Top 10 books to learn about London
List Words : Best books from Stanfords | 18 July

Top 9 books to learn about London

With the Olympics approaching fast, Stanfords – the one-stop travel shop – has revealed the nine best books for learning about London, or escaping it

Good news! Wanderlust readers can now save 10% on any online purchase made on the Stanfords website. Simply enter code: WANDERLUST in the promotional box at the check out to claim your discount and start saving today.

I Never Knew That About London1. I Never Knew That About London (£9.99)

Travelling through the villages and districts that make up arguably the capital of the world, Christopher Winn’s I Never Knew That About London takes us on a captivating journey around London to unearth the hidden gems of legends, firsts, inventions, adventures and birthplaces that shape the city’s compelling, and at times, turbulent past.

Brimming with stories and snippets providing a spellbinding insight into what has shaped London, this illustrated book is guaranteed to inform and amuse in equal measure.

Who knows, it may even make you loudly declare: “I never knew that!”

Favourite London Walks2. Favourite London Walks (£14.99)

Andrew Duncan’s Favourite London Walks contains 50 classic routes around the capital, exploring London’s heritage from its busiest central streets to its quiet rural corners.

The guide is aimed at both residents and visitors, containing detailed text on the history behind London’s landscape and the people who have shaped it, as well as visitor information complete with venue opening times, addresses, public transport links, and details of the best pubs, cafes and restaurants to be found en-route. Walks can be plotted using easy to follow overview maps and the guide is interspersed with specially commissioned full-page colour photographs from around the city.

Secret London - An Unusual Guide 3. Secret London – An Unusual Guide (£10.99)

Secret London in the Jonglez series of guides is designed to help visitors explore the undiscovered and hidden attractions usually unknown to tourists. The ‘Secret’ titles present a range of sites – including gardens, museums, squares, churches, parks and distinctive architecture – that are often not covered by other guides. Double page spreads have a description of the site and a glossy full length photograph opposite. Addresses, opening times, contact details and relevant transport information is also provided.

Jonglez also publish a range of “Unusual…” titles, with an emphasis on thematic experiences, including hotels and shopping, to a range of destinations. Each guide has a similar format to the ‘Secret’ series, with individual recommendations and suggestions accompanied by colour photographs throughout the text.

London Country Walks - Time Out4. London Country Walks – Time Out (£12.99)

Time Out’s Country Walks – Volume 2 is a collection of 85 country walks near London, recommending a range of different strolls and rambles for those seeking to escape from the city.

The walks are largely based in the countryside and on scenic footpaths, with a minimum of road walking involved, are between seven and 15 miles long, graded for difficulty and suitable for a range of different walking standards in the Chilterns, Thames Valley, North Wessex Downs, East Hampshire hangers, Surrey Hills, Kent Downs, the Weald, South Downs and Coastal Walks. Extensive directions are accompanied by practical information on distance, the relevant OS map, history, refreshments and suggestions for shortening the walk en route.

London City Guide - Lonely Planet5. London City Guide – Lonely Planet (Now £11.99; was £14.99)

One of the world's most visited cities, London has something for everyone – from history to culture, art, grand museums, dazzling architecture, royalty, diversity and irrepressible pizzazz.

Inside this book: Full colour guide; thousands of comprehensive listings and recommendations; in-depth background on London's literary heritage; 3D illustration pages featuring the Thames and Tower of London; expanded coverage of the 2012 Olympics; pull out map of London.

50 Miles Around London - A-Z Road Map6. 50 Miles Around London – A-Z Road Map (£5.50)

50 miles around London at 3.5 miles to 1” (1:221,760) on an indexed road map in a regional series from A-Z with clear presentation of the road network, some topographic information, places of interest, etc.

The publisher’s cartography, also used in their 5 miles to 1” series, is enlarged here to make local roads more prominent and provides all the standard motoring information: services, primary route destinations, toll barriers, gradients, etc. Railway lines are shown with stations. Topography is shown by altitude tints, if in rather broad bands, with additional spot heights (all in feet), plus colouring for woodlands. A range of symbols highlight various places of interest. The map shows the British national grid lines for GPS users. Current edition of this title was published in 2012.

This title is also available as a wall map, on paper or encapsulated.

Lost London 1870-19457. Lost London 1870-1945 (£19.99)

Lost London 1870-1945 is a collection of more than 500 black-and-white images of the capital, arranged by region and compiled from the archive, now held by English Heritage, of the former London County Council.

Most of these images have never been published before; they were taken to provide a visual-historical record of whole districts in London as they were vanishing and are displayed here in full plate images, with text provided by English Heritage’s Planning and Development Director for London and South-East England, Philip Davies, and a foreword written by HRH The Duke of Gloucester.

The photographs truly depict a London in transition – from the late Victorian age through to wartime devastation. Images depict all social strata, from Marshalsea Prison lodgings to the Prime Minister’s bedroom, from squalid slums to aristocratic mansions.

Cycle London - Time Out8. Cycle London – Time Out (£12.99)

Time Out Cycle London combines 25 great bicycle rides for all abilities in and around the capital with features and useful information. It's a contemporary and attractive entry-level book that understands that you don't have to be able to strip your bike to its ball bearings to enjoy all the pleasures of the road.

Organised according to types of riding, from commuting to family afternoons out to weekend excursions; each includes rides, bike and kit advice and introduces, through features and the routes chosen, London's vibrant cycle scene. It also takes you to the best of London itself.

Tired of London, Tired of Life9. Tired of London, Tired of Life (£12.99)

Tired of London Tired of Life by Tom Jones is a wonderful showcase of 365 interesting activities to do in this vibrant city.

Find out the art, literature and history that the capital has to offer, enjoy the variety of things to do from attending a Burns Night Scottish Dance in the middle of winter to lying on the beach at Ruislip Lido in summer, browsing Britain’s oldest bookshop, and savouring the cuisine from around the world, all this and more in London.

The book includes pictures and drawings of London, is organised in chronological order, from the 1st of January to the 31st of December, each day with a suggestion for what to do. Ideal for the Londoner as well as for the tourist who has already visited the main sites, this guide will lead the readers to the hidden gems of the capital which make it such an inspiring and vibrant place.

Good news! Wanderlust readers can now save 10% on any online purchase made on the Stanfords website. Simply enter code: WANDERLUST in the promotional box at the check out to claim your discount and start saving today.

Want to see an alternative side to the United Kingdom's capital city? Download Wanderlust's FREE 25-page guide to quirky London here.