Combat cabin fever with these beautiful new books that will whisk you away

Kate Worthington, Cat Olley
·8-min read
Photo credit: Haarkon
Photo credit: Haarkon

From ELLE Decoration

As packing up and setting off on far-flung travels may not be possible for a little while, escaping to the realms of our imaginations and planning adventures for the future has never felt so needed.

To truly take a break from reality and indulge in the art of daydreaming though, we recommend downing screens, eschewing social media and getting lost among the printed page. Try these new and soon-to-be published wanderlust-inducing titles and see where they take you…

Haarkon Adventures: Scotland by India Hobson and Magnus Edmondson

Photo credit: India Hobson and Magnus Edmondson, Scotland, Haarkon Adventures
Photo credit: India Hobson and Magnus Edmondson, Scotland, Haarkon Adventures

First conceived as an outlet for Sheffield-based photographers India Hobson and Magnus Edmondson to archive their favourite shots, the Haarkon blog has since spurred a series of printed photo journals. This second travel title, which centres on Edinburgh and the country’s wilder north, reveals an eye for both drama and detail: on one page a staggering shot of Skye; on another, a selection of characterful signs they stumbled across on the way. Pictures are punctuated by evocative introductions and useful tips: a stylish place to stay; a checklist of local wildlife to spot; and which side of the train has the best views.
£15, haarkon.co.uk

Postcards

Photo credit: Postcards, Lodestars Anthology
Photo credit: Postcards, Lodestars Anthology

Is there any format so steeped in nostalgia as the postcard? With life on lockdown, the team behind indie travel magazine Lodestars Anthology asked their favourite photographers to delve into their hard drives and – without brief or expectation – reflect on a single shot that spoke to them. The resulting compilation of cards is a meditation on the fleeting and treasured moments of travel.
£10, lodestarsanthology.co.uk

Living in the Mountains

Photo credit: Living in the Mountains, Phaidon
Photo credit: Living in the Mountains, Phaidon

'There is something timeless in the beauty of mountain landscapes.’ So opens this coffee-table tome, which makes a convincing case for living among the peaks through its global survey of 50 architecturally designed homes. The appeal of life at high altitude is clear – profound remoteness, knockout views – but it’s easy to overlook that each abode is an unlikely feat of design and engineering. To tackle such challenging terrain requires imagination, resourcefulness and grit, and the results showcased represent the cutting edge of architecture today. A cantilevered house in the Andes and a modern barn conversion set on a sloping pasture in Poland are among some of the biggest triumphs. £29.95, phaidon.com

Travel by Design

Photo credit: Travel by Design, Assouline
Photo credit: Travel by Design, Assouline

Spanning six continents and 60 countries, this world tour is shaped by the personal photographs of 150 top US interior designers and architects, who share incisive insights into the creative inspiration on offer. Highlights include Bolivian salt flats, Japan’s Naoshima island and riotous colour inColombia’s Cartagena, plus a snapshot of the British Isles through the eyes of outsiders.
£70, eu.assouline.com

Inside Marrakesh: Enchanting Homes and Gardens by Meryanne Loum-Martin

Photo credit: Inside Marrakesh, Rizzoli
Photo credit: Inside Marrakesh, Rizzoli

It’s little wonder that a city built by artisans has proved such an enduring source of inspiration for the world’s creative class (perhaps most famously, Yves Saint Laurent arrived in the 1960s with his partner Pierre Bergé, who later set up a museum in the designer’s name). Decades later, the bohemian spirit and sensuality of Marrakesh has captivated a new wave of wanderers, including designer Jasper Conran, artist Brice Marden and entrepreneur Vanessa Branson. Your guide to the city is local interior designer and hotelier Meryanne Loum-Martin, who has charted a tour of sensational private residences, including refurbished riads, lush gardens and a few deceptively modern spaces.
£46, rizzoliusa.com

Nordic Cycle

Photo credit: Nordic Cycle, Gestalten
Photo credit: Nordic Cycle, Gestalten

You don’t have to be handy on a bike to appreciate this astonishing portrait of cycling in some of the world’s most northernmost reaches, though it’s likely to inspire you back into the saddle. Mountain biker Tobias Woggon’s musings on his adventures in Scotland, Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Russia’s Kamchatka peninsula are dotted with profiles of their inhabitants and dramatic shots of landscapes that dwarf their determined riders.
£25.99, gestalten.com

The New York Times Explorer: 100 Trips Around The World

Photo credit: New York Times Explorer: 100 Trips Around the World, Taschen
Photo credit: New York Times Explorer: 100 Trips Around the World, Taschen

This compilation of travel columns from The New York Times is by turns poetic and practical – and sometimes both at the same time. Its most compelling entries are also its most idiosyncratic: think abandoned fishing towns in Newfoundland; the ins and outs of catching a ride on a cargo ship; and a saga tracing the origins of absinthe in Switzerland and France. One to dip into or devour.
£30, taschen.com

The World by Michael Poliza

Photo credit: Michael Poliza, The World, Taschen
Photo credit: Michael Poliza, The World, Taschen

Less a travel guide and more a visual tribute to our planet in all its startling wonder, this ambitiously named book begins with nature photographer Michael Poliza’s qualifier that he ‘hasn’t been everywhere and seen everything’. What he has seen, though, he’s recorded spectacularly. This new edition is a little less weighty than last year’s limited XXL run
£50, books-teneues.com

Wanderlust Europe

Photo credit: Wanderlust Europe, Gestalten
Photo credit: Wanderlust Europe, Gestalten

