65 recommended reads for those traveling to England (or who want to!)

65 recommended reads for those traveling to England (or who want to!)

One of the most common book recommendation requests I get is, What should I read before I travel to _____? I get it, and I love that readers want to prepare for their trips by reading about the place they’re heading to, or they want to visit or revisit a destination via armchair travel.

As the England-related requests keep coming via #WSIRNReaderRecs, I thought I’d put together an easy-to-use, easy-to-reference reader-generated book list.

In this list, we’ve included three three categories with a variety of genres to peruse: London, Oxford, and England, which is a catch-all for other cities and towns. Some books take place in multiple cities so they’re organized according to the predominant setting.

This list is fiction-heavy, so I’ll be especially interested to hear your nonfiction recommendations in the comments.

Some links (including all Amazon links) are affiliate links. More details here.

London

Oxford

England

How have YOU prepared for your English travel adventures? What books here have you read and loved? What would you add to the list?

P.S. Travel reading (full of Scotland recs), My visit to Wigtown, Scotland’s national book town, and A Book lover’s guide to literary Edinburgh.

Literary Tourism: England

142 comments | Comment

142 comments

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  1. Cb says:

    A non-fiction rec: Watching the English by Kate Fox. Written by an academic, but it is incredibly accessible and interesting study of English social mores and behaviour.

  2. Ruth says:

    Fun to see this pop up in my reader, as I am an adopted Londoner of almost 15 years standing. Lots on your lists that I haven’t read but great to see many of my favourites listed – 84 Charing Cross Road, Bridget Jones’s Diary, the Cormoran Strike series, One Day in December, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I Capture the Castle … am I the only one who thought Everyone Brave is Forgiven was utter rubbish?

  3. Lisa Goodhart says:

    I really wish you had added Rosamunde Pilcher’s books to the England list. They are all wonderful and so readable! They are the kind of books you fall into and don’t want to leave! The Shell Seekers is still one of my favorite books after 31 years!

    • Mary Lou says:

      I came upon The Shell Seekers recently through MMD, and can’t figure out how I missed it first time around. When I posted about it on FB, all my college friends said they had read it years ago. Where was I – and then I realized I had enrolled in law school during that period, and in truth the only reading getting done was caselaw. In any event, I’m sooo glad to have found it now. It is a wonderful book.

      • Maureen says:

        Law school just kills your love of reading, doesn’t it?? It took me years to get my reading mojo back.
        I’ve also recently discovered Ms. Pilcher’s novels- adore!

    • Anna says:

      Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher is one of my all time favorites! I re-read it twice last year. Set mostly in Cornwall, she really makes it come alive!

    • Amberly says:

      I just read Winter Solstice! It was my first Rosamunde Pilcher, but it will not be my last! I’ve already ordered the Shell Seekers so it’ll be ready for summer reading.

    • Jill W. says:

      Me, too! My first thought after reading the list was: What? No Rosamunde Pilcher?! I’m currently in the last few pages of Coming Home. I love her writing and her characters.

      • Chris K says:

        I kept looking over the list and was so surprised not to see Rosamunde Pilcher. The Shell Seekers and Winter Solstice!!! I try to read Winter Solstice every December. Such wonderful reads!!

    • Anne says:

      She definitely belongs on here. (The funniest thing is that I JUST finished reading September last week! I know much of it takes place in Scotland but it begins in London…)

  4. Jennifer says:

    You could add The War That Saved My Life and its sequel The War I Finally Won. They are excellent books for young (middle grade) and for adults. I know people in both categories who have enjoyed them. The author is Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.

    • Mary Lou says:

      I loved these two books (The War . . . and The War. . .). I bought them for my granddaughter’s 13th birthday, based on what I read on MMD. I thought I’d just read a page or two before wrapping the books and sending them off, but oh no, I got hooked. So both books are slightly used, sorry to my granddaughter, but I know she will understand. I am not a fan of YA fiction, but these two had me from page 1.

  5. Schuyler says:

    I recently read England For All Seasons by Susan Allen Toth. She’s written a number of travelogues about England and the UK, though I’ve only read one so far. Her love of the area is palpable and would get anyone preparing for a trip very excited I think. I read it after a trip to London, and it made me want to go right back!

    • Les in OR says:

      I read England For All Seasons along with Sarum (Edward Rutherfurd) in prepraration for my first trip to England twenty years ago. Sarum is very long, but I thought it was fabulous!

