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Rough Guide smoothed our travel

Chikester town centre where there are lots of little shops

Dracula was certainly not on our minds as we drove down the A1 towards the North Yorkshire coast.

However, we checked into bustling Whitby and reached for the glove compartment and the new Rough Guide to Great Britain put Bram Stoker’s works firmly into focus.

Whitby has, apparently, changed little since the time Stoker penned his words and the guide proved invaluable even in a small place like this.

We didn’t, however, take the guide’s advice on where to eat. Do try the Fisherman’s Wife 2, the view and the fish and chips are memorable.

However, we did use the guide to work our way around this bustling and atmospheric town.

And we used the guide extensively during our travels south to London and then to Hastings, Eastbourne, Brighton and Chichester, a charming town with lots of little shops. It began life as a Roman settlement and the 12th-century cathedral is worth a visit.

We also checked the guide out in our home city of Edinburgh and it pointed us towards a bar we had passed many times but had not ventured in.

It was just one of a number of pubs and restaurants and clubs mentioned in the city and the port of Leith which is also the home of the former Royal Yacht Britannia. That is worth a visit.

So, it may by bulky but the guide proved essential reading as it is packed with information on transport, tours and opening times.

It also provides information on sites of Victorian industry to cutting-edge modern art galleries, ancient stone circles and seaside resorts like Whitby and Scarborough and, of course, suggestions on where to eat and have a small refreshment. It costs £19.99.

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