Bill Bryson Travels the length of the UK... and discovers its all much the same.

Patrick Down on Wed 29 March 2000

Having done the USA and Mainland Europe, it seemed the obvious next move really. A trip round Britain, his adopted home. Of course, he decided to make it a little more difficult for himself than that, abandoning his car at home in Yorkshire and vowing to make his way round Britain using only his legs and the public transport system. Even in the days before Virgin trains and rail privatisation, this was a bold move.
Ultimately, one is left feeling the major problem with this book is his affection for Britain. Yes, he notes that the architecture could be a lot better, and yes, he's a little disappointed to discover that everywhere is much the same really, but all the same you get the impression he really rather likes the place. When he went round the US, what made the book so wonderful was his utter disdain for everything he saw, it was a brilliant work of satire, a damning indictment of modern America. This is just a moderately funny travel book, describing places we all already know. It's an enjoyable enough read all the same, pick up a copy for your next long (Virgin ?) train journey.
Rating: 8.0

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