Five independent magazines for the curious.

Although I live a minimalist lifestyle, I have one weakness, and that’s for books and magazines. I happily leave mainstream women’s magazines on the shelf, but I’m passionate about independent print magazines. There’s something beautiful about print that digital cannot replace; the feel of heavyweight paper, the smell of ink, the tactile qualities that all come together to create a thing of beauty.

Because of my many interests, I enjoy a wide range of magazines, including the wonderful Betty, which I wrote about last week.  Today I want to focus on a handful of favourites. These magazines are made for people curious about the world. About the places and faces that make up communities. About how things are made. They’re all adventurous in spirit, whether that’s demonstrated through creating a communal supper, exploring an unknown city, photographing the wilderness, climbing a mountain or learning a craft. And that’s exactly why I love each and every one of them.

Best Independent Magazines


Kinfolk. Probably the most well known and well established of this collection, Kinfolk is a beautifully produced quarterly that has a global following. Although Kinfolk is really highly aspirational, I love the way that they’ve developed a sense of community around the world, with Kinfolk events and suppers in partnership with other brands. It’s a stunning magazine which has evolved over recent issues to have a more focused feel each quarter. The recent edition is ‘Saltwater’ and comes with lots of luscious photography, recipes for summer gatherings, hand -illustrated articles and an eclectic range of short articles. Although it’s beautiful to look at, there is also depth to the reading material. Alongside the print magazine, there is also a beautiful, and useful website, with heaps of extra content including online curated travel guides. I really love this magazine and it’s become the epitome of what independent publishing can produce. Kinfolk is going from strength to strength, with a range of clothing and homeward ‘Ourr’ on its way and, intriguingly a second magazine title launching later this year…

Sidetracked. For the truly adventurous, Sidetracked’s first print edition has just been published, with a forward from my favourite adventurer, Alistair Humphreys. It has quite a masculine feel, although there are women contributors. Articles in this first edition include places such as Peru, paragliding in the Californian Sierra mountains, the Moken people (the last free-roaminng nomadic sea culture), mountain climbing, long distance cycling, and much more. In whole, it’s incredibly inspiring, if a little daunting, and makes me long for adventure of my own. A great magazine for those with serious wanderlust.

Hole & Corner. Published twice a year, Hole & Corner has a focus on fine art and craft. It celebrates the best of designer-makers, with articles coming from the finest craftspeople across the world who are passionate about what they do. I especially loved the emphasis on learning in the latest edition and a wonderful piece about Shirley Leaf and Petal, artificial flower experts for everyone from Ridley Scott to John Galliano. Such interesting stories deserve their turn in the spotlight!

Another Escape. This lovely publication, also published twice a year, took an editorial change of direction with its latest edition, theming the whole edition around a central theme ‘wood’ and then curating a collection of stories around that. The stories within Another Escape share the different facets of our relationship with wood, from time in the natural environment to the art of charcoal making. Coppicing, kayak building, using reclaimed timber, the quintessential lumberjack shirt and the carbon capture from reforesting are all discussed in this completely fascinating, and beautifully created journal.

Ernest. The latest magazine in this collection is already becoming a firm favourite, so much that I backed their Kickstarter campaign to see it in print. Ernest has a gently eccentric feel to it, alongside a love of craft, timeless style and adventure. Again, quite masculine (though I don’t care) this feels like a magazine that is rekindling the British love of exploration, being forward thinking but celebratory of tradition. And I love that it’s small enough to fit into a rucksack!

Although this is far from an exhaustive list of independent magazines that I read, each of them is a firm favourite and all prove that print is very much alive and well. And hurrah for that!

Which independent magazines do you love? 



11 Responses to Five independent magazines for the curious.

  1. dave says:

    They all sound fabulous. I’m hoping that Colours May Vary will have a copy of Ernest in as I’d love to see it.

    Recommendations? Boneshaker is pretty brilliant – they were kind enough to send me some copies when I chatted with them on Twitter. Lovely small magazine, with thick pages. I’ll bring a couple in…
    dave recently posted…off the beaten trackMy Profile

    • Meg says:

      I love Boneshaker too. It is the complete opposite of the ‘all gear’ cycle magazines!

      Elizabeth, I think CURIOUS really does some up the quality indie mags. That and a focus on real skills, views and lives rather than the cult of celebrities!
      Meg recently posted…A weakness for indie magsMy Profile

      • Elizabeth says:

        I think that’s really true – I love reading about ‘real people and the skills and lives that they have, rather than people who’re famous just for being famous. That kind of vacuous celebrity is really not my thing at all 🙂

    • Elizabeth says:

      That would be great, thank you! I like The Ride too, for non-competitive cycling. It’s a thing of beauty.

  2. Jenna says:

    The descriptions alone sound so rich and beautiful! How do you find independent magazines like these?

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hello! I am very lucky to have a brilliant store called Colours May Vary in the city I live in (Leeds) which is where I buy most of them, although I’ve found a few through Kickstarter too. There’s a great website called Magpile which does listings of independent and interesting magazines too 🙂

    • Meg says:

      Also, take a look at It has links to all the magazine it currently covers. Most suggestions however come from recommendations from people on Twitter I respect.
      Meg recently posted…Of sweet Williams and red lipstickMy Profile

  3. Fiona says:

    I’d also recommend Boneshaker – it’s independent, utterly beautiful, and has a great variety of articles. It’s ostensibly about cycling, but it’s the sense of adventure and enthusiasm for life in all the articles that makes it interesting to me, as well as the style of it.
    Looking forward to checking out your recommendations too (though my husband won’t thank you for it!).

    • Elizabeth says:

      Another recommendation for Boneshaker! It’s at the top of my list now 🙂

      With my apologies to your husband if you end up spending a fortune, I hope you enjoy reading some of them!

  4. Amy says:

    I need to go and plunder Colours May Vary for some lovely magazines! I used to be a magazine addict and would consume so many women’s magazines on a regular basis but they’re so toxic and so boring (you’ve read one, you’ve read them all) that it was a relatively short-lived habit. I think I was more drawn to the concept of magazines – the feeling of paper, the glossy photos, the opportunity to curl up on the sofa and be absorbed in something. I want that back again – and I think some of these titles might be just what I’m looking for. I think Betty might be my first port of call!
    Amy recently posted…Weekend Link LoveMy Profile

    • Elizabeth says:

      I think that’s part of my love for them – that glorious tactile nature, which just can’t be replaced by a tablet. I think you’d love Betty! Also you could try Flow International and Uppercase for creative inspiration, they’re both lovely. Oh, and Frankie! Which is Australian, and reminds me of Betty…

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