[img align=right]http://www.mychild.co.uk/sites/mychild.co.uk/files/501things.jpg[/img]501 Days out for Kids in the UK and Ireland
• Project Editor: Emma Hill
• Hardcover: 544 pages
• Publisher: Bounty Books
• ISBN: 978-0753718872
This is an interesting, good looking book. The premise that it provides 501 suggestions for days out is enticing, and some of the ideas are, certainly, novel and fun; for example a day on the Docklands Light Railway, listing all the attractions which you could visit en route. Mostly the authors have tried to make each listing a full day trip, so where a visit may only take half a day, they have paired it with another local attraction so you can 'make a day of it'.
I should start off by making it clear that I have really enjoyed dipping into this book. It is available from internet sources for £7.50 including postage.
Which brings me to how the book ‘works’: The country has been split into geographical areas and these are in blue tabs on the top corner of the page. They have even provided a map of the UK and Ireland at the front of the book. Alas this map is not marked out into the same geographical areas that the information sections are split into.
No web addresses or indeed postal addresses are included in the book, so if you do fancy using some of the ideas, you still need to do a full plan yourself and find out where each attraction is . The days out are assigned codes for suitability, who it’s aimed at etc: the key for most of these is on the map page, although part of the key is in the introduction. The days are marked as free, inexpensive, average or expensive: you’ll have to hunt for the key to these descriptors, so I’ll save you the effort. For some reason this information is on the copyright page, in similar typeface to all the publisher information.
There are many authors; mostly assigned by area. The different language styles and preferences do show up when reading between areas, which makes one doubt the consistency of opinions between the areas too. A little more editing could have smoothed this wrinkle easily: as it is the book seems rushed, a feeling which is further supported by the inconsistent code/symbol keys and the fact that a few of the descriptions are almost verbatim copies of advertising blurb from the attractions' own websites.
In summary, this book is full of interesting ideas, looks good and is good value for current retail price but is not a stand-alone guide and although the individual components are great the book as a whole doesn’t hang together well. An enjoyable coffee table book rather than a guide book.
Not sure if we are assigning a score but I'd give it 3/5 stars if anyone asked!