Celebrating the 100th issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

Since our launch in 2011 we’ve published a grand total of 100 issues. Whether you’re new to the magazine or a longstanding subscriber, we want to thank you for joining us on what’s been a truly memorable journey. This special feature celebrates our story


National Geographic Traveller (UK) launched as a bi-monthly title in January 2011, becoming the 15th international edition of National Geographic Traveller.


When we were plotting the launch of the magazine, we wanted to create something that we’d love to read ourselves: a magazine as much about inspiration as aspiration. Ever since, our aim has been to urge people to explore, whether that’s vicariously through the pages of the magazine at home or in far-flung corners of the world.

Pat Riddell, editor // National Geographic Traveller was new to the UK, and I spent a lot of the first year explaining to people that it was different to National Geographic and ‘not all polar bears and volcanoes’. Of course, we’ve featured both of those at times, and the ethos of sustainable, responsible travel has been there from the start, but essentially we created a magazine for people like us — curious travellers keen on seeing the world.

Our first major award

Emma Gregg won the British Guild of Travel Writers’ Best Long-Haul Travel Feature trophy for her piece on Namibia, below, which was published in the May/June issue. Her eyewitness account explores the new tourism initiatives led by Namibia's Himba people.

How Namibia's Himba people are taking travellers beyond the usual safari circuit


The growing popularity of the magazine saw it increase from six to eight issues a year — reaching 25,000 subscriptions — while 2012 also saw the first winner crowned in its photography competition.


This year Glen Mutel, currently our executive editor, won Consumer Travel Writer of the Year at the LATA Media Awards for his piece on Easter Island, below. Meanwhile Helen Warwick, our deputy editor at the time, was named Young Travel Writer of the Year at the British Travel Press Awards for her feature on Trinidad; and Ben Lerwill won the Best Off the Beaten Track Cruise Feature at the PSA (Passenger Shipping Association) for his feature on Antarctica.

We launched our first photography competition

Joanna Harper’s The Boy who likes to Swim, shot in Cape Town, pipped all the other contenders to become the Grand Prize-winner in the Photography Competition 2012. The judges said: ‘The decision was based not only on the fact it captures a beautifully intimate moment, but also because it’s technically fantastic.’

Photography competition winners

Joanna Harper // Cape Town
Mike Byford // Corfe Castle, Dorset
Jonathan Carvajal // The Colour Run, Colombia

Maria Pieri, editorial director // Launching National Geographic Traveller in the UK was a success — it became the travel magazine for people who want to travel with a purpose and who are passionate about how travel impacts the world. The foundation of the magazine you see today was built in these early stories with powerful narratives and spectacular photography.


The title underwent a fresh, front-to-back redesign and launched supplements ranging from a guide to the Indian Ocean to a South America guide, plus standalone Family and Luxury magazines.


Continuing the title’s awards run, Alex Dalzell, a former editorial assistant, won Best Consumer Feature at the Caribbean Journalism Awards, which you can read below.

Finding new writing talent

National Geographic Traveller launched the annual Travel Writing Competition for young writers in 2012. The overall prize was won by Ben Taub in 2013 for his article, Set in Stone, which depicted an encounter with Mexico's Huichol people.


Despite a difficult year for travel — with the spread of the Ebola virus and the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner — National Geographic Traveller cemented its place in the UK media landscape and increased frequency to reach 10 issues a year, while a redesigned website brought a growth in online traffic.


One of the editors’ favourite features from the year saw the magazine’s own Sarah Barrell return to one of her most-loved countries to explore the wilds of Canada’s west coast, below.

British Travel Awards

Our first win at the British Travel Awards (voted for by the public) saw us pick up Best Consumer Travel Magazine at this prestigious event in 2014.


Our first Reader Awards took place the same year, with documentarian Louis Theroux collecting an award on behalf of his father, the legendary US travel author Paul Theroux. The awards were established to celebrate travel in all its forms and allow our readers to vote for all their favourite destinations and operators. Meanwhile, the magazine won a second British Travel Award and continued to establish itself as a force to be reckoned with.


Among the editors’ favourite stories from this year was Gavin Haines’ exploration of Finland’s Åland Islands — well worth a read, below.

Amelia Duggan, deputy editor // I joined the title as an intern just as staff were settling into a buzzy, new former-factory office space in north London. There was a palpable sense of pushing frontiers — for example, commissioning important journalism on the evolving ‘green travel’ movement, and the tourism industry in New Orleans, 10 years on from Hurricane Katrina. To my mind, a publishing culture of experimentation and curiosity underpins the brand’s continued success.

