The Bradt Story
It all began in 1974 on an Amazon river barge. During an 18-month trip through South America, two adventurous young backpackers – Hilary Bradt and her then husband, George – decided to write about the hiking trails they had discovered through the Andes.
Backpacking Along Ancient Ways Peru & Bolivia included the very first descriptions of the Inca Trail. It was the start of a colourful journey to becoming one of the best-loved travel publishers in the world; you can read about this in more detail on the Our Story page.
Getting There First
Hilary quickly gained a reputation for being a true travel pioneer, and in the 1980s she started to publish guides by other writers to places overlooked by other travel publishers. The Bradt Guides list became a roll call of guidebook ‘firsts’.
We published the first guide to Madagascar, followed by Mauritius, Czechoslovakia and Vietnam. The 1990s saw the beginning of our extensive coverage of Africa: Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa and Eritrea.
Later, post-conflict guides became a feature: Rwanda, Mozambique, Angola and Sierra Leone, as well as the first standalone guides to the Baltic States following the fall of the Iron Curtain, and the first post-war guides to Bosnia, Kosovo and Albania.
50 years later and we are the world’s largest independently-owned guidebook publisher, with over 200 titles in print. However, our ethos is unchanged. Hilary is still involved, and we still get there first: over 70% of our city, region and country guides still have no direct competition from other publishers.
But we don’t just get there first. Our guides are known for being more comprehensive than any other series. We avoid templates and tick-lists. Each guide is a one-of-a-kind expression of an expert author’s interests, knowledge and enthusiasm for telling it like it really is.
Want to know more? Check out the video below.
We have events lined up throughout the year, with our flagship event taking place in London in September with Hilary Bradt herself. Sign up to our email list below to be kept up to date with the details.
Taking the Risk
Hilary’s memoir, Taking the Risk, is published in May 2024. It’s an engaging, insightful, amusing and sometimes alarming account of serendipitous adventures in travel and publishing.
Hilary will be speaking about her memoir at a number of other UK events:
NB these events are not organised by Bradt and details may be subject to change – please contact the organisers for more information.
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