By now you might have gotten that I love reading and bookshops are my idea of a perfect afternoon out or date. Wash everything down with great coffee and cakes, and I am as happy as I can be.
As a matter of fact, bookshops were my go-to place after work, to spend some quality time by myself before the pandemic. As a result of working not far from Oxford Street and there were plenty of choices to pick from, but I was and still am a woman of habit.
Since the pandemic though, I had just a few chances to visit some of my favourites in London, so I decided to go down memory lane for a bit and also add some of the ones I haven’t visited yet.
Don’t be tricked, this was a hard choice. For example, there’re so many bookshops just in the city centre that you have your hands full!
Despite choosing five, I had to add some plus on the side, because choices are hard.
First and foremost, you don’t forget your first love and that applies to bookshops too. Foyles was mine. The flagship in Charing Cross Road will steal your heart and wallet, with four floors to get lost in and a café and event space on the fifth floor. Homing 200.000 different titles to choose from, there’re very few chances you get out without a book.
At the heart of Marylebone High Street, there’s this breathtaking bookshop. The architecture of the Edwardian building with large stained glass windows is second only to the collection of titles that Daunts hosts, all arranged by different countries and with a large collection of travel books.
Meanwhile, in the heart of Lamb Conduit Street in Bloomsbury, there’s this gem that has been on my list for quite long and still haven’t managed to visit. This bookshop reprints books from the mid-twentieth century by neglected writers, focusing mostly on female writers. Publishing everything from short stories to cooking books with a distinctive grey jacket.
Hatchard’s opened its doors for the first time in 1797 in Piccadilly, therefore it’s considered the oldest bookshop in London, serving customers since the Georgian times. Above all, while hosting more than 100.000 titles on four floors, this place brings you back in time for an extraordinary and unique experience. In addition, you can also visit a smaller branch just in St Pancras before catching your train to get back home.
I have yet to visit Lutyens and Rubinstein. The bookshop opened its doors in 2009, founded by literary agents Felicity Rubinstein and Sarah Lutyens. They host books of fiction and non-fiction, where you can find a special section of children’s, poetry and art books.
One of the more unique bookshops in London must be this! Hosted in a 100-year-old Dutch barge, they sell second-hand books and new titles, from classics to photography. In addition to being moored on the Regent’s Canal near Granary Square, the barge not only offers books but also jazz & poetry shows, as well as live acoustic music.
Well, this is just a ten-minute walk from my house and always a pleasure to come by and browse on their collection outside as we collect coffee to go to the park. Family owned and run by husband and wife, you will always find your latest book release to take with you for a walk at the park.
Anyway, have you visited any of these bookshops? Or do you have any recommendations in London or around the world? I am writing my must-see bookshop I have to visit and would love to hear from you!