  6. Stephanie says:

    One of my favorite books of all time is set in England- Back Home by Michelle Magorian, a late middle grade/early YA historical fiction set in post-WWII England about a twelve-year old who had been evacuated to the US at age 7 and struggles to adapt to the country, society, and family that she barely remembers and that has undergone radical changes since she left. It’s incredible. I first read it at around age 11 or 12 and it’s one of the few books I reread every now and then.

  7. Janelle Carlson says:

    These travel lists are such a fantastic idea, Anne. Just perusing the titles makes me want to jump across the pond! 😀

  8. Lisa Smith says:

    Definitely add Rosamunde Pilcher’s books, Cat Steadman (Mr. Nobody just came out and was so enjoyable!) and Lisa Newell’s The Family Upstairs is based in London.

  9. Mindy Leliaert says:

    I agree with a previous comment. I was sorry to see author Rosamunde Pilcher missing from the list. “Coming Home” is a favorite. I had read it 20 years ago, and then reread it last summer, before my trip to Cornwall.
    I will be happy to try some new recommendations though. Thank you!

  10. Lizabeth Snell says:

    My Love Affair with England by Susan Allen Toth, changes the ways to travel.. just a delightful guide. My favorite is how she deals with the dessert trolley!

  11. Paula says:

    Did you really leave out Susan Branch’s A Fine Romance and Bill Bryson’s The Road to Little Dribbling?!?
    Neither are novels but both are the best kind of travel writing!

  12. Rivkah says:

    Fantastic list! Glad to see Bill Bryson’s Notes From a Small Island, which is a favorite! So hilarious! However, if you are going to include Richard III, you absolutely MUST have Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey. Just saw that it was voted Greatest Mystery Novel of All Time in 1990, by the Crime Writers’ Association. One of my absolute favorite books for about 25 years, and I’m not a crime novel person. It is slow to get going, but packs a HUGE punch. Prepare to question what you thought you knew about history – especially Richard III. I don’t want to give anything away, but my husband and I joined the Richard III Society after reading this book. (Fair warning: it is one of a series, and we were pulled in enough to read and enjoy more Tey, but nothing touches this one.)

    • Stephany says:

      Me, too! I stumbled across Katherine about 15 years ago and was blown away by the story and the writing. It’s the book the really got me back into reading after a rather long dry spell as a mom of little kiddos. What a wonderful keepsake to connect you to your mom.

    • Sue says:

      My sisters and I loved KATHERINE as well, and it got us started on historical royal romance, including those from Noah Lofts, Jean Plaidy and Philippa Gregory.

  13. Heidi says:

    Connie Willis’s time travel books are all set in Oxfordshire and London, at various times in history. I particularly love Blackout and All Clear, which are primarily set in London during the Blitz.

  14. Rada Foote says:

    Here are two non-fiction recommendations. Britain’s Royal Families by Alison Weir which is a genealogy of the royal household, totally fascinating. And A History of Britain by Simon Schama. His writing style combines big and small words together and is a little bit cheeky.

  15. Patricia says:

    A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside, a lovely handwritten and illustrated travel diary by Susan Branch. It’s a hand-painted love story about her voyage on the Queen Mary II and two months in England, touring the countryside and sharing stories, recipes, and travel tips. Each page is a piece of art — filled with paintings, pictures, and her handwritten and unique thoughts about everything from pubs to Beatrix Potters Hill Top Farm. It is both whimsical and a visual tour de force of art and words.
    I just finished reading it for the second time…leaves you craving a proper cup of tea and biscuits.

  16. Beth says:

    A few others I’ve really enjoyed: A Month in the Country (quiet, beautiful book about a man recovering after WWI), Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (light hearted, fast paced), The Improbability of Love (explores the art world in a fun way), and A House Full of Daughters (a memoir of 7 generations of an English family). Thank you for the list!

  17. Cathy says:

    My favorite British series are the Fairacre and Thrush Green series by Miss Read – setting is the Cotswolds (Oxford area) and village life. I found the setting for one of the series (Witney) when I was in England – felt as if I had dropped into the novel!

  18. Lindsey A says:

    I read the whole James Herriot series, and his photographic tour “James Herriot’s Yorkshire” before I went to Yorkshire. It’s such a beautiful area! I also recommend any of the Sherlock Holmes books before a trip to London, or Laurie R. King’s Mary Russel and Sherlock Holmes books.

