The Bradt Story
When Hilary Bradt and her then husband George set out on their travels in South America in 1973, little could they have realised that the journey they were embarking upon would lead to the creation of what has become one of the most esteemed travel publishing companies in the world.
Hilary and George wrote their first guide over 40 years ago on a river barge floating down a tributary of the Amazon. Bradt Travel Guides was born. Today the company publishes over 200 titles, including full-country travel guides, regional guides, wildlife guides, Slow Travel guides to special areas of Britain, and works of travel literature.
Bradt has a reputation as a pioneer in tackling ‘unusual’ destinations, for championing the causes of sustainable travel, and for the high quality of its writing. Our books are intended to be as entertaining to read as they are useful reservoirs of tourist information. And they have personality. Each is a one-of-a-kind expression of the author’s interests, expertise and passion for telling it how it really is.
A great many Bradt guides have been ‘firsts’ – we published the first real guide to Africa in 1977, the first to East Germany before re-unification, the first standalone guides to Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia when the Baltic States became independent of the Soviet Union, the first individual guides to countries of the Balkans following the break-up of Yugoslavia, the first guide to the ‘new’ South Africa following the release of Nelson Mandela, the first guide to Rwanda following the genocide.
Bosnia, Belarus, Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovakia, Ukraine, Mozambique, Congo, Sierra Leone, Somaliland, Swaziland, Guyana, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bahia – these are just a few of Bradt’s ‘firsts’, and many of them remain the only tourist guides available.
Our attention to quality has brought many awards including:
- Sunday Times Small Publisher of the Year Award, 1997
- Gold Award in the Wanderlust Best Guidebook Awards, 2009, 2011 and 2015
- The Oldie’s Best Guidebook Series Award, 2010
- Independent Publishers’ Guild Trade Publisher of the Year Commendation, 2011
- Which? magazine’s Top Recommended Travel Guide Publisher, 2011 and 2012
- Travel Media Awards’ Travel Guidebook of the Year' for James Lowens' A Summer of British Wildlife.
- British Guild of Travel Writers Awards for Best Guidebook for many guidebooks, including Lille (2004), Panama (2005), Hungary (2006), Yukon (2008), Flanders (2012), Slow Cornwall & the Scilly Isles (2013), Slow Travel North Devon & Exmoor (2015) and The Basque Country and Navarre (2016)
- Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism (USA) Award for Best Guidebook given to Bradt’s Iceland by Andrew Evans
- Hilary Bradt received the BGTW Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009
- Adrian Phillips (Bradt’s Publishing Director and author of Hungary and Budapest) was voted BGTW Travel Writer of the Year in 2012 and AITO’s Travel Writer of the Year (runner-up)
- Mike Unwin (author of Swaziland, 100 Bizarre Animals and Southern African Wildlife) was voted BGTW Travel Writer of the Year in 2013 and LATA Travel Writer of the Year in 2010
In 2008 Hilary Bradt was awarded an MBE.
The Bradt Team
Hilary Bradt MBE
Co-Founder, Director – hilarybradt.com
Trained as an occupational therapist and worked as an OT in Edinburgh, London, Boston and San Francisco, travelling for a few months between jobs, before becoming unemployable when the gaps between jobs were noticed. Married George Bradt in 1972 and spent the next four years in South America and Africa, accidentally founding Bradt Travel Guides en route. After splitting with George in 1980, gradually built up the publishing business while spending two months or so each year leading treks and wildlife tours to South America, Kenya and Madagascar, writing a few books and publishing a lot more.
Favourite Destination: Madagascar
Little-known Fact: As a school girl in the 1950s was considered too dim to go to university so learned German, not Latin. First trip abroad was to Germany to stay with pen-friend. Hated it; hated her.
Managing Director @adrianphillips1
Adrian has a staggeringly poor sense of direction, which means he's well-acquainted with travelling off the beaten track. It was therefore entirely appropriate that he should join Bradt in 2001, after completing a PhD in English Literature.
In addition to working on the publishing side of the fence, Adrian is a leading travel writer and broadcaster. He writes for the national press (including The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, Wanderlust and National Geographic Traveller) and has authored Bradt guides to Budapest and Hungary. The latter was voted Best Guidebook of the Year by the British Guild of Travel Writers, and Adrian has received several other awards, including the BGTW Travel Writer of the Year and the AITO Travel Writer of the Year (runner-up). He makes frequent broadcast appearances on the BBC and SKY.
Favourite destination: Hungary (as the author of the Bradt guide to Hungary, and as the husband of a Hungarian, he has to say that...)
Little-known fact: Adrian’s sense of direction is so poor that he followed the wrong procession from the cemetery following his grandmother’s funeral and ended up at a stranger’s wake in High Wycombe rather than his own family’s one in Chorleywood.
Financial Director & Chairman
Peter qualified as a chartered accountant in 1979 and followed a successful career in public practice. He particularly enjoyed the opportunities this provided to gain knowledge and experience of the commercial issues and strategies applicable to a wide variety of businesses which informed the advice he was able to give to his clients.
He first became involved with Bradt when Hilary became a client over 20 years ago. An increasingly close association with the company led to appointment as non- executive director in 2003. In 2008 after over 30 years in the accountancy profession he decided that it was time to change direction and was very pleased to be able to take the opportunity to become executive finance director for Bradt.
Head of Editorial
When she joined Bradt in February 2013, Claire brought with her more than twenty years’ experience editing travel guides, both in the UK and Australia. At her desk she gains enormous satisfaction from correcting hyphens and en-dashes; away from the office she spends her time visiting out-of-the-way museums, trawling the internet for exciting camping innovations and planning her next holiday.
Favourite Destination: Wilsons Promontory National Park
Little-known fact: Favourite time of the day: 06.30 for a walk in the woods.
Worked at the Bank of England for 13 years then joined Bradt in 1977, when her children were toddlers. This part-time employment turned into a full-time job covering all aspects of the business from accounts to packing parcels. The company was run from Janet’s home for many years. Rumour has it that she has retired several times; in fact it is only once! Now works two days a week in the Editorial Department, where she particularly enjoys proofreading and correcting grammar.
Favourite Destinations: Sabi Sand in South Africa and Cornwall
Little-known fact: Fanatical supporter and season-ticket holder at Arsenal Football Club
Senior Sales Executive