THE BOOK EASY TO USE?
Each entry comprises a paragraph or two, although there a few that are treated to more in depth coverage. The book doesn't include precise opening times or admission prices in the main, so I couldn't use it as my only source of information. Even if they had always been included, I would have checked them again with the venue as this sort of information changes quickly. You are given the venues telephone number, address and website where possible. I think it would be helpful to perhaps include a few symbols next to the main entry to indicate places that had good disabled access or easy public transport links, to make it easier to shortlist places to research in the first place.
There is an index that helps to narrow the entries by type of activity or interest e.g children's attractions or ecology. There is also an index of ideas by location, which is well worth looking at before you buy the book for the reasons I mentioned above. I mainly enjoyed just browsing through and picking an entry at random as there are plenty of quirky illustrations and photos to pique your interest.
WOULD I RECOMMEND THE BOOK?
I am not sure that I would, despite the fact there are plenty of good and imaginative ideas. I think if you have a realistic chance of visiting many places in Britain before the book goes out of date, then it would be an interesting read. If you want to mainly use the book to find places near to you, it may not provide enough suggestions within reach. As a general guide to the variety of things to do in Britain, it is certainly an eye opener!
ISBN 978 184 670 2235
ISBN 10= 1846702232
This is the second revised edition, paperback, published by Time Out/Ebury Publishing.
Cover price £12.99. Amazon price from £5.85 for a new copy at time of writing.
[This review has also appeared on Ciao under my user name.]
I have always been fascinated by books of lists. Lists of things to do, books to read, films to see, places to visit - I have lots of them on my bookshelves. So when I spotted Time Out's guide to '1000 Things to do in Britain' in my local branch of Waterstones, I knew I had to add it to my collection.
~~~ Description of the Book ~~~
As you've probably guessed, this book is a list of a thousand things to do in Britain. These range from obscure to more mainstream places and include places to visit as well as activities to do.
Just to whet your appetite, here are some entries chosen at random from the book:
# 541-550 Ride Britain's best rollercoasters
#223 Marvel at Orkney's Italian Chapel
#835 Tour a turbine in Norfolk
#763 Stay in a stately home (without spending a fortune)
#341 See Shakespeare under the stars
#188 Uncover the secrets of real ale at the Hook Norton Brewery
#804 Have a Brief Encounter at Carnforth (Station)
Each entry is one or two paragraphs long but gives you all the information you need such as addresses and website details. The book also has fifteen special features written by Time Out journalists taking part in particular activities such as going wild camping or learning circus skills. These are two to three pages long and make a good read as well as providing a more in-depth guide. As well as this, ten famous individuals such as David Starkey and Katharine Hamnett have provided lists of their favourite things to do.
The entries in the book are not in any particular order so to help you find things that may interest you there are three indexes:
1. By county - so you can find things to do near you
2. By theme - for example castles, dining out, walks
3. By the name of the attraction - in A-Z order
~~~ My Opinion ~~~
I found two uses for this book. Firstly to look up entries for a particular area when planning holidays or days out and secondly dipping into it at random to get ideas for places to visit and things to do in the future. I have now read it from cover to cover, more or less and it is looking very well-thumbed.
The book is illustrated in full colour throughout and there are some lovely photographs to look at. In my opinion this makes for a much more attractive and useful book than most travel guides which restrict their colour photographs to a few pages scattered here and there.
I was a little disappointed when I read this book to find that some entries have been grouped together into one topic but given different numbers. For example, 'Eat the freshest seafood money can buy' makes up entries 884 to 891 with each suggested cafe, restaurant or seafood shack being a different number. This seemed slightly like cheating to me because the 'Thing to do' is eating fresh seafood so it should only be one entry. But maybe I'm just being pedantic.
As I mentioned in my review of '1000 Things for Kids to do in the Holidays', some of the entries in this book are duplicated in that one. I have not read Time Out's book on '1000 Things to Do in London' but suspect that some of the entries in this may also be in that one. However, it is the activity or place to visit that is duplicated, rather than the text describing it so this is forgivable.
There will almost certainly be something in this book to interest you. All in all, I found this book extremely useful and have now created my own mini-list of things to do which I shall be working my way through over the next year. Bring on the bog snorkelling!
