This month we're celebrating our long-distance trails in the Pyrenees. Get 20% off selected titles using code PYRENEES20 at checkout. Find out more here.

Our Story

For over 50 years Cicerone has established a reputation as the very best publisher of guides to exploring the hills, mountains and countryside of Britain, Europe and the world.

So where does the name “Cicerone” come from?

The Oxford English Dictionary definition of Cicerone is simply 'a guide', or in other dictionaries, 'a guide to the mysteries and antiquities of a place'.

Jonathan and Lesley
Jonathan and Lesley Williams

We are an enthusiastic team based in Kendal, on the edge of England’s Lake District. Where could be better for an outdoor activities guidebook publisher?

We now produce a range of nearly 400 guidebooks to walking, trekking, climbing, mountaineering and cycling. We cover the UK and Europe, and have many guides to other regions of the world. We publish about 30 new guides and fully updated editions each year as well as aiming to update every guide when we reprint it.

Our guides are pocket-sized, with crystal-clear mapping and directions. Our authors are amongst the leading experts in their areas, and their deep love of the mountains and countryside they write about shines through.

The business was founded in 1969 when the late Walt Unsworth and Brian Evans, in frustration at the lack of suitable guides to areas of the English Lake District, came together to produce a climbing guide.

Walt was a writer and Brian an artist and printer, so, with their families, a strong team was forged. People liked the guide, the team worked, the proceeds were put into the next book, and the next, and the next and so on.

Since 1999, Cicerone has been developing under the ownership of Jonathan and Lesley Williams, but we still go on, reinvesting to ensure the very best possible guides.

One of the things we are proud of at Cicerone is opening new opportunities. Our “firsts” include…

  • first independent guides to climbing in the English Lake District
  • first winter climbing guides to the mountains of Britain
  • first scrambling guides to the mountains of Britain and Europe
  • first English guides to exploring and trekking in the Alps
  • first via ferrata guides
  • first guides to exploring Jordan
  • and many others.

We are proud of the hard work and attention to detail we put into our guides. Each guide is carefully considered before we start, working with authors who love the regions they write about. Each guide is meticulously edited and the best possible maps are developed. We work hard to present them as clearly and attractively as possible. The Cicerone production team have now crafted over 200 guidebooks, and together we have over 20 years’ experience.