  19. Jess Hoffman says:

    I would add The Other Bolelyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. I’m interested to see nonfiction recs too. A House Full of Daughters (recommended by someone above) sounds interesting!

  20. Anna says:

    The Beekeeper’s Apprentice and other books by Laurie King would be a great addition to the list. So would The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson and The Professor and the Madman!

  21. Mark Taylor says:

    Looking at this list I have read some and will add others to my TBR list. Though as someone who lives in England but not in Oxford or London, i feel i can widen the reading list
    1:- The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce, which tells you a lot about the English people and what makes us tick
    2:- the Inspector Resnick series by John Harvey, about a detective in Nottingham in the later 20th and early 21st century in a provincial English city.
    3:-Sons and Lovers by D.H.Lawrence, a book I read recently as part of my MMD 2020 reading challenge read a local writer. Based on the authors life it set 100 years ago and about the lifes of the working class.

    Sorry for the long post but I thought I could not give these recommendations without saying why.

  22. Elizabeth says:

    I love this list!! So glad to see Becoming Mrs. Lewis, Guernsey, Kate Morton, and the Madwoman Upstairs on there. I’m also glad to see Surprised by Oxford — it’s one of my all-time favorite books and I return to it periodically. I’d echo the recommendations I’ve seen from others her for The War that Saved My Life and its sequel, as well as The Shell Seekers. I’m listening to The Shell Seekers right now actually, and it’s because of One Great Book! I’m loving it and looking forward to checking out more Rosamunde Pilcher afterwards. I’d also recommend Julia Baird’s biography on Queen Victoria (Victoria: The Queen) for this list. It’s hefty but extremely interesting and so well-written — it reads like an intriguing novel!

  23. London says:

    Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams for the immigrant experience of living in modern London. Same with White Teeth by Zadie Smith.

  24. Estella says:

    I was so happy to see A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside mentioned in the replies. This beautiful, charming travelogue is not to be missed!

  25. Shannon Hsu says:

    For fiction, I’d suggest adding Wolf Hall and Bringing up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. As for non-fiction, The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson is good.

    • P Nadler says:

      The Hilary Mantel books are outstanding! Hard to get in to but so worth it. Historical fiction- I learned so much about this time period.

  26. Linda says:

    I would add the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series by Deborah Crombie. They take place not only in London, but also in many of the other towns of England. These books have made me want to visit England more than any others.

  27. Jeannine Loftus says:

    Adding some England non-fiction
    I just finished Portrait Of Oxford, Hal Cheetham (circa 1971)
    Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill by Sonia Purnell
    H Is for Hawk by Helen McDonald
    Historical fiction
    Enchantress of Numbers by Jennifer Chiaverini
    Fiction
    in addition to many listed above I have loved the Clifton Chronicles, Kane & Abel series & William Warrick novels by Jeffrey Archer.
    Belgravia by Julian Fellowes
    Finding Henry Applebee by Celia Reynolds

  28. Nicholette Anand says:

    Great post. I look forward to more travel themed lists! The books I would add to this are The Gown by Jennifer Robinson, All creatures great and small by James Herriot, and The Chillbury Ladies’ Choir.

  29. Katie says:

    Sharon Kay Penman! One of my favorites for historical fiction. Don’t be discouraged by the size. They are fabulous. My personal favorite is the Sunne in Splendor. A great way to learn about the war of the roses.

  30. Ashley says:

    I read Notes From a Small Island when I was in England for a semester in college and it rang so (hilariously) true. I’m glad to see it on this list!

  31. Hokidoki says:

    I would add Brick Lane by Monica Ali and the erotic stories for the Punjabi widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal. Both showcase the diversity of London population

  32. Monica Wilson says:

    HIGHLY Recommended – Susan Branch’s “A Fine Romance – Falling in Love With the English Countryside” – a gorgeous travelogue of Susan and her husband’s trip through England for their 25th anniversary. This book is a delight to read (be sure and read it with a cup of tea!). It not only made me feel like I was traveling right alongside them, it made me want to plan a trip there myself. Susan Branch, of calendar and cookbook fame, is a talented artist and photographer and the book is handwritten with her lovely artwork and photos throughout. (I also highly recommend her other two memoirs – The Fairy Tale Girl and Isle of Dreams, not about England, but also so enjoyable!)

