Has its faults, but still a good value for its price
Todd Post | Arlington, VA USA | 04/03/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased this DVD in conjunction with purchasing Rick Steves' "Great Britian 2002" book in preparation of a trip to London with a weekend getaway to Bath and the Cotswolds. I found the DVD to be somewhat of a resource, but not as much as the book.As the other reviewer mentioned, the two main flaws of this DVD is that it spends way too little time on London itself (I ended up spending eight days in London and *still* didn't see everything), while wasting time on other things such as how to take photos without a tripod or flash.What this really seems to be is a combination of three of his PBS shows, one that touches on London and Scotland, one that continues in Scotland and covers Ireland, and another that goes over Wales and the English countryside. There are DVD "bonus materials" of Blackpool (kind of useless), Stratford-upon-Avon, and Blenheim Palace (just north of Oxford). To get what I needed out of the DVD, I found myself skipping around to different chapters and fast forwarding through parts of others.Despite these problems, I do still recommend this because you get a 90+ minute video ... and because it's on DVD and you can skip to what you need, it still can be useful to everyone. Some people may not care about going to Bath like I did, so they could just skip to Belfast if that is what they were interested in. It was also nice to come back from my trip and see everything again, including a pub in Broad Campden we ate at that I didn't even realize was on the DVD.What I don't understand is that I have seen Rick's show on PBS, and I have seen episodes which dealt entirely on London, so I don't know why more on the city wasn't included. Perhaps he needed to come up with two DVDs, one on London and other sights in England, and another on Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Perhaps this production is a victim of trying to do too much in one title, rather than giving proper treatment to everything covered.I would still buy this DVD, but realize that it might not have everything you want, it might have things you don't want, and you'll definitely have to supplement it with a Great Britian guidebook and possibly on on London itself."
T. Crosby | South Dakota | 05/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have several of Rick Steves travel videos/book-I buy them to prep for my vacations and I find them very helpful. Apparently some reviewers prefer the old-fashion, scenes and voice-overs routine-this is not that! Rick Steves prefers a personable appraoch which obviously serves two purposes; first of all it engages the viewer on a casual level (as a fellow traveler)which allows us to join in the adventure. Secondly, he role-models the proper etiquette/manners all travelers should demonstrate as they mingle with citizens of other countries.He does this while he points out key/traditional sites to visit as well as places off the beaten path you might prefer to venture to as well. Remember, vacations are restricted to a time-frame, you cannot possibly do everything and see everything so, with that in mind follow Rick Steves no-nonsense approach of sticking to the basics while customizing your vacation by "thinking ahead." Another feature I've learned to appreciate is the little tid-bits Rick Steves peppers through out his shows like,"how to pack/what to take." Point being-you're on vacation-not moving in! Rick Steves focus is to help you streamline your holidays so that your memories will be more than just one-big-blur! As a traveler, I trust Rick Steves because he himself is a traveler and has been since his youth-it's his life, not a pastime, as it is with so many other would-be-traveler-writers.Raise your travel dreams to their upright and locked positions....................................."
An Ego Trip for Rick Steves
Rebecca Johnson | 04/18/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I am giving this a low grade because Rick Steves appears in nearly every scene. I would much prefer to view England with a background voice-over instead of watching Rick Steves chatting people up and feeding his face.
His book, however, is truly helpful and filled with wonderful advice."
British Isles in 3 hours and 30 minutes
Rebecca Johnson | Washington State | 12/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The most intriguing bookstore is the world's largest secondhand bookstore in Hay-on-Wye in Wales. ~Rick Steves
Rick Steves explores the British Isles in order to experience local customs and to mingle with the locals in pubs and at festivals. The London & Edinburgh show is perhaps the funniest Rick Steves' travel diary yet. These are very personal journeys, not unlike a travel diary that tells of who you met and where you ate, not to mention which museum you discovered.
Rick Steves has an amazing talent for making the unknown seem like something you may want to discover. He also has a great appreciation for beauty and likes to have fun traveling with his family. He takes his family on a day trip to Blackpool where they enjoy Amusement Park rides. His wife is all smiles as Rick Steves explains the historical significance of monuments to his children. She seems to be having the best time of her life and seems to share Rick Steves' sense of adventure.
The three main sections of this DVD include:
London & Edinburgh
Wales, Cotswold & Bath
Ireland, Dublin & Belfast
Then there are three special sections for Blenheim Palace, Blackpool and Stratford. You get to see where Shakespeare's wife lived (Anne Hathaway's Cottage), where they now put on Shakespeare's plays in a replica of the original theatre, the Globe. The gardens are refreshing and somewhat untamed in all their beauty. If you love gardening, you may enjoy the brief moments when you can guess the names of the flowers as the camera sweeps through the garden.
There are also scenes of gorgeous outdoor settings with rushing streams amidst romantic settings, crumbling stonewalls that run for miles through the countryside (Hadrian's Wall), mansions you could get lost in and little tea shops hidden in bed and breakfast locations in quaint towns. The food looks especially delicious and if you stay in a quaint B&B, the owners can give recommendations, not to mention giving you directions for how to find your way around the Cotswold Villages.
Rick Steves freely gives his advice and explains why he enjoys Cambridge over Oxford and gives tips on how to pack for your vacation. He also shows how to preserve your memories by taking great pictures.
Of all the travel shows on the British Isles, this completely explains the main events in history, highlights the places you want to visit or lets you vicariously enjoy memories of your trip to London, Ireland or Wales. You may also start dreaming of again visiting Medieval castles or have a desire to learn how to make an Irish cable knit sweater or start looking for a cardigan.
As someone who has been to London as a teenager, this DVD made me wish I could instantly return for a long vacation! Especially to see the castles. Until I can travel again, I'll live vicariously through Rick Steves' magnificent and fun adventures. He has a great sense of humor and his love for travel will awaken your own sense of discovery.
~The Rebecca Review
P.S. If you enjoy the Best of Travels in Europe adventure, look for Rick Steves' Great Britain 2005, a book that is a nice companion to the DVD.