Plane tickets are expensive. Let your loved one take a trip to Morocco, Mongolia or the Mediterranean from the comfort of their armchair, or inspire their next getaway, by giving them one of these truly adventurous travel books.
On the 20th anniversary of Notes from a Small Island, Bill Bryson made another trip around Blighty to ring the changes. Traverse with him across the British Isles as he discovers the delights of our rainy, ridiculous but rather lovely homeland from Bognor Regis to Cape Wrath, discovering a whole lot of eccentricity, as well as beauty along the way. One for the staycationer in your life, we say.
One of Britain’s greatest nature writers, MacFarlane has crafted a lyrical book about how language can make us pay more attention to world around us. Outdoorsy types will be entranced to go with MacFarlane as he walks into mines in Cumbria and on corries in the Cairngorms searching for local dialect words that help us understand nature, such as the lovely wewire, an Essex term for moving about as foliage does in wind.
The folks behind the Tumblr wonder that is CabinPorn.com present a tome of lush photographs—plus practical DIY advice—for those who dream of building an idyllic, rustic bolthole. This is the ultimate interiors inspo present – your giftee will be able to discover people who have chosen the outdoorsy good life in a treehouse in an Austrian forest, a refurbished fisherman’s hut on the Irish coast and a cabin in the mountains of Morocco.
Beloved chef Rick Stein’s latest gastronomic road trip is across the South-eastern Europe of the former Byzantine Empire. Stein shows us a melting pot of dishes crossing borders, such as a seafood linguine from Albania, a Venetian take on liver and onions. The bonus? Despite the exotic locales, most of the core ingredients are Mediterranean staples—olive oil, garlic, white wine and onions—and easily done at home.
Want to know the site where eight people died in the Great Beer Flood of 1814? Or where French poets Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud got into a fight, culminating in slapping each other with raw fish? Then consider this witty tour through the Big Smoke’s rich, colourful and often bonkers history that has enough information to please whoever you’re buying it for, from seasoned Londoners to first-time visitors alike.
Today, roughing it often means your B&B has no Wi-Fi, but 13th century adventurer Polo was the original off-the-beaten tracker, travelling for 24 years across the Middle East and Asia from his home in Venice. The East and West tensions are as timely today as when they were written and his observations remain endlessly fascinating, especially those of the glittery court of the Kublai Khan in what is present-day Mongolia. Adventurous history-lovers will be enthralled.
Aspirational stuff from a man with possibly the best name ever invented, who is also the holder of a dizzying number of records: the first person to do the “Triple Crown” (climb three different Everest peaks) and the only Briton to ski down two 8,000 metre mountains, Cool is, well, really cool. This book charts his personal battle—struggling back from an accident which left the possibility of walking again, let alone climbing, seeming remote.
Now this one is a true original. Vanhoenacker is a commercial pilot with the soul of a poet who delightfully and entertainingly conveys the complex physics of flight, the technical aspects of aeroplanes and the business of modern air travel. What comes through most is Vanhoenacker’s sheer love of flying and a different perspective on the world one he has from often viewing it at 35,000 feet. For someone who wishes they could fly.
Clare Balding is on a mission to discover Britain and Ireland. She’s conquered over 1,500 miles of footpaths, from the Pennine Way to the South-west Coast Path. As well as blisters and a twisted ankle, she’s walked with extraordinary people – botanists, barefooted ramblers, whisky-drinking widowers. In Walking Home she shares these stories and tells of more (mis)adventures with her family and her wayward Tibetan terrier Archie.