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13 Incredible Alternative Books To Start Your London Adventure

Find the hidden gems, the best food, drinks and learn about the colorful history of this magnificent city!

Coming to London for the first time can be overwhelming for many. The sheer size, the number of people and the amount of things you can do usually sends visitors into a short term panic.

Skip that nonsense by picking up one of these books, which guide you on what things to skip, and what to definitely see on your first round in London. There’s a perfect guide if you have kids, and there are fascinating guides depending on your interest. Theatres? Long walks? Anything can be found in this amazing English city!

#1Ā Little London by Sunshine Jackson

Little London by Sunshine Jackson
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Joe Flanagan fromĀ Daddilife.

The book is packed full of ideas of how to get the best of London when travelling with children. A lot of it is leaning towards kid friendly activities but plenty for the whole family to enjoy and several hidden gems included too.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#2Ā London: A Travel Guide Through Time by Dr Matthew Green

London: A Travel Guide Through Time by Dr Matthew Green
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Jon Deak fromĀ Hot Juice.

London: A Travel Guide Through Time by Dr Matthew Green is a highly entertaining and informative read, and it showcases London’s development and events throughout six interesting periods of history.

In it, you’ll find tons of interesting facts, vivid stories and anecdotes related to London and Londoners throughout the time of 6 different periods: the middle ages, Shakespeare, the Great Plague of London, the reign of Queen Victoria, the Blitz and London life et al.

The thing I adore about most about this book is the epilogue of each chapter, which lays out the buildings that still exist; fascinating.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#3Ā 33 Walks in London That You Shouldn’t Miss by Nicola Perry

33 Walks in London That You Shouldn't Miss by Nicola Perry
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Alex Kaschuta fromĀ Fundsquire.

Though the title of this book sounds a little click-baity, don’t be fooled! This is the most fun and practical guide to walking in London that I’ve ever read. I’ve lived in London for five years now and I keep it on my nightstand for inspiration in my continued exploration of the city. The walks are an incredible way to not only see London’s hidden jewels but also to understand the history behind them. This book really makes me grateful to be able to live in this amazing metropolis!

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#4Ā How to Read London by Chris Rogers

How to Read London by Chris Rogers
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Ivy Press fromĀ The Quarto Group.

From its renewal after the Great Fire of 1666 as a centre of commerce, culture, finance and as a railway hub, the seat of power and law, How to Read London reveals through the built environment how London’s domestic, civic and commercial landscape has evolved and adapted from imperial capital to global city.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#5Ā London Theatres by Michael Coveney

London Theatres by Michael Coveney
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Frances Lincoln fromĀ The Quarto Group.

Leading theatre critic Michael Coveney invites you on a tour of forty-five theatres that make the London stage what it is. With stories of the architecture, the people and the productions which have defined each one, alongside sumptuous photographs by Peter Dazeley of the public areas, auditorium and backstage, this illustrated overview of London’s Theatres is a book like no other. A must for fans of the stage!

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#6Ā Outdoor London by Ms. Eleanor Ross

Outdoor London by Ms. Eleanor Ross
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by White Lion Publishing fromĀ The Quarto Group.

Whether a local or a visitor looking to see the wilder side of the big city, Outdoor London covers the full spectrum of outdoor opportunities. If you’re looking for water to paddle in or on, paths to amble down slowly or careen down on mountain bikes, wide open spaces for music festivals or simply to find an empty pasture, you’ll find something for everyone in this easily portable London guide.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#7Ā London in Fragments by Ted Sandling

London in Fragments by Ted Sandling
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Frances Lincoln fromĀ The Quarto Group.

From Roman tiles to elegant Georgian pottery, presented here are modern-day mudlark Ted Sandling’s most evocative finds, gorgeously photographed. Together they create a mosaic of everyday London life through the centuries, touching on the journeys, pleasures, vices, industries, adornments and comforts of a world city. This unique and stunning book celebrates the beauty of small things, and makes sense of the intangible connection that found objects give us to the individuals who lost them.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#8Ā Modern London by Lukas Novotny

Modern London by Lukas Novotny
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by White Lion Publishing fromĀ The Quarto Group.

