by Rough Guides
Since the Conservative party lost power in 1997, Britain has had an unmistakably upbeat air, celebrated in the press as "Cool Britannia". Yet even without these cultural innovations--its vibrant music scene and burgeoning film industry, its fashionable new restaurants and bars--Britain would still be an attractive destination. Its countryside offers a vast variety of delights, from traditional village pubs to lakes, hills and prehistoric stone circles. Although England is a likely first destination (London is Europe's largest capital city) a trip to Great Britain would not be complete without an exploration of Scotland and Wales, the two other countries that make up its mainland (Ireland has its own volume: Ireland: the Rough Guide). "The moment you cross the border into predominantly rural Wales, you are aware that you have entered a Celtic land," while Scotland offers both tantalising countryside and the "cosmopolitan and cultured" city of Edinburgh.
The Rough Guides, aimed at independent travellers of all ages on all budgets, set out to "do something different": provide practical information and an insight into contemporary culture, mixing hard fact with irreverent humour. Britain: The Rough Guide includes maps, travel and accommodation guides, several pages of glossy photographs and a "Contexts" section containing a fascinating history of Britain.--Daren King