Stanfords Bookshop is diversifying to run horse-drawn omnibus tours of London.
The tours will run every Tuesday and Thursday, guided by an accredited Blue Badge Guide.
A spokesperson for the bookshop said: “It’s over 100 years since Covent Garden echoed with the sound of horse-drawn omnibuses, but today Stanfords, the world’s largest map and travel bookshop, plans to offer visitors to London tours of the city’s sights aboard a vintage Victorian omnibus.”
The company has partnered with TW Carriages to conduct the tours through a newly-formed Edward Stanford Omnibus Company. Customers will travel from Stanfords flagship store at 12-14 Long Acre, touring London’s West End, taking in landmarks such as the Royal Opera House, Charing Cross Station, Trafalgar Square, the Palace of Westminster, Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden.
The bookshop’s managing director, Tony Maher, said: “Located as we are in the heart of Covent Garden, an enormous number of visitors to the capital come through our doors every day. They’re always in a hurry for directions and tips for the very best way to see London. Our partnership with TW Carriages taps into our 163 year heritage by offering a tour of our great capital that looks, sounds and, yes, at times even smells authentically Victorian - matching so much of the architecture in the West End.”
Tim Wood, owner of TW Carriages, who also drives the omnibus, added: “We’re thrilled to be working with Stanfords to bring tourists and Londoners alike the opportunity to see the city in a whole new light.
“I’ve been looking after and working with horses for over 25 years and for me it’s wonderful to see them once again helping people navigate the streets of London.”
Tours will run every Tuesday and Thursday at 3pm, 4.30pm and 6pm. Tickets are priced £30 for adults and £10 for children with a family ticket offered at £65 for two adults and two children. Tickets for the tour can be bought at www.stanfords.co.uk/tickets.
The bookseller also recently diversified into holding a Travel Writers festival at the Destinations Show held annually at Kensington Olympia, and has digitised its archives to license for use by film and television companies.
The company is aiming to return to profit in this financial year.