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Alastair Sawday


Alastair Sawday will be joined by Laura Collacott who co-wrote The Extra Mile together. They will be joining us on Sunday at the Festival.

Maverick entrepreneur Alastair Sawday set up his publishing company 25 years ago to divert people away from conventional package tourism and into special places run by local people. A popular formula, he has been printing guidebooks ever since, though he is known almost as much for his work around environmentalism and sustainability, issues close to his heart.

Laura is a Bristol-based lifestyle and travel journalist. Having cut her teeth in the publishing houses of Dubai, she returned to the UK where she has been contributing to national and international titles. The Extra Mile is her first book, which has only served to fuel her wanderlust.

The Extra Mile  shows that journey is part of the adventure. Unless of course that journey involves soulless, expensive motorway service stations, bland food, restless children and a six-mile tailback.

Motorway services are boring – motorways are boring – but they’re a necessary and convenient evil when you need to break the journey, especially when travelling with kids and pets. The industry is dominated by three large chains: Moto, Road Chef and Welcome Break, but they are expensive and mediocre. The stir that Westmorland’s Gloucester Services created when it opened on the M5 in 2014 (an outpost of the Tebay services in the Lake District that started the motorway services revolution) underlines the widespread ennui and appetite for change.

The Extra Mile is an easy-to-navigate guide highlighting the best places to pause - within easy reach of arterial routes - for a more enjoyable and rewarding break. For us, that means good-quality local food from makers and growers, space for children and pets to let off steam, and attractive surroundings no more than 15 minutes’ drive from a junction. Eating and resting better and supporting local businesses without adding much to overall journey time.