Ever fancied a fresh start – to broaden your horizons, open new doors, begin a new chapter… but didn’t really feel like straying too far from home? It seems like Stanfords travel bookshop in Covent Garden shares the same sentiments. It’s closing after more than a century at its current address in order to relocate to a new home that’s quite literally down the road.
The much-loved map emporium, with its distinctive tapered stone arches and the name in gilded lettering above the entrance, has been on Long Acre since 1901, and claims to stock the world’s largest selection of maps, globes and travel books. It has supplied cartography for James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Captain Scott and the British Army; it survived a bomb hit during WWII; and its in-store café serves a mean cup of freshly roasted coffee.
Regulars and Instagrammers who’ll miss the shop’s famous map-printed floors will be glad to hear that there are plans for new versions to be installed in the bookshop’s new digs at 7 Mercer Walk. There’ll also be an outdoor space for those seeking a spot of alfresco escapism.
The move is due to happen in January next year, but keep your eyes peeled for the Stanfords Christmas gift boutique popping up on the ground floor of the new store in November. We’ll miss the old space, but a new spot for hours of wanderlust-inducing guidebook-browsing sounds good to us.