Are you seeking out that perfect holiday read? Well look no further, we reveal our top 10 travel books to inspire you on your next adventure.
- Scott of the Antarctic by David Crane
This is the definitive biography of Captain Scott – the pivotal figure in pre-First World War Antarctic exploration. Crane’s beautifully written and illustrated book re-examines the courage and tragedy of Scott’s last expedition.
- As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee
Laurie Lee’s lyrical account of his voyages as a young man in the 1930s is a masterpiece in English travel writing. Lee, who also wrote Cider with Rosie, describes his departure from a sleepy part of the Cotswolds, to London then Spain, armed with little more than an adventurous spirit and a violin. Exhilarating, whimsical and poetic, it captures a fascinating moment in time.
- South by Ernest Shackleton
Sir Ernest Shackleton’s astonishing memoir of his 1914 Antarctic expedition explores human courage, tenacity and unflagging hope in the face of adversity. South remains one of the greatest polar books of all time.
- A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
This book deviates from Bryson’s popular travel book genre, instead describing general sciences such as chemistry, paleontology, astronomy, and particle physics. In it, he explores time from the Big Bang to the discovery of quantum mechanics, via evolution and geology.Bryson tells the story of science through the stories of the people who made the discoveries, such as Edwin Hubble, Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein.
- Home of the Blizzard by Sir Douglas Mawson
First published in 1930, this very readable volume provides a detailed account of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition’s endeavours. Fascinating and awe inspiring.
- In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin
Described as a “little masterpiece of travel, history, and adventure”, In Patagonia charts a six-month journey made by Bruce Chatwin in 1972 from the Rio Negro to the world’s southernmost city, Ushuaia. A wonderful read for those venturing to the ‘end of the world’.
- Jupiters Travels by Ted Simon
In the late ’70s, Ted Simon rode 63,000 miles over four years through fifty-four countries in a journey that took him around the world. Through breakdowns, prison, war, revolutions, disasters and a Californian commune, he travelled into the depths of fear and reached the heights of euphoria. He met astonishing people and was treated as a spy, a welcome stranger and even a god. For Simon, the trip became a journey into his own soul, and for many others – including bikers Charley Boorman and Ewan McGrergor – it provides an inspiration they will never forget.
- White Limbo: The Classic Story of The First Australian Climb Of Everest by Lincoln Hall
The highest point on earth – the summit of Everest – is every climber’s dream. In 1984, it was the goal of a small team of Australians. They planned a quick, lightweight ascent of an unclimbed route without oxygen. But their battle with storms, avalanches, extreme cold and thin air meant they soon began to run out of time. This is Lincoln Hall’s account of events. Walt Unsworth, Everest historian, wrote, ‘Their actual achievement was astonishing; one of the greatest climbs ever done on the mountain.’
- Corelli’s Mondolin: A Novel by Louis des Bernieres
Extravagant, inventive, emotionally sweeping, Corelli’s Mandolin is the story of a timeless place that one day wakes up to find itself in the jaws of history. The place is the Greek island of Cephallonia where the tide of World War II rolls onto the island’s shores in the form of the conquering Italian army. A love story set against a landscape where the factual blends seamlessly with the fantastic; Corelli’s Mandolin is a passionate novel as rich in ideas as it is genuinely moving.
- The Journals of Captain Cook
Captain James Cook went far, far beyond his humble origins in north Yorkshire to become, arguably, the most innovative and forward-thinking of all the many explorers of the 18th century. He also kept a vivid first-hand record of his ground-breaking voyages, in which he describes new territory in the southern hemisphere, and gives colourful accounts of his time in the islands of the Pacific. This is still in publication – and an original copy of the journals can be seen in the Sir John Ritblat Gallery in the British Library in London.