52 Wildlife Weekends

A Year of British Wildlife-Watching Breaks

by James Lowen 

£16.99 £15.29

52 Wildlife Weekends – unique guidebook proposing a wildlife-watching break in Britain for every week of the year. Staycation suggestions stretch from Cornwall to northern Scotland and cover all aspects of natural history: mammals, birds, butterflies, moths, dragonflies, other insects, reptiles, amphibians, underwater life, plants and fungi.

3142 in stock

ISBN: 9781804691311

Published:  15th Aug 2023
Size:  135 X 216 mm
Edition:  2
Number of pages:  256

About this book

Bradt’s popular guidebook 52 Wildlife Weekends suggests inspiring itineraries for 52 unforgettable British wildlife-watching breaks, stretching from the Isles of Scilly to northern Scotland – each perfectly timed for every week of the year. Thoroughly updated to reflect Britain’s ever-changing natural history, this second edition integrates the latest information on the country’s most thrilling wildlife experiences, suggests new target species and showcases fabulous new locations.

Written by award-winning author and experienced naturalist James Lowen, 52 Wildlife Weekends remains the only guide to package Britain’s nature-watching highlights into deftly timed, user-friendly holiday suggestions. Say it’s February and you want to watching otters. Or May: time for spring flowers and bewitching butterflies. Or July, and you fancy marvelling at dragonflies. Or October: the height of bird migration. Whenever in the year you get a chance to escape, this book suggests 48 hours’ worth of brilliant wildlife-watching – perfect for staycations, whether as a weekend or part of a longer holiday.

52 Wildlife Weekends suggests a year’s worth of short breaks celebrating the full range of Britain’s most exciting wildlife, from tiny silver-spotted skipper butterflies to gargantuan basking sharks, and from seabird skyscrapers to ostentatious orchids. Covering more than 40 counties or regions, this unique guide offers engaging descriptions, detailed directions (including grid references and postcodes), accommodation suggestions, and assessments of accessibility and (new for this edition) child-friendliness, plus 180 mouth-watering colour photographs.

Find out how, where and when to track down such thrilling creatures as beavers and basking sharks, eagles and otters, dolphins and dragonflies, glow worms and grey seals. Why not open the New Year on a real-life wild goose chase in the Inner Hebrides? Or make a spring pilgrimage to Yorkshire to see truly wild daffodils? Or experience underwater life by peering into rivers for rare fish in Powys, snorkelling in Dorset, or rock-pooling in Devon? Or gawp at starling murmurations, shape-shifting through the autumnal sky, in Suffolk or Somerset.

Combining the very best of travel and wildlife guides, and covering both well-known spectacles and less familiar species, Bradt’s 52 Wildlife Weekends has something for everyone – wildlife experts and novice ecotourists alike.

About the Author

James Lowen ( has been immersed in all aspects of natural history since he was able to walk – his love for nature initially inspired by a chance encounter as a toddler with a buzzard amid South Devon’s leafy lanes. Upon fledging into adult plumage, James flirted with careers as a tropical conservationist and UK diplomat, before becoming an award-winning wildlife and travel writer, editor, guide and photographer. Upon his return to Britain from several years leading wildlife tours in South America and Antarctica, James had an irrepressible desire to renew his relationship with British nature. His books 52 Wildlife Weekends and A Summer of British Wildlife (winner, Travel Guidebook of the Year, 2016) are the result. James’s 11 other books include Bradt’s 52 European Wildlife Weekends (winner, Travel Guidebook of the Year, 2018) and Much Ado About Mothing (a travel narrative longlisted for the 2022 James Cropper Wainwright Prize).


‘A diarised walkthrough of 52 wildlife-filled weekend destinations to explore and experience in every corner of the British countryside, this is a guide that will find a home in the caravans, tent pockets and backpacks of nature-lovers just about everywhere…… 52 Wildlife Weekends will provide many with the inspiration to get close to nature somewhere across our islands, and might add a few destinations to the bucket lists of those already enthused. This is a guide well worth buying?-?regardless of your location, interest or expertise on anything wildlife-related. Let yourself be inspired!’

‘Packed with stunning wildlife photography, this is an ideal guide to the range of British wildlife you can see as well as where to see it and when.’
Powys County Times and Express

‘Each chapter is an invitation to pack a picnic, pull on the walking boots and head out in search of our wonderful wildlife.’
The Simple Things

‘The text is, like the rest of the book, simply superb and full of feeling, as if the author has actually taken you there.’
Highland News

‘A pleasurable and practical read that aims to inspire and inform… an indispensible resource for anyone interested in British wildlife.’
Outdoor Photography

‘A year of wildlife-watching ideas divided into handy weekend breaks’
Countryman Magazine

‘Packaged in a handy-sized and beautifully illustrated book. The sumptuous photographs on the front cover provide a taster of the wonderful variety of wildlife that can be enjoyed across Britain… a great addition to any bookshelf’
The Biggest Twitch

‘An invaluable, inspirational guide and a real bargain to boot.’
BBC Wildlife

“A good idea and a useful guide… packed with information and well written… a good reminder that Britain has plenty of wildlife if you go to the right places, at the right times”
Mark Avery, British Wildlife.

‘Offers inspiring itineraries for a year of unforgettable wildlife-watching breaks across the UK’
Sussex Wildlife Trust

‘This would suit non-specialists as well as seasoned naturalists, and, accompanied by some fine photographs, contains evocative accounts of varied landscapes, from balmy evenings in the Chilterns to the saturated fens of Norfolk.’
Good Book Guide

‘This book provides an excellent starting point for a novice or for a ‘wild’ family to explore nature across beautiful Britain!’ Dorset Wildlife Trust

‘Britain is rich in wildlife, and now, thanks to a new book, seeing all these creatures in their natural habitats has suddenly been made a lot easier.’

