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I'm coming from Australia to visit my Dad in Bridport (UK) in Dorset.

We want to drive to Bristol to see the Brunel Museum and we want to direct ourselves to see the Clifton Suspension Bridge on the way.

To plan out our driving journey, we'd like to get a paper map.

My question is: How to get driving (paper) maps in Dorset?

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    I would bet the people of Visit Dorset or one of their visitor information centers would know. – Zach Lipton Mar 12 '18 at 10:12
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    Both the sites you mention are in Bristol, which isn't in Dorset. – DaveP Mar 12 '18 at 11:10
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    If you can get someone to drop you off at a railway station you could get a train to Bristol arriving in Brunel's Temple Meads station and avoid the hassle of parking in Bristol. – mdewey Mar 12 '18 at 14:15
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    You can buy a road atlas in most stationery/book stores in England. They're cheap, easy to read, and plan-worthy. – user52676 Mar 12 '18 at 14:50
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    @Fattie yes, though the choice in supermarket petrol stations (best value for fuel and account for many of them in towns) is poor. At the motorway services or on a major A road you can expect a good selection. – Chris H - UK Mar 13 '18 at 6:58
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The Geographers' A-Z Map Company (who do the famous London A-Z street atlas) also do similar roadmaps for every UK county and city, including Dorset (county) and Bristol (the city of your two stated destinations). You can buy all their products online, and at large stationery shops, for example WH Smith, you will find the relevant local maps. The South West England and South Wales A-Z Road Map covers Bridport and Bristol on one map, although you might prefer to use road signs to get into the coverage of the larger-scale 50 miles around Bristol map.

That said I would heartily recommend that one of you downloads the Waze app on their smartphone and uses that for navigation. Waze has the google map data and also, crucially for UK driving, has access to crowdsourced live traffic data. You really don't want to find yourself on the M5 on one of its bad days...

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    For such a short journey if you don't have data for your phone (or it's expensive) checking the traffic before you set off should be sufficient. Also avoiding the M5 and going via Shepton Mallet works well (or via Glastonbury and/or Wells, to see them on the way) – Chris H - UK Mar 12 '18 at 16:31
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    Google Maps traffic data is (IME) pretty good - no need for a separate app. – Andrew Mar 12 '18 at 22:17
  • @ChrisH pretty much all UK airports sell SIM cards for 10-20 pounds. That's comparable to the cost of a map. – JonathanReez Mar 12 '18 at 23:52
  • @JonathanReez fair point, it's a while since I looked. But I tend to aaoid the assumption that visitors (or indeed anyone) will always have a connection. If you do go across country the signal isn't great in that area (I was cycling there at the weekend) which is another reason to use paper or check before you leave. – Chris H - UK Mar 13 '18 at 11:55
  • @ChrisH there are also offline maps available with excellent coverage... honestly there's no reason to ever use paper maps anymore for driving. – JonathanReez Mar 13 '18 at 20:55
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The Ordnance Survey do road maps, and the one you'd need is sheet 7 - South West England. Saying that, for actual navigation I'd always recommend a traditional road atlas (combined with, as AakashM says, a traffic-watching GPS to avoid the snarl-ups on the M5). You should be able to get one in any decent bookshop, or in most petrol stations or motorway services. I'd got for one of the "concise" ones that are a smaller size, as the big A3 size ones can be rather unwieldy. Something like this one from the AA, for example.

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If you're sure you want paper maps, it's probably best to just get a UK road atlas. The UK isn't a very big country so they're not very expensive.

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    This does not answer the question, which asks where/how to get them – Nick C Mar 12 '18 at 15:46
  • @NickC It's a book. Amazon? – David Richerby Mar 12 '18 at 16:49
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    Any petrol station – Ian Turton Mar 12 '18 at 18:06
  • @IanTurton - I was going to say that. They sell them at every motorway services and every petrol station. – Valorum Mar 12 '18 at 23:07
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Paper road atlases designed for exactly this are usually pretty widely and cheaply available in the UK from stationers such as WH Smith or Waterstone's, or any of a number of independent local retailers. You could probably buy one in advance from your favourite online retailer to be delivered to your UK destination, ready for you. A nationwide atlas is likely to be perfectly workable and not that expensive (under GBP 10); I've usually only bothered with county-specific atlases (note, as another poster said, that the sites you're looking for are in Bristol, not Dorset) where I need fine detail of residential areas.

All that said, I wouldn't buy one and haven't in years. Waze is an excellent free GPS navigation application with crowdsourced traffic data and more up-to-date maps which will make your journey much smoother. If you're concerned about data charges, Google Maps is also excellent for satnav and can be used completely offline if you download maps in advance - it doesn't take much device space for a really quite large area, and I traveled round northern Scotland that way last year with almost no signal but excellent navigation.

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Most bookshops sell paper maps - Waterstones is the big national chain, but local bookshops will sell them too.

You can also pick up 2-3 year old road atlases in many bargain bookshops (e.g. The Works) for about £2. It's probably cheaper than buying them online, given you'd have to pay postage too.

If you head to the local tourist information centre, they often have free maps within leaflets for either specific attractions, or a group of local places. Depending on what you're after, they may be sufficient in some cases. They certainly would be as a supplement to a national road atlas.

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Just buy one of these,

https://www.amazon.co.uk/2018-Collins-Road-Atlas-Britain/dp/0008214557

enter image description here

I think those are still widely available in the UK.

  • bookshops at the airport (when you arrive)?
  • at petrol stations en route?
  • certainly at large bookstores in cities.

I much prefer "real, old-fashioned" paper folding maps,

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Explorer-Purbeck-Dorchester-Weymouth-Swanage/dp/0319242544

enter image description here

but they're harder to find.

(Well, trivially available online - if you have time just buy one from amazon .co.uk and they'll post it to you in Oz.)

There's actually a famous map shop in London, if you're in London you should go .. stanfords.co.uk‎

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  • The asker implies their father lives in the uk, so getting Amazon to deliver to him would be more sensible than sending the map to Australia. – David Richerby Mar 13 '18 at 9:34
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    @Fattie - was blissfully unaware of stanfords until you mentioned it. There's also one in Bristol according to their website ... will have to pay a visit (I'm down there in the summer) – Algy Taylor Mar 13 '18 at 10:46
  • re: Stanfords - visited the shop in Bristol. I assume the London one's bigger, but ... wow. I went downstairs and eavesdropped on a telephone conversation of a chap on the desk who was helping someone over the phone. They were after walking map for some bizarre Eastern European country ... Azerbaijan maybe or Armenia - somewhere like that ... incredible customer service, he spent so long on the phone going through everything, going in detail through accuracy problems with one of the maps they wanted ... incredible. – Algy Taylor Apr 8 '20 at 8:57
  • right, a great british institution ! – Fattie Apr 8 '20 at 11:47
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An option no one else has mentioned is to pop into a local Halfords, which is your one stop car/bike/cycle parts and motoring-related-tat superstore chain - the nearest one to Bridport is in Dorchester.

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As an ex-Brit I'd vote for buying a cheap road atlas from a service station (or Halfords) when you land.

But, another option if you're in the Perth Metro W.A. and desperate to plan ahead is to try here:- http://www.chartandmapshop.com.au

It's a great shop to just browse in and should have what you're looking for.

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