STAFF at Blackwell's Bookshop have shown levels of creativity normally reserved for the texts they sell to launch a summer of fun for all the family.

The world-famous store is used to welcoming a constant stream of tourists all year round, but the coronavirus pandemic has slashed its visitor numbers from beyond Oxfordshire.

Since reopening on June 15, the Broad Street store has run a host of activities and offers, from children's book hunts to free deliveries within Oxford's ring road.

REDISCOVER OXFORD: It's time to enjoy and explore our beautiful city

Sales manager David Kelly has been dressing up as Where's Wally? for one initiative and revealed Blackwell's has had to get creative to make up the shortfall.

He said: "Lockdown has been as much of a challenge for us as everyone else.

"We've mostly been affected by the lack of tourists.

"We're not in as bad a position as other retailers, but we'd really appreciate the support from Oxfordshire residents.

"We'd really like to get those people in who might normally be put off by the sheer volume of tourists. We're Oxford's bookshop."

Although it was shut for three months at the start of lockdown, Blackwell's – which has been trading since 1879 – continued to take online orders.

Oxford Mail:

The demand for the much-loved store was illustrated by the queue on the morning it reopened and staff have worked hard to keep interest high.

Among an array of activities currently on offer are a Wooden Book Hunt, where participants must find texts hidden around Oxford and nearby towns.

Oxford Mail:

Youngsters can also take part in a Beaver Book Club challenge, where they mark off books they have read on a card to win a badge.

Blackwell's is also holding board game cafes every Sunday, music hours during quieter times and sessions with a 'Children's Book Doctor', where experts recommend their favourite reads.

The store is opening up a star attraction that even regular customers may not be aware of: the Gaffer's Office.

Usually only opened on special occasions, this room was used by Sir Basil Blackwell, son of the business's founder Benjamin Henry Blackwell.

REDISCOVER OXFORD: Covered Market greengrocer leads way for city's independents

The office has been kept how it was back in the 19th century and was where Lord of the Rings creator J.R.R. Tolkien agreed his first publishing deal.

Blackwell's has also joined forces with other traders, including its neighbour, The White Horse pub.

Newly-installed outdoor seating means visitors can read a book and enjoy their drink of choice, which has proved very popular.

Blackwell's would hold offers and activities throughout the year in normal times, but Mr Kelly explained the time away has forced them to step it up a notch.

He said: "Being shut for so long means we've squeezed a lot of those ideas into a shorter period.

"People compare us to the Tardis, because the shop looks small from the outside but gets bigger and bigger.

"We just want Broad Street to be back to how it should be – alive and one of the finest destinations in the world."