Crouch end author plots new London tourism guide- by bus

Tourists and locals take note: a travel card is all you need to take advantage of the many subcultures of the city

Rufus Purdy was on the tube the other morning when a group of Olympic tourists boarded. “They were talking about the sights they were going to see – they were heading for Oxford Street and then Piccadilly Circus. I thought to myself, ‘Oxford Street could be any shopping street in any city – London has so much more to offer.’”

The unseen London that many tourists and locals miss was one motivation for London By Bus, Purdy’s recently released travel book. In it, he makes use of the existing London bus infrastructure to create themed journeys for those wanting to explore the capital. Readers can take “a passage to India” taking a four-and-a-half hour journey from Southall to Liverpool Street or explore the bookish areas of the city by hopping on the number 24 from Westminster Abbey and joining other buses on the way. There are journeys representing gay London, sporting London, the markets of London and more. Altogether, they form a neat collection of quirky days out on a budget. “It’s not the quickest way to get around, but it is a cheap way of seeing parts of London you didn’t know about. I’m hoping that the book will also be a kind of guide to some of the subcultures of the city, useful even for people who live here.”

The book also uses QR code technology so readers can download the journey to their mobile by scanning the code in the book.

Purdy, based in Crouch End, honed his travel writing and research as a sub-editor and then travel writer, writing for Cond� Nast Traveller and Harper’s Bazaar before being the editor of Mr & Mrs Smith, the luxury travel website. “I’ve written about a lot of places, but I really enjoyed getting under the skin of my own city. I found things out about London that I didn’t know even though I have lived here since my early 20s.”

London By Bus is his second book published by Bristlebird Books, Purdy’s own publishing company. The decision to self publish came after editing a book on hidden beaches, called Secret Beaches, and realising he was capable of putting a book together. “I offered to edit it because I loved the idea but didn’t like the execution of it. All the way through I thought, ‘I’m creating this, I pretty much designed it, I’m generating all the press for it.’ I learnt on that book that it is actually a very simple process to publish it. It’s hard work but all the mysteries that surround it are just stripped away. I thought, ‘I’m going to do this for myself.’”

Pending the success of the first book, Purdy plans to publish further volumes of the By Bus series, including more London By Bus, New York By Bus and England By Bus.

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London By Bus is published by Bristlebird Books priced �16.99.