Cool Places - The best places to stay in the UK

The Best Places to Stay in the UK

About Us

The founders of Rough Guides and Cool Camping have joined forces to create a brand new website,, focused on the best places to sleep, eat, drink and shop in Britain.

“Our focus is on the authentic, independent and quirky, with each area explored personally by a local author”

Managing Director, Martin Dunford

“Life’s too short to stay in a bad B&B or settle for an average meal!”

Co-founder Jonathan Knight

"Put simply, if somewhere makes it on to the Cool Places list, it’s well worth a visit.”

Co-founder Mark Ellingham

What is Cool Places?

Cool Places  is the only website of its kind to focus purely on the UK and what it has to offer as a travel destination, both for locals and tourists. Its team of regional experts keep on-the-ground information constantly up-to-date, and this is supplemented by user-generated comments and recommendations. In addition users can check out deals and special offers, some of them exclusive to the site, with easy links to book hotels, restaurants, train and coach tickets.

Our reviews are written by locally based contributors  with expert knowledge. They provide a fresh and contemporary take on places they know well. The result is the most engaging and trustworthy website on attractions right across Britain: seaside resorts, small towns, major cities, and London neighbourhoods.

Not only that: we at Cool Places are keen in particular to recommend all the independent businesses that make the UK so unique – from artisan bakers to farm shops, canoe trips to gastronomic tours, and from the tiniest B&B to the grandest boutique hotel.  We are unashamedly choosy, and only include the places that we like, so you can be sure that by using the site you'll be tapping into the very best that the country has to offer. But we'd like you to help too, by telling us about places you have enjoyed on your travels, or the best places in your area, on the basis that if you like somewhere, there's a good chance someone else will too. For more on Cool Places click here.

Meet the Team

Martin Dunford is one of the co-founders of Rough Guides and was the publisher there for many years, leaving in 2010 to focus on the digital travel world. He is the managing director of Cool Places, an investor and consultant at and a freelance writer and editor, focused in part on the UK. His most recent book, the Rough Guide to Norfolk & Suffolk, was published in May 2012.

Jonathan Knight wrote and published Cool Camping England in 2006, which became an instant travel bestseller. Since then, the Cool Camping series, published by Jonathan’s company Punk Publishing, has become the biggest-selling UK camping guidebook series, and has become the leading website for UK campsites and luxury campsites.  Other Punk titles include the popular Wild Swimming series, cycling guide Escape Routes and food guidebook Taste Britain.

Mark Ellingham founded Rough Guides in 1982, when he wrote the very first guide (to Greece). He ran the series for the next 25 years as Rough Guides became a household name with guides to more than 150 destinations. He and his partners sold Rough Guides to Penguin and Mark currently runs a small press, Sort Of Books, most famous for Chris Stewart’s Driving Over Lemons. He is also a director of the travel magazine Wanderlust, Songlines world music magazine and Punk Publishing.

Kenny Grant designed and coded the Cool Places website and apps, and is currently writing a guide to Notting Hill for Cool Places. He also runs Mechanism Design in London, programming and designing apps, web, and print for a range of publishing and software companies.

Amy Sheldrake is the project manager for Cool Places, managing the technical, editorial and design aspects of the website, as well as the sales and marketing for the company. She also wrote the Camden guide for Cool Places and helps out Punk Publishing whenever they need a camper.

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