Stanfords is an incredible travel bookshop located on Long Acre in Covent Garden.
Samuel Johnson once said ‘when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford’. I couldn’t agree more. That said, it is nice to dream of visiting far-flung places every now and then. Or, you may choose to use your precious time in London as a springboard to visit other European destinations for a weekend. Whatever your inspiration, escape the hustle and bustle of tourist-laden Covent Garden and transport yourself anywhere you desire in the world – care of this amazing travel bookshop.
Stanfords is bursting with maps scaling every inch of the globe, stylish city guides, an abundance of Lonely Planets and clever gadgets to satisfy the geekiest of gadget lover. It stocks a fantastic range of modern travel fiction and non-fiction to take the place of a backpacking buddy and browsing the shelves is a global adventure in itself. You can also pick up some truly unique gifts and go on, treat yourself to a beautiful journey to capture on paper all of your own travel tales. It opened in 1901 and past customers include Florence Nightingale and even Sherlock Holmes (in The Hound of the Baskervilles) adding to the sense of history and quintessential London.
Stanfords has an in-store Sacred Café, serving typical New Zealand organic fair trade coffee roast and a range of teas. Hearty food adds to a real Antipodean experience in London.
I love whiling away a few hours in Stanfords because, like travelling itself, entering through the doors is an adventure into the unknown and always inspirational. You may only intend to browse or buy a gift, but guaranteed you will leave with a head full of dreams and solid plans for your next trip.
Although you won’t be able to stay away from London too long of course.