The Road To Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson – A Review

I don’t often post news or reviews that have basically nothing to do with cars, but this is an exception. Being as we here are all fans of British cars, I sense that that love of Britains expands out beyond the cars and encompasses many other things British – people, places, and history just to name a few. Bill Bryson, author and travel writer, The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Brysonhas published a follow-up to his Notes From A Small Island from 20 years ago. The Road To Little Dribbling sess Bryson making his way by foot, car and rail from the south end of England to the far north of Scotland. Along the way, he observes not only the general English condition but makes note of things that have changed since the journey of his early book.

What there is about cars in this book is mostly confined to comments on traffic, car parks, and the rise of tourism through once-quiet areas. These are all things that I think most of us can commiserate with – especially those of us who live in tourist attractive areas. But there are also warming reminiscences of countrysides, railways, tea rooms, and more than a few beers. Again, much of this has a lot in common with many British car club meetings I have attended.

As when some of us complain about the eccentricities of our cars, the casual observer may take Bryson’s curmudgeonly attitude as an indication that he does not like his adopted country. On the contrary, I believe it is the things he grumbles about and the difference between what is and what was or could be that endear the country to him. He says as much in his conclusion where he states the five reasons he believes Britain is so wonderful.

Anyway, if you are a fan of British culture and fancy a travel book that is not a guidebook but instead the diary of a place, then I highly recommend you pick up a copy of The Road To Little Dribbling. If you have not read the early work, Notes from a Small Island, I would recommend it as well but you need not have to read the one to enjoy the other. Be prepared to laugh out loud though and nod in appreciation. And trust me, watch out for those traffic arms.

Michael Carnell
Editor at Just British

Michael Carnell is the editor and founder of the Just British Online Motoring Magazine. As a lifelong British car enthusiast, he has owned or driven British cars of all ages from Austins and MGs to Jaguars and Triumphs. He currently owns a 1966 Vanden Plas Princess 1100 and a 1977 MGB. But there is always room for more - no matter what his wife says.


  1. My wife and I are long time fans of BB, his books are terrific. We read this over Christmas and it is excellent, he just has a way with story telling.

    • I read some of it via that actual paper book, but I listened to a lot of it in the car on the trip to and from Amelia Island. A delightful book and fun way to pass the time.

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