Criteria for recommendations

To help our readers choose where to have a drink, where to eat or where to stay, our authors, editors and contributors have been asked to list the places they have particularly enjoyed or would happily recommend to others. BLUE GUIDES RECOMMENDED hotels, bars, cafes and restaurants are flagged in the text of our books. Here, on our website we list only the recommended establishments.

We aim to recommend establishments that are typical of the place, well situated for the historic centre or main sights and tending more to the classic and charming than the brash or minimalist. We aim to cover all prices; from the very elegant and expensive to the good value and good fun.

Unlike many guide books, we only recommend establishments that we have visited. If you have any comment on a recommendation, we need your feedback.

Statement of Editorial Independence

Note that our information is genuinely independent: we do not accept payment for inclusion on our recommended lists in our books or on this website, nor do we receive any payment from hotels if you click through to their site or make a booking with them.

The statement from the first ever Blue Guide: "Advertisements of every kind are rigorously excluded from this and every other volume of the Blue Guides Series" is as true now as it was in 1918.


History of accommodation and dining recommendations in the Blue Guides

There is an eccentric, but often-repeated, view that vulgar practicalities such as where to eat well or sleep comfortably have never been included in the Blue Guides, and that any attempt to slip in such lowly matter represents "dumbing down" - proof that the Blue Guides (and everything else) are Getting Worse.

Findlay Muirhead in the first ever Blue Guide, Blue Guide London and its Environs (1918), listed 150 restaurants, with accompanying text, dividing them into Restaurants, Luncheon Rooms, Food Reform and Vegetarian Restaurants, Oyster Saloons and Tea Rooms, marking with an asterisk those that were of "special interest or excellence".  And his son forty years later introducing Blue Guide Florence (edition 1957) hastened to point out that "such practical questions as the choice of hotels and restaurants are fully covered".

While the greater part of a Blue Guide now, as then, does indeed concentrate on the older cultural aspects of a place - art, history, architecture, archaeology - contemporary culture in the form of food and drink constitutes an important part of any trip and is certainly not ignored: "being serious about art doesn't mean you can't be serious about lunch too" (Tom Howells, Blue Guides' publisher, quoted in Conde Nast Traveller magazine).