‘Learn where to spot basking sharks, forage for fungi, track red squirrels and more, with maps, itineraries and great photos.’
National Geographic Traveller

‘Who needs BBC’s Springwatch when this book has 52 good reasons to get out and see British wildlife for yourself?’
Wild Travel

Additional Information

Table of Contents

1 Wild goose chases and whisky chasers
Argyll & Bute for barnacle goose, Greenland white-fronted goose, white-tailed eagle, otter, goose barnacle
2 Meres, fens and washes
Cambridgeshire for Chinese water deer, bittern, Bewick’s swan, whooper swan, hen harrier
3 Larking about
Hampshire for red deer, roe deer, wood lark, great grey shrike, hawfinch
4 Seal of approval
Durham for harbour seal, grey seal, long-eared owl, waxwing, snow bunting
5 Seaduck go Forth!
Fife & East Lothian for velvet scoter, long-tailed duck, Slavonian grebe, white-tailed eagle, sea buckthorn bracket

6 Touting for Tarka
Northumberland for otter, red squirrel, Mediterranean gull, willow tit, twite
7 Whirling waders, gathering geese, aerial attacks
Lancashire for otter, whooper swan, pink-footed goose, starling roost, scarlet elf cup
8 Kite-flying and Welsh witches
Powys for red kite, raven, dipper, witches beard, Wilson’s filmy fern
9 Dark Peak, white hare
Derbyshire for mountain hare, peregrine, curlew, raven, red grouse

10 From rifles to Ratty
Greater London & Kent for water vole, heronry, Caspian gull, long-eared owl, rook roost
11 Serpents of the sandlings
Suffolk for adder, Mediterranean gull, Dartford warbler, brown hare, mossy stonecrop
12 Daff’s in t’dale
North Yorkshire for wild daffodil, red grouse, goshawk, gannet, kittiwake
13 Wailing heath chicken run
Suffolk & Norfolk for stone-curlew, stoat, grape hyacinth, Breckland speedwell, fingered speedwell

14 Sand and deliver!
Devon for sand crocus, sand lizard, narrow-headed ant, rockpool species, cirl bunting
15 A rabble of reptiles
Dorset for eight species of reptile, natterjack toad, sika, early spider orchid, emperor moth
16 Snakes and snake’s heads
Gloucestershire & Wiltshire for wild boar, adder, goshawk, pied flycatcher, snake’s-head fritillary
17 Highland spring, famous grouse
Highland for black grouse, osprey, golden eagle, pine marten, Kentish glory

18 Dukes and ladies
Kent for lady orchid, bluebell,shingle plants, Duke of Burgundy, dew moth
19 Fantastic fish – and fishers
Radnorshire & Carmarthenshire for sea lamprey, brook lamprey, badger, osprey, wood warbler
20 Pembrokeshire parrots, mystical Manxies
Pembrokeshire for Manx shearwater, puffin, gannet, bluebell, red campion
21 Does the lady’s slipper fit?
Yorkshire & Cumbria for lady’s slipper, coralroot orchid, pearl-bordered fritillary, white-spotted sable, natterjack toad
22 Machair marvels, streaming skuas
Outer Hebrides for machair plants including orchids, corncrake, breeding waders, long-tailed skua, moss carder bee

27 Butterfly high season
Cumbria for high brown fritillary, mountain ringlet, large heath, dune helleborine, dark-red helleborine
28 Island intensity
Northumberland for Arctic tern, roseate tern, puffin, dune helleborine, ballan wrasse
29 There be dragons… and dolphins
Inverness-shire for northern emerald, northern damselfly, bumblebee robberfly, creeping lady’s-tresses, bottlenose dolphin
30 Snorkelling and skippers
Dorset for corkwing wrasse, Lulworth skipper, small red damselfly, heath tiger beetle, Dorset heath
31 Shark!
Cornwall & Devon for blue shark, harbour porpoise, beaver, greater horseshoe bat, silver-studded blue

32 Basking on the Lizard
Cornwall for Cornish heath, bog asphodel, chough, basking shark, red-veined darter
33 Mad Manx and mountains
Ceredigion & Snowdonia for Manx shearwater, osprey, sand lizard, marsh helleborine, feral goat
34 Pelagic paradise
Isles of Scilly for Wilson’s storm-petrel, great shearwater, common dolphin, grey seal, rockpool life
35 Dragonfly delights
Essex & Kent for southern migrant hawker, scarce emerald damselfly, shrill carder bee, water vole, great crested newt

36 Chiltern challenge
Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire for edible dormouse, brown hairstreak, silver-spotted skipper, glowworm, Chiltern gentian
37 Webs, willows and wanderers
Suffolk for fen raft spider, willow emerald damselfly, convolvulus hawk-moth, badger, polecat/ferret 38 The Flamborough front
East Yorkshire for gannet, sooty shearwater, pomarine skua, red-backed shrike, rockpool life
39 Blubber and bucks
Norfolk for harbour seal, fallow deer, bearded tit, yellow-browed warbler, dune waxcap

40 Winner takes all
Suffolk for red deer rut, otter, bearded tit, bittern, little stint
41 Scilly season
Isles of Scilly for migrant birds, lesser white-toothed shrew, basking shark, prickly stick-insect, crimson speckled
42 Don’t spurn the chance
East Yorkshire for migrant songbirds, estuary waders, long-eared owl, woodcock
43 Estuarine exodus
Cheshire & Conwy for pygmy shrew, harvest mouse, feral goat, short-eared owl, chough
44 Leap of faith
North Yorkshire for the salmon run, roe deer, red squirrel, dipper, common crossbill

45 Yew and yours
Sussex for huge yews, fly agaric, water shrew, water vole, brent goose
46 Otterly fabu