~~~ Details ~~~
First published by Ebury Publishing in 2008
RRP £12.99. Available from Amazon for £7.79 (new)
Other books in the series are:
1000 Things for kids to do in the holidays
1000 Things to do in London
1000 Things to do in London for under £10
1000 Things to do in New York
This book is absolutley brilliant, it has 320 pages ram packed full of things that you can do in britain, as the name sugests there are 1000 items listed in this book in no particular order but to make life easier if you are looking for something in particular there is an A to Z listing aswell to make things easily findable.
This book is new, it was only published 2 months ago so is very upto date on places and events, it covers every crease and crevis of great britain so you are sure not to miss a single thing.
There is something for every taste and every wallet in this book, there are experiences that will cost an arm and a leg like spas and health resorts but are things that cost you nothing like days out to visit places and great camping places and almost everything you can think of inbetween.
It lists all the castles and stately homes open to the general public to visit, all water sports available, all outdoor sports, all the exciting big fair rides and which attractions they are at, beautiful beaches, cider orchards and much more.
Obviously this is going to depend on your tastes as to what you are interested in doing, i mean i couldnt see me being a non drinker enjoying a day at a cider orchard or my children but the beaches are a different matter.
There are good descriptions of the places and great illistrations in the book aswell, some of the items in the 1000 listed have little info but that is because they are self explanitary but others have vast amounts of info available.
This is a fantastic book for around £10 for anyone who enjoys days out especially for this time of year with the children off school and stuck for some where to go for the day to entertain them, we will certainly be using our book a lot over the next 6 weeks.
Britain. We really don't appericiate its sights, uniqueness, history, humor, and err safaris, buddhist monasteries and bog snorkeling events! Well not according to Time Out that is. Hot on the heals of its 1000 things to do in London, Time Out has published its new sister publication "1000 things to do in Britain".
As its name suggests the book contains 1000 things you may have done, may have never heard of or even if you had wouldn't have wanted to. As far as the latter goes I can point you straight to item 586 - butchery lessons. Think I will give that one a miss.
The book really does have something for everyone though. Whatever makes you tick. Sport, food, festivals and walks. You name it. And this covers the length and breadth of the country. Ever thought of visiting an Italian chapel in the Orkneys? Maybe watching a Shakespeare play in an outdoor theatre a stones throw from Lands End?
The book is ordered from 1 to, surprise surprise, 1000. However no order is implied. Item 999 may appeal to you just as much as something in the top ten. Most items warrant a few sentences. However features cover a full page or more. Others are split - for instance items 541-550 are "Ride Britain's best roller coasters" which then covers a number of such rides. Finally 10 sections are by guest authors with a list of "A few of my favourite things".
You will no doubt find some "things" you have already done yourself - I can vouch that I have experienced artifical snow in Castleford, done one of the national trails, had a real Devonshire Cream Tea and watched an alternative local derby (that would be Hull FC V Hull KR) amongst others. I haven't yet however holidayed in a pineapple or devoured a real Bakewell pudding. But I may do now. On the other hand to add to the butchery lessons I may give Brighton's Miss Transgender contest a miss.
To help you find your ideal activity the index is handily ordered by county and then major towns, type of activity (accommodation to zoos) and a full A-Z index.
So in summary if you are looking for something new and a little different to do this year then this book may just be for you. You may find that what you find is no longer a hidden gem thanks to the book but maybe thats the only real downside to this read. And when you run out of things to do no doubt someone at Time Out is already compiling the tips you are invited to send at the beginning of the book ready for future editions.
And as for me? Well Im sipping Britain's strongest ale (611). While watching a Penguin Parade. In Edinburgh (219).
Following on from the bestselling "1000 things to do in London", "1000 Things to do in Britain" roams far and wide beyond the capital to bring you a unique guidebook to this incomparably unique island. The features include castles and kayaking, sculpture gardens and snorkelling hotspots, white sand beaches and white-knuckle rides, cider orchards and stately homes. Covering the length and breadth of Britain, it takes in both life-changing experiences and simple pleasures, with ideas for every budget. You can go wild camping on Dartmoor, or be pampered in a luxury spa; forage for your supper, or take afternoon tea in Park Lane; ride along a deserted beach, or go wild in the crowd at a festival. Packed with ideas from unusual takes on well-known attractions to once-in-a-lifetime experiences to everyday pleasures - many of them absolutely free.