Hi, We'll be driving around England in June and would like to buy a good road atlas in London before we leave for the driving portion of our trip. We'll be driving all around England so the more detailed the atlas the better. We don't plan to have a sat nav. Any recommendations would be appreciated. Also, where are the best places to buy maps/atlas in London? One more question - what London city maps (something with pretty good detail) do you recommend and where to get them? The Rick Steves travel book suggests the Bensons Mapguide, the Rough Guide, and his own brand of maps! Thanks in advance for your advice! Cathy
Hi Cathy, We have used an AA atlas on road trips to England, Scotland, and Ireland. I bought the first one for England at a rest stop on the motorway. You should be able to find one at a bookstore in London. You might ask at your hotel. I have a new one I ordered from amazon.co.uk It is the AA 2013 Big Easy Britain. It is the spiral bound, which is easier to keep open than the regular binding. This one is bigger dimensions than my first one, which I don't like as well. It is very readable though. I somehow misplaced my first one. There are specific maps for different areas by Ordnance Survey too. We also use a GPS, our own with the addresses of our hotels loaded in. We still really like the paper map though for both directions and perspective. You might try Googling bookstores for the area of London where you will be staying. Have a great trip. My wife and I are going to be driving around the UK at the same time as you. If you haven't driven on the left before, it's really not very hard.
Where to buy = Foyle's in London has a huge selection of maps and all sorts of travel guides.......What to buy - we have done many British, Irish, and French road trips. For each of these trips, we have relied on the AA road atlas and a series of regional Michelin maps. They both have the same scale: about 4 miles to the inch. We use the Michelin ones for overall route planning because their size allows viewing a large area. We use the AA atlas to navigate as we drive. Both maps and atlas show the locations of castles, historic churches, megalithic stones, battlefields, etc......For London (and Paris) we have been very happy with the Rough Guide maps.
For London, my favorite map is The London Mapguide by Michael Middleditch. It is a small book, has great detail, and I think it is very easy to read. You can get one from Amazon.
AA and Michelin are both good road atlases. Michelin has detailed maps of all parts of UK (and Ireland if you want) plus more detail on cities. The Benson map of London is the best I've seen, fits in the back pocket and includes tube and bus routes. In London, if we spent more than ten seconds looking at the map on the street, some nice person would offer to help us. If you have a GPS, consider buying a Europe map for it, or rent a GPS over there. It helps you navigate and enables the navigator in the passenger seat to focus more on scenery and signage and less on the map in his or her lap. But a good map or atlas is also a good supplement to GPS, helps you see where you are relative to where you're going and what's around you, etc.
For London, I use the A-Z London Mini Atlas, it's about 3x6" so fits easily in a pocket, but the maps are still clear and detailed. Importantly, it has a good index of streets. There are larger versions if you prefer. You can buy A-Z maps easily - many newsagents, tourist shops, bookshops, etc. sell at least one version. WH Smith (found at many railway stations and elsewhere), presumably stock them too. For driving outside London, I currently have an RAC road atlas - but I have used others and I think they are all much of a muchness: AA, Philip's, AZ, etc. Just try to get one which is spiral bound and has a decent overlap between pages.
I also like The London Mapguide for the city. It does not fit in a pocket, but easily fits in a small bag, is thin and easy to use. It has great detail and streets are marked clearly.
The best shop for maps in London is the specialist travel bookshop Stamfords in Long Acre. (Covent Garden or Leicester Square tube station)
Buy the Michelin spiral road atlas from amazon.com before you leave. In London, find a map booklet on which you can easily locate Prince of Wales Terrace.
Amen to Stamfords. Their map collection is second to none; and not just every inch and every cm of the UK but of the world too. When I want city maps of Italy that's where I go, France too. I got a cycling map of Holland there. They have all the detailed Philips and AA city and county maps of the UK and great overviews. It is a wonderful place to wander around in. Generally full list price there. If you just want a large format atlas of Britain you can often get one of the supersize one for very cheap at closeout stores like Book Works.
If you have a smart phone, a great ap for London is "recce, London". And ,once you load it, it works without requiring that "data" be switched to "on". It is an awesome 3D map of the city, sights, etc.
Thank you for all of the helpful suggestions!