As Saint Augustine said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” If you’ve made your way to this green and pleasant country from abroad, you can consider yourself a traveler. You will have crossed the land and sea to get here. But have you considered your journey on a map or what England would have looked like a billion years ago? How long would the same journey have taken in another time?
They say travel broadens the mind but in the technological era, where smartphones have built-in GPS capabilities, few of us pause to consider the bigger picture of travel before directions were available at the tap of a screen. How long would a journey across the Atlantic have taken in the days before commercial flights? If in any doubt, your questions can be answered when you go time traveling at Stanfords. What is Stanfords? It’s a rather intriguing (and the world’s largest) map and travel book store in the heart of London.
Stanfords was born when Edward Stanford first set up selling maps and charts in 1853, in Whitehall. Despite products mostly being comprised of old-fashioned paper, it has stood the test of time. In fact, London’s cartophiles and bibliophiles frequent the place, despite Google Maps, GPS, and the infinite technology providing all the information that we could ever hope to digest (and some we didn’t want to) online. The lovely thing about Stanfords is that it is still so popular with people that love and respect traditional books and maps, regardless of the digital evolution.
The World’s Largest Map Store
What makes Stanfords stand out though? The sheer mass of inspirational travel books, maps and globe-themed items. It’s claimed to be the world’s largest map store. There’s a comprehensive range of travel books from Lonely Planet and other brands, from traveling greats such as Paul Theroux, Michael Palin, Bill Bryson and Ranulph Fiennes. They stock all types of travel paraphernalia: guides, maps, globes and all manner of household things with a map design. They can print a vast array of maps from around the world.
The amazing staff will have you coming back if only just for their expertise. Brimming with a passion for travel and offering helpful tips, they have an almost encyclopedic knowledge.
One thing is a given, you will definitely find yourself walking away with a purchase, a book, a map, just to have a memento from this treasure trove of a store.
Stanfords, 12-14 Long Acre, Covent Garden
Nearest Tube: Covent Garden or Leicester Square
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