Stanfords Travel Writers Festival


Rummaging around in bookshop and studying maps is one of mine and John’s favourite past times. Its in a quiet corner of book shop that  the ideas for journeys start to brew and the practical information needed to plan can be found. If you are a lover of books and travel then you no doubt already know the name Stanfords.

Stanfords is the  UK’s leading specialist retailer of maps and travel books and it can justly claim to offer the world’s largest stock of maps and travel books under one roof. Established in 1853 by Edward Stanford if you need any inspiration for planning adventures this is the place to go. You’d be in good company as Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton visited when planning their expeditions, Bill Bryson and Michael Palin are customers today.

L-R William Fotheringham, Hannah Reynolds,Tim Moore, Oli Broom
L-R William Fotheringham, Hannah Reynolds,Tim Moore, Oli Broom

Stanfords Travel Writers Festival formed part of the Destination Show at London Olympia, a stellar line up of travel writers were there to discuss their books, travels and adventures. I had been invited to chair a panel of cycling travel writers; Oli Broom-Cycling to the Ashes, Tim Moore- Gironimo and William Fotheringham-Racing Hard. To be honest they didn’t need much chairing as once onto the subject of cycle touring the anecdotes started to fly! You can listen to it here: 

Despite trying to stimulate some semi-intellectual discussion about how the act of writing  a book changes the experience of travel we soon learnt that the audience’s main interest was in the practicalities of riding your bike for a really long time. “What do you take with you? How do you prevent your bum getting sore? Were you ever scared? “And of course the number one question “What was the worst thing that ever happened to you?”

So…. we’re starting work on a France en Velo ‘Everything you need to know about cycle touring and the bits no one ever mentions’ feature to be up on the website soon. In the mean time email us your questions at