One thing London isn’t short of is brilliant bookshops. And so, in honour of Bookshop Day, an initiative organised by Books are My Bag, here are some of my very favourite literary hotspots in London. From Bloomsbury’s best-dressed window to a hidden haven on a cobbled street off Charing Cross Road and beyond, here you’ll find some of London’s best bookshops.
Fusing charm and elegance in abundance is Lamb Conduit Street’s destination bookstore, Persephone Books. Both a publisher and bookseller of neglected fiction and non-fiction by mid-twentieth century (mostly) women writers, the shop is famous for its Instagrammable interiors – with fresh flowers and their signature grey covers featuring on many-a-social share. Best for: lesser known books that no-one else is reading.
The oldest bookseller in the UK, this London bookshop is an integral part of the city’s heritage. Located on Piccadilly, just a stone’s throw from The Ritz and next door to Fortnum & Mason, Hatchard’s is a beautiful five storey book shop that has a wonderful selection of hardback tomes and frequently hosts book signings. Its moss green exterior, curved bay windows and wooden frames are positively Dickensian, while the interior is equally grand. Visit the fifth floor for an impressive selection of second hand books.
An original Edwardian bookshop with long galleries and graceful skylights situated on Marylebone High Street, this London bookshop is a must visit for all bookworms. Known for its extensive travel collection, Daunt Books also stocks a multitude of literary fiction, biographies and more. With oak balconies, green walls and stained glass windows, it truly is literary London at its very best.
Nestled down a quiet court in central London that’s said to have inspired Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley, and flanked by charming Victorian shop-frontages, you’ll find the beautiful Goldsboro Books. A charming bookshop specialising in first and signed editions, this London bookshop is the perfect place to find a literary treat for the book lover in your life.
With branches in every corner of London and beyond, Waterstones have made a name for themselves for their wonderful hand-written staff recommendations as well as some of the best stocked shelves in London. The Piccadilly branch spans six floors, boasts eight miles of shelves, two coffee shops and is said to be the biggest bookshop in Europe. If you’re an avid reader with an afternoon to while away, few places will better suffice.
While strictly no longer a London bookshop given that The Book Barge is now based in France, The Book Barge deserves a mention for its originality alone. The barge on which The Bookshop that Floated Away was based, it opened in 2009 as an independent bookshop operating from a 60′ cruiser stern narrowboat, and now specialises in curating and housing very small collections of books, which are made to order or assembled by whim.
Sellers of old, new and Antiquarian books for almost a century, this London bookshop is one of the capital’s best-loved. Based in the chandeliered sitting room of a town house, Heywood Hill caters for customers looking for books that might not make have the best-selling fame of Fifty Shades et al, and as well as offering bespoke library-building services to curate private collections, they have a popular Year in Books subscription; 12 carefully chosen and beautifully packaged throughout the year.
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