good-pub-guideThe Good Pub Guide 2017
“The pubs featured as Main Entries do pay a fee, which helps to cover the the Guides production costs. But no pub can gain an entry simply by paying this fee. Only pubs that have been inspected anonymously, and approved by us, are invited to join”

Make what you will of the above, but some printed guides do have find revenue streams other than book sales to survive, and for I grateful for that. I just hope that no great pubs are omitted because they will not pay, and instead at least find a home in the listings.

The Guide is large at over 1000 pages and comprehensive with pubs organised by alphabetically by County The main entries are well written and informative detailing the pubs character and layout. Typical beers found in each pub are listed which is obviously beneficial and helpful when looking for pubs with local offerings. Beneath each entry is a section detailing the food the pub offers going into detail where necessary and example prices.

At the end of each chapter (county) are the listing detailing the pubs which did not get a main feature. This is where the gems might lie being included here having declined to pay for a main listing.

This is a great guide and travel companion and of the three guides listed here perhaps the most useful to keep in the car. You never know when it might come in useful especially if you know there is bad traffic ahead and want to stop off for a couple of hours.

good-hotel-guideThe Good Hotel Guide 2017
The Guide has been in publication for almost 40 years now and has proved indispensable to countless travelers in that time. Devoid of the large, corporate, soulless hotels it champions the independent hotelier and smaller chains for which we will be forever grateful. The guide needs no introduction so I will simply just mention my favourite part – the Editors Choice at the beginning. This section includes:-
The Years Discoveries
Romantic
Spas
Seaside
Gourmet
Dog Friendly
Country House
Gardens
Rooms with a View
B&B’s
Value
Gastropubs
Family
Walking
Boutique
Weddings
Tennis and Swimming
Disabled Facilities

Each of the above contains 10 entries with a short write up making it a fantastic guide within the guide.

Each main entry has a page dedicated to it with a selection of images and a “fact” box. I particularly like the laters due to its inclusion of whether the restaurant has music or not. I will do my best to avoid music when dining so perfect for me. The reviews are based (like all the guides) on reader reports as well as the guides own reporters.

goof-food-guideThe Good Food Guide 2017
With 70,000 copies per year being printed, and having been in existence for decades this is the grand old dame of food guides. I recall when I was sommelier in a Michelin starred restaurant avidly reading the guide whilst waiting for guests to leave in the evening. I particularly enjoyed the anecdotes dotted throughout the book with humorous comments on their experiences which when not up to par. I miss this element of the guide greatly. In it’s plae we are treated to short interviews with a selection of chefs enticing you to flick through the whole guide, not just at the restaurants you are interested in.

The book continues to be the “Go To” reference guide for restaurants and can wholly be relied upon. I am often surprised when speaking to other foodies and they claim to only update their copy of the guide every other year. This seems rather odd to me – it most certainly needs to be done every year to keep abreast of the oft fast moving industry.