A souvenir and gift business in Oxford is releasing a new family-friendly guide and activity book, which will provide youngsters with a fun way to learn about the city.

The Oxford Family Guide & Activity Book is the first of its kind and is aimed at engaging and educating families and children about Oxford.

Chris Andrews, of Chris Andrews Publications, described the book as a ‘totally unique’ concept, which Oxford bookseller Blackwells are excited about selling.

Mr Andrews said: “There are no books for families. When I asked a few people at Waterstones and Blackwells, they said ‘you are right, there is nothing’.

“Blackwells were so enthusiastic about the concept and indeed very helpful in its general content and appearance that they asked if the book could feature in their Oxford City celebration later in August, which it will.”

The book provides information in an ‘easy learning’ format and includes stickers, postcards to colour in, quizzes, facts, phonetics for difficult Oxford words and a certificate to be filled in which announces the recipient as ‘an Oxford Brain Box’.

Oxford Mail: An informative page about Balliol College, courtesy of Chris Andrews PublicationsAn informative page about Balliol College, courtesy of Chris Andrews Publications

Mr Andrews' business was hard hit by pandemic, as one of Oxford’s main suppliers of souvenirs and gifts the lack of foreign tourists had ‘dramatically reduced’ the business’s turnover.

He said: “The absence of foreign tourists has as removed a good bit of the market and the closure of all the retail outlets during lockdown meant no sales for long periods.”

The idea for the book came about following a conversation between Mr Andrews, his daughter – a teacher – and six-year-old granddaughter.

The family concluded that due to Covid-19 the only market they were likely to get for a while was domestic visitors, including families.

Yet, there was no guide or souvenir book in the city specifically aimed at either families or young children.

Mr Andrews believes focusing on the domestic market for the foreseeable future is not just important for his buisness but for the city as a whole.

He said: “My wife and I received virtually no Government support and have had to survive by cashing in pensions and using all savings, but we thought it worthwhile.

“We will preserve three full-time jobs and support numerous other local businesses by our trading.

“Our products all encourage tourists to visit, so we are an important part of the recovery of the city’s vital tourist trade.”

Chris Andrews Publication has been in business for 39 years and to date has photographed, published and sold over 15 Million postcards, 1 million books and half a million calendars as well as countless souvenirs.

You can pre-order the Oxford Family Guide & Activity Book for £8.00