  33. Donna says:

    Fantasy? “Harry Potter”, “The Once and Future King” and “The Mists of Avalon”.

    Classics? Anything by Dickens, the Bronte sisters, Thomas Hardy.

    Modern classics? “Poldark”, “Forever Amber”, anything by Georgette Heyer. Don’t overlook Stella Reilly; “The Black Madonna” was recently reissued, and she has a charming set of romances that begins with “The Parfit Knight.”

    Of course there are oodles of romance books set in England; Mary Balogh, Julia Quinn, Judith McNaught, Lucinda Brant, Stephanie Laurens, just to name some authors off of the top of my head.

  34. Just finished Phillipa Gregory’s Tidelands set in a remote stretch of English coastline (specifically Selsey Island near Chichester) in the time of Oliver Cromwell and King Charles (1648). Would be a good addition for historical fiction! Also, what about The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. And both Jenny Colgan’s Bookshop on the Corner and Bookshop on the Shore would be good fits for England.

  35. Karrie says:

    I would like to recommend “A Fine Romance:Falling in Love With The English Countryside” by Susan Branch. It is a beautiful watercolor illustrated journal of her once in a lifetime two month dream trip through the English countryside, including crossing the Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2. I could not put it down!

    • Amy says:

      This book is the one that inspired me to stop thinking about a trip to England and actually just do it! I loved her artwork, the journal style, and everything else. I would highly recommend this as well!

  36. Terry says:

    I loved reading “The Bookman’s Tale” after visiting the British Library. It meant so much more after seeing the literary treasures housed there!

  37. Mari says:

    Master and Commander -series by Patrick O’Brian. 1812 British Navy historical. Terrific series. Great on audio
    Sherlock Holmes -how did the list not mention him?????
    Non fiction -Margaret Thatcher by Charles Moore. Probably one of the greatest biographies ever written. Dense but great
    Tommy by Richard Holmes. Its on my TBR and recommended by someone with great taste in history. Its the story of the “British soldier” in World War One told through the letters, diaries and memories of those who fought in it.
    In the same line I recommend wholeheartedly “They Shall Not Grow Old” a documentary by Peter Jackson (he of LOTR fame). Using real documentary footage from WWI, this also tells the story of the British soldier in WWI. Its made accessible by the amazing job Jackson did in restoring, colorizing and slowing down the actual footage. He also got actors in to lip read what the men were saying. Very powerful. It will stay with me a long time.
    Non fiction on a completely different note:
    The Spy and the Traitor by Ben MacIntyre -an espionage story set in the cold war. This is all about MI6 and Russian double agents. Real life James Bond stuff. I couldn’t put it down.His other books are amazing too!
    Another fiction title: Anything by James Herriot. Strong, strong sense of place.
    Also, Watership Down. for English countryside.

  38. Mari says:

    One more non fiction -for those of us fascinated by the British class system: “The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy.” by David Cannadin. Would pair well with “Brideshead Revisited.”

  39. Donna says:

    Classic children’s books also offer a fine sense of England: “The Wind in the Willows”, “Winnie the Pooh”, “The Secret Garden”, “Peter Pan”, “Mary Poppins”, “Dr. Doolittle” and the like.

    • Emily Tandy says:

      The Brother Cadfael series is really enjoyable historical mystery fiction.
      I love the Vera series by Ann Cleeves (the show is fab too).
      The Secret Garden is one of the first books that made me want to visit the UK.
      Also, we have to mention Agatha Christie!

  40. Emily Webster says:

    What about books about New York? I’m going there for the first time in March and would love to read about it- I’m kind of a blank slate when it comes to NYC! Any recommendations would be appreciated!!

    • Lee Ann says:

      I just finished Brooklyn by Colm Toibin; an Irish girl immigrates there in the late 1950s/early 1960s. It was made into a movie in 2015 starring Saorise Ronan.

    • Jayda says:

      Check out Time after Time by Lisa Grunwald – historical fiction with a time-bending/travel twist. After reading it, you will have to visit Grand Central Terminal! Another great fiction book set in 1920s NYC is Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. If you don’t mind huge books, I love Edward Rutherfurd’s epic historic books. He has one called New York.

