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Bill Bryson's hilarious tour of his adopted country: the book that was voted the nation's favourite book on modern Britain in a World Book Day BBC poll.

In 1995, before leaving his much-loved home in North Yorkshire to move back to the States for a few years with his family, Bill Bryson insisted on taking one last trip around Britain, a sort of valedictory tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home. His aim was to take stock of the nation's public face and private parts (as it were), and to analyse what precisely it was he loved so much about a country that had produced Marmite; a military hero whose dying wish was to be kissed by a fellow named Hardy; place names like Farleigh Wallop, Titsey and Shellow Bowells; people who said 'Mustn't grumble', and ‘Ooh lovely’ at the sight of a cup of tea and a plate of biscuits; and Gardeners' Question Time. Notes from a Small Island was a huge number-one bestseller when it was first published, and has become the nation's most loved book about Britain, going on to sell over two million copies.


Not a book that should be read in public, for fear of emitting loud snorts

The Times

Laugh-out-loud funny

The Good Book Guide

Splendid... What's enjoyable is that there's as much of Bryson in here as there is of Britain

Sunday Telegraph

Bryson is funny because he is not afraid to give completely of himself

Daily Express

Astute and funny...a tribute to [Britain's] enchantments by an unabashed anglophile.

New York Times

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    September 1, 2015

    Black Swan

    384 pages

    RRP $24.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    May 1, 2010

    Transworld Digital

    384 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Audio Book


    June 15, 2004

    Corgi Audio

    RRP $32.99

    Online retailers


    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Bill Bryson

A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Road to Little Dribbling
Down Under
Mother Tongue: Popular Penguins
At Home (Illustrated Edition)
One Summer
A Really Short History of Nearly Everything
At Home
Troublesome Words
Icons of England
The Lost Continent
Bryson's Dictionary: for Writers and Editors
The Life And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid
Bryson's Dictionary
Neither Here, Nor There
Bill Bryson's African Diary
Notes From A Big Country
A Walk In The Woods
Made In America
Large Print: One Summer
Large Print: At Home


The Road to Little Dribbling
The Map That Leads To You
The Man Who Climbs Trees
Long Road from Jarrow
A Sky Full of Birds
Behind the Scenes at the Museum of Baked Beans
I Never Knew That About Britain: The Quiz Book
Set the Boy Free
Far and Away
Field Notes from the Edge
Britannia Obscura
David Jason: My Life
You Are Awful (But I Like You)
On the Slow Train Again
Without Reservations