Photography competition winners

Alecsandra Raluca Dragoi // New Year traditions in Comanesti, Romania
Jeremy Flint // Myanmar
Rashid Khaidanov // Dunluce Castle, Northern Ireland


A rousing speech from explorer and actor Michael Palin at the Reader Awards — after collecting the Outstanding Contribution to Travel Award — reflected his admiration for the National Geographic brand. Meanwhile, the Travel Geeks events events (our regular chats with panels of destination experts) debuted the same year, with about 100 people attending each topical discussion. Since then, our reader events have connected like-minded travel enthusiasts across the world.


Also this year, regular contributor Pól Ó Conghaile was named Travel Writer of the Year at the British Guild of Travel Writers Awards, based on three features he wrote for the magazine, including the one below.

Becky Redman, art director // The October 2016 cover shot (below), taken by Richard James Taylor, one of our regular photographers, really focused on the people who define New York. The scene said so much about the city, and the simple yet striking coverline looked great superimposed on the skyline.


In a busy year, the title launched its hotel awards, won another British Travel Award, picked up best writer and photographer at the British Guild of Travel Writer Awards and held a one-off National Geographic Traveller Festival in central London. It featured a host of guest speakers, writers, photographers and workshops.


At the British Guild of Travel Writer Awards, Aaron Millar picked up Travel Writer of the Year for a number of features, including one exploring the wild west of Texas, below.


In 2018, the magazine covered a number of pressing issues, including overtourism, dark tourism and the future of travel, while our supplements focused on destinations as varied as South America to South Korea. We also launched the quarterly title National Geographic Traveller Food (UK), which, over the past four years has grown into an award-winning, standalone newsstand title.


For the third year running, the British Guild of Travel Writers Awards recognised a National Geographic Traveller contributor as Travel Writer of the Year, while the Travel Media Awards named Adrian Phillips Consumer Writer of the Year — partly based on his piece on the Ecuadorian rainforest, below.

Photography competition winners

Renato Granieri // South Georgia
Daniel Burton // Democratic Republic of Congo
Hadriel Torres // Marquesas Islands


A debut National Geographic Traveller Food Festival and a wealth of awards (including a fourth Best Consumer Travel Magazine title at the British Travel Awards, and a win for contributor Emma Thomson for her feature on Vietnam in the British Guild of Travel Writers Awards, below) marked a triumphant year for National Geographic Traveller, as the brand went from strength to strength.

Josephine Price, digital editor // Transitioning to our new website was a fascinating project. This digital hub is where our print features are reimagined to reach new audiences; digital-only stories aim to pique readers’ curiosity; and, along with our social channels, we aim to keep audiences in the loop with the most interesting tales from around the world.

We held our first food festival

More than 5,500 people attended the first National Geographic Traveller Food Festival. Taking place over two days at London’s Business Design Centre, it remains our biggest event to date, with the likes of Raymond Blanc, John Torode and Andi Oliver sharing their culinary expertise. 


With the Covid-19 pandemic temporarily halting all travel, the National Geographic Traveller team started doing things a little differently. In an open letter addressing the situation, editor Pat Riddell wrote: ‘With all of us now armchair travellers, for the time being our magazine and our website suddenly find themselves a vibrant lifeline to the wider world.’


We paused publishing our titles, and instead pivoted to producing aspirational online content. The team launched the hashtag #stayinspired to galvanise the brand’s readership on social media and we kept readers informed with the stories published on our Travel & Coronavirus hub. When restrictions eased and regular schedules resumed, more focus was placed on stories that explored our own shores, reflecting an increased appetite for local adventures.

We kept you inspired

World-renowned travellers reveal the journeys that made the biggest impact on their lives

Stay inspired with National Geographic Traveller


While travel remained a little stop-start, vaccines helped the world look forward to a ‘new normal’ and a more stable future. As we look ahead, there’s more need than ever to think about how we travel. National Geographic Traveller has always been about sustainable, responsible travel, and we hope you’ll join as we continue to champion this area over the next century of issues.

Connor McGovern, commissioning editor // Be it through pandemics or climate change, travel is at an interesting juncture. We’ve always seen it as a way of broadening horizons, and hope the recent, renewed appreciation of the world will steer both travellers and Traveller through the next 100 issues.

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