  41. SusanK says:

    Love the tips on A Fine Romance! Thank you, readers.
    Want to add Poldark by Winston Graham to the Cornwall recs, agree with adding anything Thomas Hardy, for mysteries, please read Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce novels, Martha Grimes’ Richard Jury series, and P. D. James’ Inspector Dalgliesh series. And for horses, because what’s dearer to the English than their horses (!), please read Dick Francis! Horse racing, thrillers, mysteries, romance and great heroes. (Ask @strongsenseofplace!)

  42. Linda says:

    A few of my favorite authors with series set in England are; Ruth Rendell, Peter Robinson, Martha Grimes and Elizabeth George. They all bring the people, cities and countyside into our lives in a truly descriptive way.

  43. Brenda Rogers says:

    Love following you but very excited about new “Literary Tourism”! I love to read books tied in with where I am traveling – just makes it all so much richer. Great idea!!!

  44. Lee Ann says:

    I’d include Emma and Persuasion with Pride and Prejudice.
    Yes to Georgette Heyer’s (I hoped someone would mention her!) well-researched, fun Regency romances and to Patrick O’Brian; though most of the Aubrey/Maturin series takes place in other countries they usually have at least part of the book set in England.
    I didn’t see any mention of Ellis Peters’ outstanding Brother Cadfael mysteries. Cadfael is a former sailor who becomes a Benedictine monk in Shrewsbury. The series is set during the war between King Stephen and Empress Maud, and Cadfael’s work as the abbey’s herbalist allows him to go out of the cloister and solve mysteries. My husband and I went to Shrewsbury on our first trip to England because of Cadfael.
    One more series I just thought of is Susan Cooper’s beautiful The Dark Is Rising sequence, set in England and Wales.

  45. Emma says:

    The Five!
    It’s about the victims of Jack the Ripper and why their lives, and reclaiming who they are as individuals is so important. London’s East End setting and history within the book is incredible. I also did a Feminist Jack the Ripper walking tour when I was in London this past summer – and it brought the book to life for me. Cannot recommend highly enough!

  46. Dona Scott says:

    Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson is a favorite of mine. Although it is outdated, it’s a wonderful read. And nonfiction.

  47. Emma says:

    Wow I’ve lived in England all my life and not read most of those MMD. Not sure Guernsey is officially England. Great books Ive read recently set in England were Old Baggage by Lissa Evans,The Essex Serpent,The Librarian by Sally Vickers. Dear Mrs Bird and The Lido were quite gentle. Goodnight Mr Tom is a good book for children, very heartwarming set in the war. I loved Toms Midnight Garden as a child. Probably my favourite after The Secret Garden.

  48. MAri says:

    Oooh! Oooh! One more great author if you like WWII stories, along the lines of “The War that Saved My Life” but written for adults -D E Stevenson. I loved “The Listening Valley” and I have heard great things about Miss Buncle’s Books.
    Also the Flavia De Luc series.

  49. Beth B says:

    The Casual Vacancy, The Queen Takes the Train, The Chillbury Ladies Choir and The Girl on the Train are a few books that take place in England. The last one really hits home if you take any quick trips outside of London on one of the trains. Many of the houses you pass by could easily be the one described in the book.

  50. Aimee says:

    You have my personal favorite, Notes from a Small Island, already listed! This next recommendation is YA but such a beautiful story with lovely descriptions of the English countryside – The War That Saved My Life.

  51. Stacey says:

    I love so many books on this list, but wow, is it dominated by white authors. A few other suggestions: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo. Anything by Zadie Smith. Small Island by Andrea Levy. Why I No Longer Talk To White People About Race – Reni Enno-Lodge. The Noughts and Crosses series by Malorie Blackman. Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro.

  52. Adrien says:

    For Oxford- The His Dark Materials series for sure, as well as the prequel The Book of Dust. When I visited I went straight for the Botanic Gardens for this reason.

  53. Allison Killins says:

    for non-fiction I recommend The Professor and the Madman : a tale of murder, insanity and the Oxford English Dictionary. Set in Oxford and other areas of england. You can’t get more English than the OED and it reads like a mystery novel too.

  54. Lydia says:

    Whispers Underground van Ben Aaronvitch (London), The Poldark Series (Cornwall), The Railway Detective Series (England). Great to see so many of my favourites, to-reads and new ones on this list!

    • Theresa Decker says:

      Warms my heart to see my new favorite fantasy series, the All Souls trilogy, on here (it begins with A Discovery of Witches). The second one is even better. I would add The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (super quirky, fun time travel book with a ton of literary satire) and The Scent Of Water by Elizabeth Goudge (not fantasy… Just lovely literary fiction).

