Seven of our Favourite Books Set in the English Countryside

Seven of our Favourite Books Set in the English Countryside

Wondering what books to stash into your staycation suitcase? We’ve picked our all-time favourites set in the blissful British countryside, from cult-classic novels to timeless travelogues and the children’s adventure story we still can’t put down.

Heights, Wind in the Willows and Watership Down may
steal the top prizes for the most well-loved tomes set in England‘s
green and pleasant pastures, but rifle through the shelves and
you’ll find lesser-known but equally evocative English literary

We’ve pulled together a shortlist of our favourite books set in
the blissful
British countryside
. From cult-classic novels to timeless
travelogues and a children’s adventure story we still can’t put
down, these titles are as good for armchair adventures as they are
stashing in a weekend bag for a staycation.

Your staycation reading list, sorted: seven of our favourite
books set in the English countryside

The Old Ways

Robert Macfarlane

They say that writing and walking are the best companions, and
Macfarlane’s genre-defining book proves this with a punch. Follow
in his footsteps as he walks the tracks, drove-roads and sea paths
that form an ancient network of routes zig-zagging across Britain,
discovering a lost world of pilgrimage and ritual along the road.
Weaving stories of landscape with tales of the heart and mind, the
book captures the sacred journeys that inspire our imaginations and
draws on Britain’s wildly underappreciated landscape with a strong
sense of place and purpose.



Isabella Tree

When Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell took a leap
of faith and decided to give back their clay farmland to nature,
the move sparked a first-of-its-kind rewilding experiment that
introduced free-roaming cattle, ponies, pigs and deer to their
3,500-acre ecology project. Part memoir, part gripping account of
the natural wonders of our countryside, this timely book tells an
inspirational story of conservation and courage, and reminds us
what can happen when we let nature take its course.


The Shepherd’s Life

James Rebanks

For fans of Ronald Blythe’s Akenfield, a picture-perfect
portrait of the English countryside and its people, James Rebanks’
first memoir gives a similarly lyrical account of British rural
life through the lens of a 21st-century shepherd. At once gentle
and angry, the story is a compelling document of this rapidly
disappearing way of life, and a testament to the importance of
connecting to the land.


London is a Forest

Paul Wood

Who knew that London was the world’s largest urban forest? Walk
alongside Paul Wood as he journeys the paths that meander through
the beating heart of London, exploring the forest’s past and future
and uncovering a few of its lesser-known inhabitants along the way.
Subverting the idea that a forest needs to be dense, desolate and
impenetrable, the book takes us through a series of six urban
“forest trails”, examining our relationship and attitudes towards
them and revealing legends and anecdotes along the way.


A Month in the Country

J.L. Carr

Battling with shell shock from the First World War, Tom Birkin
finds refuge in the sleepy pace of Yorkshire village life by
restoring a medieval mural he comes across in the local church in
Oxgodby. The painstaking renovation is accompanied by the war
veteran’s own healing of spirit. It’s an elegant and tender account
of his memories from that time, an uplifting tale of salvation in
the midst of emotional trauma, and a very apt read for our current


Swallows and Amazons

Arthur Ransome

English literature’s answer to Huckleberry Finn, Swallows and
Amazons is Arthur Ransome’s charming children’s tale of the Walker
family’s summer holidays spent sailing in the Lake District,
hunting for stolen treasures and camping under the open skies of
Wild Cat Island. A classic children’s adventure story, the novel is
a delicate portrayal of juvenile friendships and a mesmerising
depiction of the Lakes’ landscape.


Jamaica Inn

Daphne du Maurier

A chilling and evocative portrayal of the Cornish moors and
coast, Daphne du Maurier’s fourth novel tells the story of young
Mary Yellan as she honours her mother’s dying request to join her
aunt and uncle at the isolated, foreboding Jamaica Inn. As Mary is
unwillingly dragged into the lawless world of a gang of criminals,
du Maurier explores evil in its purest form with a sharp feel for
landscape, character and plot.


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