This epic portrait of Europe by foot traces bucket-list routes through lush Greek valleys, Icelandic fjords and Corsican hinterlands, plus a showstopping trek through mountainous northern Georgia, where the loftiest peaks dwarf the Alps. Practical notes cover stopovers, supplies and which months will best aid efforts to dodge crowds, midges or unexpected snowdrifts, and there’s a bonus section at the back with further ideas in brief. Make no mistake: many are geared towards the experienced hiker or the seriously enthusiastic amateur – some walks are weeks long, topping out at a 60-day odyssey through Latvia and Estonia – but its visions of life on the trail will even tempt those with little intention of whipping out the walking boots.
£35, gestalten.com

Living on Vacation: Contemporary Houses For Tranquil Living

Photo credit: Ake Eson Lindman, Living on Vacation, Phaidon, 2020
Photo credit: Ake Eson Lindman, Living on Vacation, Phaidon, 2020

Packed with the spirit of sanctuary, Living on Vacation roams through 45 architect-designed retreats in breathtaking locations across the world, from sun-drenched private island getaways to hideaways nestled in rugged mountain ranges and peaceful lakeside cottages. Designed with retreat and rejuvenation in mind, each mood-altering escape is a winning combination of striking contemporary design and awe inspiring landscape. And breathe…
£29.95, phaidon.com

Do You Read Me? Bookstores Around The World

Photo credit: Do You Read Me? gestalten, 2020
Photo credit: Do You Read Me? gestalten, 2020

If the smell of ink on paper or the sight of neatly stacked books instantly lifts your spirits, this one’s for you. A journey through the most remarkable and creative independent bookstores on the planet, this tome uncovers gems including a floating ‘book boat’ in Burgundy, an antiquarian treasure trove in Tel Aviv and a futuristic temple to design in Shanghai, as well as stores devoted to selling titles solely focussed on topics such as the sea, architecture or magic. It’s a poignant reminder of the irreplaceable role that local bookstores can play in bringing communities together and ensuring the survival of culture within our cities.
£35, gestalten.com

Cool Is Everywhere: New And Adaptive Design Across America by Michel Arnaud

Photo credit: Michel Arnaud, Cool is Everywhere, Abrams Books, 2020
Photo credit: Michel Arnaud, Cool is Everywhere, Abrams Books, 2020

Everyone knows that the coolest restaurants, bars, stores, hotels and homes (and almost everything else) are housed in buildings that were used for something else originally. And nowhere does adaptive reuse – repurposing buildings – better than the US. Part travelogue, part design inspiration, this book explores America's coolest enclaves that are embracing the adaptive reuse movement. From a factory-turned brewery in Buffalo, New York to a Dr Pepper bottling facility-turned farmers market in Birmingham, Alabama, it’s a celebration of spotting potential where you'd least expect it. You’ll never look at an old garage, a crumbling mill or derelict department store in the same way ever again.
£25, abramsbooks.com

Sun And Rain by Ana Roš

Photo credit: Suzan Gabrijan, Sun and Rain, Phaison, 2020
Photo credit: Suzan Gabrijan, Sun and Rain, Phaison, 2020

You may recognise Ana Roš from Season 2 of Netflix’s Chef’s Table, which, over the course of one episode, followed the Slovienian chef at the helm of Hiša Franko, a restaurant set in an idyllic location near the Italian border in Slovenia’s remote Soča Valley. An ode to the landscape that inspires Roš and provides ingredients – both foraged and farmed – for her innovative and acclaimed tasting menus, this book explores her life in food via essays, recollections, recipes and beautiful photography.
£39.95, phaidon.com

100 20th Century Gardens And Landscapes by Batsford

Photo credit: 100 20th Century Garden and Landscapes, Batsford, 2020
Photo credit: 100 20th Century Garden and Landscapes, Batsford, 2020

Whether you’re seeking ideas for your plot, or just dreaming of a patch to call your own, a leaf through Britain’s most extraordinary gardens and landscapes from the 20th-century to present day is sure to provide seeds of inspiration. Grouped in chronological periods, this book documents the changing styles and techniques that have helped shape our cultural heritage via a visual timeline, showing how each aesthetic complements the architecture it surrounds. Highlights include Derek Jarman’s beloved garden in Dungeness and Hauser and Wirth’s Piet Oudolf-designed grounds in Bruton, Somerset.
£25, pavilionbooks.com

Mountains: Epic Cycling Climbs by Michael Blann

Photo credit: Michael Blann, Mountains: Epic Cycling Climbs, Thames & Husdon 2020
Photo credit: Michael Blann, Mountains: Epic Cycling Climbs, Thames & Husdon 2020

Feel the wind in your hair and the vertigo of dramatically steep hairpin bends with this spectacular portrait of some of the most beautiful and challenging scenery in the world, captured from the perspective of cycling enthusiast and professional photographer Michael Blann. From the Pyrenees to the Dolomites, his images capture the majesty of some of the most storied cycling routes in the world and offer cycling aficionados plenty of bucket list inspiration.
£35, thamesandhudson.com

An Opinionated Guide to London Green Spaces by Harry Adès

Photo credit: Marco Kesseler, An Opinionated Guide to London Green Spaces, Hoxton Mini Press, 2020
Photo credit: Marco Kesseler, An Opinionated Guide to London Green Spaces, Hoxton Mini Press, 2020

If self-isolation has taught us anything, it’s to appreciate our green spaces, especially ones that are free for all to access. London is one of the world’s greenest cities, and although many of its parks and gardens are well trod, there are also plenty of hidden oases and wild inner-city spots lurking in unexpected corners of the capital. This pocket-sized paperback guide includes insider tips, beautiful photography and beguiling walking routes, encouraging readers to get thoroughly lost in verdant, vibrant London.
£9.95, hoxtonminipress.com

Keep your spirits up and subscribe to ELLE Decoration here, so our magazine is delivered direct to your door.

Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

SIGN UP