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Focusing on some of the most photogenic areas of Europe and the United States, this growing series of books is most notable for its magnificent photographs of the lovely villages and towns of the areas covered in each volume.

With literary and historical references, these coffeetable books include appendices listing the most important sites, markets, festivals, hotels, and restaurants.

The Most Beautiful Villages of England The Most Beautiful Villages of Ireland

James Bentley, photographs by Hugh Palmer

Clustered around its parish church and green, or strung out along a curving road, the English village often seems the very embodiment of tranquility. Winding lanes, thatched cottages, and red-brick Georgian houses bespeak a way of life that has developed peacefully over centuries, uninterrupted by war or invasion. Yet, the occasional castle or fortified manor house bears testimony to a more turbulent past, and it should not be forgotten that the style of many village churches—Romanesque or Norman—was originally borne across the English Channel on the wave of conquest.

Each English village possesses its own distinct character, formed by history, location, and, indeed, local building materials. There is a world of difference between the dark-stone villages of the north and the Pennines and the thatched, half-timbered architecture of East Anglia and southern communities. Village forms and layout differ widely too. Eton, in Berkshire, is arranged along a high street and centered on a famous college. The Dorset village of Cerne Abbas is dominated by the figure of a naked, priapic giant, carved into a hillside some 1,500 years ago. In Hawkshead, Cumbria, it is still possible to visit the school attended by William Wordsworth; in Mevagissey, Cornwall, the delights of a Cornish shipping village remain virtually intact.

The richness and diversity of the English village are celebrated here in absorbing commentary and magnificent photography. Grouped by area and subdivided by county—northern, midland, eastern, southern, and western—this volume describes and illustrates the most beautiful villages and that most beautiful of lands—"this earth, this Realme"—this England.

Christopher Fitz-Simon, photographs by Hugh Palmer

Clusters of white cottages huddled in a fold between hills of an unbelievably rich green . . . villages of a single street, dazzling in their array of color washes and picturesque shop and bar signs. . . . Such are the villages of Ireland, the most beautiful of which are captured in Palmer's photographs and Fitz-Simon's commentaries.

Beautiful though many of the villages of Ireland undoubtedly are, they are also working, living communities. The vibrancy and warmth in a village bar or local shop proclaim a culture not yet submerged under mass tourism or the rash of vacation homes that have blighted so many of Europe's prettiest villages and robbed them of traditional ways.

Following the divisions of the ancient provinces — Ulster, Leinster, Connacht, and Munster — the journey is full of fascinating rural gems, some famous and others less well known. There are the coastal villages of Cork with their handsome houses of many hues sloping down to a sea that so many Irish crossed to found other communities in the United States. Roscommon and Galway are proud of their medieval churches, while Ulster villages look toward the Atlantic and seem to be girding themselves against the rigors of the northern climate. Literary and historical associations abound, as in Ardagh, site of pre-Christian settlement and the place where Oliver Goldsmith was inspired to write She Stoops to Conquer.

This visual and verbal record of the Irish village is completed by a guide to the most important sites, markets, hotels, and restaurants.

$24.95 (softcover)
$26.95 (softcover)
The Most Beautiful Villages of Scotland  
Hugh Palmer

In the dramatic landscapes of Scotland, beloved of Romantic poets and composers, lies a wealth of delightful villages, here revealed in Palmer's evocative photographs and commentaries.

The traditional architecture and stunning natural settings of the Highland villages have long proved an attraction to visitors. Some of the most picturesque are former fishing villages, like Auchmithie, from which the herring fleet has long since departed, leaving the splendid harbor to the contemplation of visitors and a couple of lobster boats.

Lowland villages often have an air of quiet, well-ordered prosperity. Rows of stone cottages and a fantastic profusion of hanging baskets make places like Luss on Loch Lomond a charming stop on the road north. Here, too, is the extraordinary Dean Village—a complete, self-contained community surrounded by the city of Edinburgh. And among the many ravishing port-villages on the islands is the little gem of Tobermory on Mull, where the reflection of a main street of brightly painted houses shimmers in the waters of the harbor.

Altogether, thirty-five villages are included. Special sections on the Scottish castle and the monuments of the country's Celtic past round out the account, making this beautiful book one of the most complete pictures of rural Scotland in recent years. A Travelers' Guide listing places to visit, stay, and to eat help the reader to enjoy even more a visit to the Scottish Highlands, Lowlands, and Islands.

$40.00 (hardcover)
Other areas covered in the series (by country):
France Greece Italy Spain The United States
Michelin Red Guides

Transit Maps of the World
Great for cartography-lovers and urban travellers

Replogle Globes
It's really important to see where things are these days

Walker Mesh Bags
Great for packing stuff

World Map Desk Pad



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