Books of the week

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The Independent Travel
The Best Guide to Days Out ever: Around Britain 1998-99 (Best Guides, pounds 9.99, published February 27) by Alyson Spark (ed.)

With details on over 7,000 venues and 6,000 special events among its 1,232 pages, The Best Guide to Days Out ever is packed with all the inspiration and information you'll need to make the most of your precious weekends. There are historic houses to visit, crumbling castles to explore, art exhibitions to enjoy, film festivals to view and woodland walks to wander. And that's before you've even noticed all the concerts, fairs, gardens, palaces, museums, markets, parks and Easter egg hunts!

For ease of use the book breaks Britain down into 11 separate regions, under which the attractions are alphabetically catalogued and include details such as opening hours, admission prices, contact names and telephone numbers. There is also a free discount card entitling the holder to money off entrance fees in a few hundred places.

One could question the value of some of the entries (where to see "Princess Diana's lawnmower"; where and when to see "Mrs Freeman's famous Fridge Magnet Collection") but on the whole the book is an excellent ensemble of fun family days out.

The Best of the Family Welcome Guide (Poolside, pounds 7.95) by Jill Foster & Malcolm Hamer.

This book contains the creme de la creme of family-friendly hotels, pubs, restaurants and self-catering facilities in Britain. All the establishments provide the basic services that families require such as cots, high chairs and free baby monitoring in hotels, and children's menus and separate areas for families in pubs. Each entry is briefly described and assessed in clear, down-to-earth detail.

The asking price is a little steep for such a small book, but it is the right size for your glove compartment, and will nicely complement your family days out (see above).

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