About us

Who we are…

Rough Guides is a leading publisher of travel and reference information known for its ‘tell it like it is’ attitude, accurate, up-to-date content and informed contemporary writing.

How it all began…

In the summer of 1981, Mark Ellingham, just graduated from Bristol University, was travelling around Greece and couldn’t find a guidebook that remotely met his needs. It was here that he met Martin Dunford, who was in Greece teaching English at the time. On their return to the UK, in a bid to avoid getting ‘real jobs’, Mark, Martin and a small group of writers set about creating their own guidebook series; a series that aimed to combine a journalistic approach to description with a practical approach to travellers’ needs.

Published in 1982, the first Rough Guide – to Greece – was a student scheme that became a publishing phenomenon. The immediate success of the book spawned a series that rapidly covered dozens of destinations, and acquired a broad readership that relished Rough Guides’ wit and inquisitiveness as much as their enthusiastic, critical approach.

In 1994 the first ever non-travel Rough Guides were published – The Rough Guide to World Music and The Rough Guide to Classical Music – and a year later, The Rough Guide to the Internet. The success of all three titles encouraged the expansion into other areas of publishing including popular culture, health and digital trends.

Rough Guides today…

These days, Rough Guides is as much a travel content provider as it is a publisher of guidebooks. The guides themselves – distributed worldwide by the Penguin group – cover more than 200 destinations around the globe and subjects as diverse as Pregnancy and the iPad.

And of course, Rough Guides have also migrated to digital platforms with the launch of Rough Guides city guides for iOS, Android and Windows platforms, interactive e-books and downloadable guide chapters. You can even pick up Rough Guides inspirational apps, like the stunning World Lens travel photography app, Trip Lens, a unique sharing and documenting app, plus the award-winning Rough Roads game, which has had over 12 million plays to date. These days, you can get Rough Guides’ great travel advice anyway you want it.

  • Travel guides to more than 200 worldwide destinations
  • Dictionary phrasebooks for 18 major languages
  • Full colour inspirational guides such as Make the Most of Your Time on Earth
  • Travel Specials including First-Time guides and Travel with Babies and Young Children
  • Music guides running the gamut from Opera to Elvis
  • Reference books on topics as diverse as Climate Change and the Titanic
  • Pop culture reference books on topics as diverse as Social Media, Shakespeare and Psychology
  • Rough Guides eBooks from our across the travel and reference range
  • Apps for travel inspiration

Rough Guides is working with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to help British travellers stay safe overseas. On their website, Know Before You Go, you’ll find travel advice, essential tips and up-to-date country-specific information.