From the art deco factories of the 1920s through to the skyscraper boom of the twenty-first century, Modern London takes you on an illustrated tour of the capital’s ever-changing landscape. Discover long lost treasures such as the Firestone Factory and marvel at modern-day masterpieces like the London Aquatics centre; delight in previously vilified social housing projects such as the Balfron Tower, and discover the drama behind bold, eccentric designs like the ‘Cheesegrater’. The city’s skyline can change in an instant; Modern London invites you to sit back and survey the scene so far.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#9Ā Drink London (New Edition) by Euan Ferguson

Drink London (New Edition) by Euan Ferguson
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by White Lion Publishing fromĀ The Quarto Group.

Drink London is the go-to-guide to the top 100 finest bars and pubs in the city, and this new edition comes updated with 14 new locations. With stylish photography and elegant design (including a handy checklist) matched by a wealth of insider knowledge and practical information, the guide features a varied list of unique bars and pubs and illustrates why each one deserves to be on all discerning drinkers’ must-visit lists.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#10Ā London’s Underground by Oliver Green

London's Underground by Oliver Green
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by White Lion Publishing fromĀ The Quarto Group.

In this major work published in association with Transport for London, Tube expert Oliver Green traces the history of the Underground, following its troubles and triumphs, its wartime and peacetime work, and the essential part it has played in shaping London’s economy, geography, tourism and identity. Specially commissioned photography by Benjamin Graham (UK Landscape Photographer of the Year 2017) brings the story to life in vivid portraits of London Underground’s stations, tunnels and trains.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#11Ā Great Gardens of London by Victoria Summerley

Great Gardens of London by Victoria Summerley
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by The Quarto Group fromĀ Quarto Knows.

Great Gardens of London features London’s most beautiful, vibrant gardens, some private, some public. There’s gardens of every imaginable style, shape and size abound on rooftops, within palaces, surrounding churches, behind walls – on every piece of dry land – even if it is floating on or lapped by the river Thames. All captured in gorgeous photos by two of the UK’s leading portrait and garden photographers

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#12Ā London Uncovered By Mark Daly

London Uncovered By Mark Daly
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by The Quarto Group fromĀ Quarto Knows.

This unique London guidebook opens the doors to more than sixty of the capital’s most intriguing places, all open to visitors, but not widely known. From museums of the unusual, places of worship, palaces of entertainment to some of the most historic and ornate shops, houses and hostelries in the city, take a trip through the capital’s hidden treasure and discover a picture of a London which is strange, gaudy, grand and inventive. Describing the history and the character of each place, the book uncovers a wealth of stories about an endlessly fascinating world city with its own unique character.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#13Ā KeeKeeā€™s Big Adventures in London by Shannon Jones

KeeKeeā€™s Big Adventures in London by Shannon Jones
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Shannon Jones fromĀ Idea Sandbox.

Explorers big and small will have a jolly good time trying out fun British expressions, peeking into royal culture, and navigating Londonā€™s beautiful streets on a double-decker bus. Itā€™s the perfect gift and getaway for kids and families who love travel, adventure and exploring the world around them!

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

Contributors to this article
Joe Flanagan fromĀ Daddilife

Jon Deak fromĀ Hot Juice

Alex Kaschuta fromĀ Fundsquire

Ivy Press fromĀ The Quarto Group

Frances Lincoln fromĀ The Quarto Group

White Lion Publishing fromĀ The Quarto Group

Frances Lincoln fromĀ The Quarto Group

White Lion Publishing fromĀ The Quarto Group

The Quarto Group fromĀ Quarto Knows

Shannon Jones fromĀ Idea Sandbox

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Written by Zak Parker

Journalist, writer, musician, professional procrastinator. I'll add more here later.

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