Best road atlas 2021

A traditional road map still has its place, and we rate the best of the bunch

Despite the rise of sat-navs and apps, many drivers still prefer to use paper maps which can’t go wrong or misdirect you. They are also great for seeing the bigger picture ahead of a trip.

The best sizes are A4 or A3, and the bigger options usually work out cheaper per page. But of course the bigger you buy, the more room they take up in storage. A larger scale gives more detail but means more pages and weight.

In general, spiral-bound maps are easier to use since they fold flat, although they’re often not as robust as perfect-bound versions. So which atlas will put you on the right road? 

How we tested them 

We checked for up-to-date mapping by searching for three proposed road projects and then whether or not four small hamlets from around Britain were shown. All were expected to show the London Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ), with extra marks awarded for useful info such as major town approach roads, town and city mapping, air and sea port layouts, restricted motorway junctions, route planners and tourist information. 

We preferred large scales with more detail, but this was balanced against value, worked out per A4 page (A3 pro-rata). And atlases that listed speed cameras were a plus; even better if they included the limit. We liked clear motorway junctions, with restricted ones listed separately. 

Reviews

A-Z Great Britain and N.Ireland Super Scale 2022

  • Price: £14.99
  • Size/scale: A3/2.5mpi
  • Rating: 5 stars

At 2.5mpi (miles per inch) the A-Z was certainly super scale and easy to read. All motorway junctions were shown in detail and it had the most air and sea port plans (11 and eight respectively). A total of 70 town plans wasn’t quite as many as the Collins, and it only offered three urban approach roads. 

Unlike rivals, it had all our small locations and new roads. The ULEZ was shown clearly and with plenty of information, but the revised area – due in October 2021 – wasn’t mentioned. There’s not much for the tourist, with only three pages of places of interest complete with contact details and postcodes. But for clear, straightforward mapping, it gave everything a driver could need. 

Buy it now from Amazon

Philip’s Big Easy to Read Britain 2022

  • Price: £14.99
  • Size/scale: A3/2.4mpi
  • Rating: 4.5 stars

This compares well with the A-Z, with a slightly bigger scale, a similar number of pages and the same price. It had 88 town plans and 10 urban approaches, but missed two new roads and one hamlet, and although London’s C-Charge zone was marked, the ULEZ wasn’t mentioned. No ports were included, while restricted m-way junctions were on a separate page. These blind spots saw it lose out.

Buy it now from Amazon

Collins Big Road Atlas Britain and N.Ireland 2022

  • Price: £12.99
  • Size/scale: A3/3.2mpi
  • Rating: 4 stars

The 3.2mpi scale was down on its rivals, so there were fewer pages, but it had 64 town plans and the 17 approaches were the most here. Only one new road was present, but all four hamlets were shown. Six airports and both sides of the Channel Tunnel were included, but no sea ports. Pages with m-way exits were useful, but were limited to the M25 and Birmingham.

Buy it now from Amazon

Why not combine the best of both traditional and modern? Check out our list of the best sat-nav apps 2021

Most Popular

New 2022 Range Rover Sport spotted testing on the road
Range Rover Sport spyshot 1
Land Rover Range Rover Sport

New 2022 Range Rover Sport spotted testing on the road

Land Rover’s replacement for the Range Rover Sport will get racier styling and an all-new electric-ready platform
20 Jul 2021
New 2021 Audi RS 3: 395bhp mega hatch priced from £50,900
Audi RS 3 Sportback - front
Audi RS3

New 2021 Audi RS 3: 395bhp mega hatch priced from £50,900

Full exterior and interior reveal for Audi RS 3, with aggressive styling and racy cabin to match strong performance
19 Jul 2021
Ioniq 5 vs Volkswagen ID.4 vs Ford Mustang Mach-E
Ioniq 5 vs Volkswagen ID.4 vs Ford Mustang Mach-E
Hyundai Ioniq 5

Ioniq 5 vs Volkswagen ID.4 vs Ford Mustang Mach-E

Can the Ioniq 5 provide substance to match its style? We test it against the Volkswagen ID.4 and Ford Mustang Mach-E to find out
17 Jul 2021