  55. Sheri says:

    Thank you for this fabulous list! We are going to London for spring break, so the timing is perfect. Any London suggestions for kids/middle-grade/YA?

  56. Jayda says:

    I love this list! I am going to England this spring and can’t wait to read some of these that I haven’t already read. Some of my other favorites include: Transcription, Life after Life, and A God in Ruins – all by Kate Atkinson – and Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner. For nonfiction, I really enjoyed Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking by Deborah Cadbury.

    • Katie says:

      I was going to mention Life after Life. It brings to life that pre/post WW2 South East England era really well.

      As for non-fiction, what about Kate Humble’s Thinking on my Feet? It’s a memoir a year walking in the British countryside – you can’t get much more British than a country walk and a cup of tea…

      For middle grade readers, Beswitched by Kate Saunders is fun – a modern girl gets magically transported to a 50s boarding school. Very spiffing. And for modern, true to everyday life British humour, My Brother Is A Superhero hits the mark.

  57. Kay Mitchell says:

    Cazelet series about World War 11 by Elizabeth Jane Howard…I discovered this series which was recommended by a character in a Pilcher novel. Love the whole list and all the additional suggestions. I still own my grandmother’s copy of Katherine which I have read on and off for over forty years.

    • Anne D. says:

      I’m about to read it since it’s translated in french (my mother tongue)and published in France in a week!It looks great and the french cover is beautiful.
      I would add to this list the Rotters’Club by Jonathan Coe (3 books).
      Sorry for my poor english.

  58. Maria says:

    Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies by Hillary Mantel should be on this list. The final book in the Cromwell trilogy, The Mirror and the Light is coming out this spring. The first two both won the Man Booker Prize.

    Tudor intrigue and life under a mercurial and easily swayed tyrant with unlimited powers – an interesting read in current times …

  59. Crystal says:

    We read Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier, a historical fiction novel about Mary Anning, a fossil hunter from the Lyme Regis area. When we went to England last fall, we actually went to Charmouth Beach in that area and found our own fossils, as well as saw the real fossils Anning discovered, now housed in the National History Museum in London. One of our favorite trip!

    Also, for Winnie-the-Pooh fans, A.A. Milne lived near the Ashdown Forest, which inspired the Hundred Acre Woods.

  60. Mari says:

    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith
    The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton
    Breakfast at Tiffany’s-Truman Capote
    Just Kids – Patti Smith (memoir of her life with Robert Mapplethorpe in the late 60s/ early 70s)

  61. Emma says:

    Remarkable Creatures is a lovely book. Love Lyme Regis, we go fossil hunting a lot there. There is a great sea glass beach there too.They have the best second hand bookshop ever.Laura Purcell’s books are set in England and historical too.Quite spooky. First one Silent Companions was the best. The ending in The Corset annoyed me. Michelle Paver’s Wakenhyrst is good but dark. Dark Matter and Thin Air very good but not set in England.

    If you like boarding school or time switch stories Charlotte Sometimes is just great. Another of my childhood favourites. Middle grade and set in England.

  62. Michelle says:

    The Booker Winner, Girl, Women, Other by Bernadine Evaristo is an excellent evocation of London life -I’ve lived in London over twenty years and have rarely so enjoyed a book set ( mostly) there. I also recently really enjoyed Tracey Chevalier’s A single thread – a historical novel set mostly in and around Winchester.

  63. Lynn Koenig says:

    The DCI Tom Douglas series by Rachel Abbott. I also love Rosamund Pilcher, especially The Shell Seekers and Winter Solstice. Although Ireland is not England, they are neighbors, and Tana French is a wonderful writer.

  64. Laurel says:

    I love the Deborah Crombie series! The series takes place all over England. Thanks for all of the great book suggestions!

  65. Donna says:

    I read “Wild Designs” by Katie Fforde. It is about a women who designed a small garden for The Chelsea Flower Show. I had been to London maybe twice before. I’m from California. After reading this book, I got an RHS membership and got tickets to The Chelsea Flower Show. I loved it. I then went to London every year for eleven years straight! I would save all year for that one week in London every May. I would rent a flat at the Nell Gwynn House in Chelsea, a nice walk to the flower show. I still have the original paperback book on my bookshelf, I just checked it for the spelling of the authors name! I’ve read many of the books from your wonderful list and have been to London about thirty more times. Books can change your life!

