Herb Lester’s witty, pretty, curious and opinionated travel guides

Herb Lester publish guides for tourists and locals: witty, pretty, curious and opinionated, influenced by the witty and opinionated travel guides of the 1950s and 1960s.

The name comes from a character that they invented who could be their guide and boss. They had a list of characteristics and requirements that their ideal employer would have, and that seemed like the sort of person who’d be named Herb Lester.

herb lester Parisen famille 001

herb lester Parisen famille 002

“We didn’t begin Herb Lester to publish travel guides, we began as a sort of micro contract publisher. We’re interested in what makes places different, special, strange; sometimes those things are obscure and hidden away, other times they’re in plain sight.”

The brain child of Ben Olins & Jane Smillie, both from creative and publishing backgrounds, Herb Lester work with some of the best designers and illustrators to produce wonderful maps and guides to some of the most interesting cities in the world.

herb lester London_On_Two_Wheels

herb lester clandestine london

They research, write, print and distribute maps and guides to the world’s great cities seeking out the well-used and much-loved, and enjoy the extraordinary as well as the everyday. Old bookshops and new coffee shops, park benches and dive bars, hat shops and haberdashers: this is the world according to Herb Lester.

One of my favourite maps is Clandestine London: for those who prefer to conduct business away from prying eyes. They list 31 places with hidden alcoves and easy exits, neglected restaurants, unreconstructed wine bars, ancient pubs and even natural isolation. In these locations discretion is assured, it’s entirely up to you to decide how you make use of that.

Herb Lester maps are £4 each and make great little gifts.


Having worked in design for the past decade, Daniel started ateliertally.com as a discussion of timeless, modernist product design. Trained as a graphic designer, he also has an avid interest in typography. You can follow him on Twitter @ateliertally.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.