  66. Angela in NC says:

    For nonfiction, Ackroyd’s London: A Biography is wonderful! I read it before a trip to London and felt like I learned the layout and history of the city before ever arriving. It was so much fun to then see the places in person.

  67. Amy says:

    Before our first trip a couple of years ago, I read Edward Rutherfurd’s London and Sarum, which were great! Anything by Bill Bryson is good as well, and of course 84 Charring Cross and Duchess of Bloomsbury. Also, Another vote for the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peal Pie Society and The Chilbury Ladies Choir. There are SO many fantastic books set in the UK, as well as fantastic BBC programs that the list could just go on and on!

  68. Jeannette says:

    I have to admit I have not read all the comments but I would add books in the Laurie R. King series of mysteries with Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell. Several take place in London and in other English sites. The main characters live in Sussex.

  69. Becky says:

    I second Connie Willis’s time travel series! The first two are set in Oxford and the third and fourth in London. Sci-fi/time travel really isn’t my genre of choice, but, wow, these are well done. First time in a looong time I’ve stayed up most of the night (while in London, at that) to finish a book! Also second Daughter of Time before a visit to the Tower of London. Tey’s books are so good if you like Agatha Christie, this one in particular–but also The Singing Sands is what first made me want to visit the Isle of Skye in Scotland. And–before ANY trip to England–a bookish person must read How the Heather Looks (in which Joan Bodger and her young family travel around England as Americans on sabbatical in the early 1960s and find the sites of great British children’s literature; she even finds and interviews the elusive Arthur Ransome and also A.A. Milne’s wife).

  70. Lisa Russell says:

    I discovered the author Kate Ellis while on a trip to Scotland. Her Wesley Peterson series takes place in Devon. She does a fantastic job combining historical details with a modern mystery. I also loved Cassandra Clare’s YA Infernal Devices trilogy that is set in Victorian London.

  71. I can recommend an author, Dorothy Koomson, who is an author of colour if you want to increase your reading diversity.

    She writes books set in England – Leeds and Brighton (by the sea) – which is where she lives and has studied.

    I would call her books “thinking women’s fiction” – it is smart, compelling, very readable fiction. My favourite is The Friend, which is a more sombre Big Little Lies 🙂

  72. Leah says:

    The Lost Book of the Grail by Charlie Lovett (along with a couple more titles of his) is a good England addition to this list. Thanks for these travel lists Anne- so helpful!

  73. Linda says:

    I didn’t make it through all the comments, so don’t know if this has been suggested. “The Story of Britain: From the Norman Conquest to the European Union,” by Patrick Dillon. This is a kid’s book. But if you need help in unraveling Britain’s history, it’s perfect.

  74. Miranda says:

    Someone else may have already mentioned, but I’m currently reading the Veronica Speedwell series by Deanna Raybourn and really enjoying them. I also really loved Dear Mrs. Bird by A. J. Pearce — it’s set in London during WWII.

  75. Rachel says:

    On the non-fiction side, I’ll add “English History Made Brief, Irreverent, and Pleasurable” by Lacey Baldwin Smith– it is short and sarcastic, but a lot of fun to read (and super helpful when you’re reading something else and need a quick refresh on the War of the Roses or to figure out which King George is being referred to!)

  76. Carolyn says:

    “The Perfect London Walk” by Roger Ebert. LOVED 84 Charing Cross Road. The film is good, too! (Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins)

  77. Kerry Seiwert says:

    I believe you have missed a very sweet book–Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn. It is charming and I loved it!

  78. Hallie says:

    I would like to add The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro, to this list. The side subject of men in power who become manipulated into helping Germany during WWII was quite interesting, but the work of the servants in a prestigious “country house” was fascinating.

  79. Susan says:

    Joanna Trollope, descendant of Anthony, writes wonderful contemporary novels. The Rector’s Wife, The Choir, The Village Affair and many others are situational classics.

  80. Julie K. says:

    I agree with the other comments about Susan Branch’s A Fine Romance. It was marvelous both artistically and storytelling! I just finished reading Barbara Pym’s Excellent Women. Barbara Pym was an English novelist and this particular book’s main character was a vicar’s daughter who is single in her 30’s and her observations on single life, relationships and parish life in small British churches are hysterical! I highly recommend checking out Barbara Pym’s writing and the forward of this book was written beautiful by Alexander McCall Smith.

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