If you love Bath, if you love books; if you love the sound of an independent bookshop with floor to ceiling shelves stacked high with endless tomes, with ladders reminiscent of the library in Beauty and the Beast and with free tea on tap served in cute cups and tea pots, then Topping & Company Booksellers of Bath may just be your new favourite bookshop.
Despite spending an ample amount of time in Bath in the years leading up to my move to Sydney, my most recent trip to this honey-coloured city was the first time I visited this bustling independent bookshop. Situated in the heart of Bath’s picturesque city centre, and just a stone’s throw from the Assembly Rooms and a short walk from the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey, Topping & Company Booksellers of Bath caters to a city famous for its literary legacy and thriving book community.
Despite it being mid-April, when I visited Bath it was cold, grey and windswept, and certainly felt more like a blustery November day, and so the warmly lit and cosy bookshop offered a welcome refuge from the city’s bitter chill.
Inside: a book lover’s delight, shelves upon shelves of books, tables piled high with best-sellers and new releases and travel tomes and classics, a generous corner selling children’s books, and a back room with coffee table books, poetry and much more besides.
The shop is dotted with tables for customers to sit down and relax while flicking through one of the shop’s ample bookish offerings, and tea and coffee is served free of charge; a small touch but an effective one none the less; which meant that I spent a good couple of hours in Toppings, nursing hot cups of tea while deciding which of the many books they had to offer to add to my collection.
And while the shop alone is well worth a visit – wherever in the world you might live – its lively events programme (featuring the likes of Mary Berry, Sally Vickers and Raymond E Feist to name but a few) and friendly staff are undoubtedly what sets it apart from in the ever competitive world of independent bookshops. The booksellers could not have been friendlier, nor more helpful if they tried; when I mentioned I was hoping to buy a book from the Women’s Prize long-list, they printed the list off for me before piling the long-listed books on the table for me to browse through.
I could have spent an entire day – not to mention my total life’s savings – in Toppings, but alas, with less than twenty-four hours in Bath, and in dire need of some food in my belly and an early night, I left as the sky began to darken to have dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant. I left with Lagom by Nikki Brantmark – a book that I’d already listened to on Book Beat, but whose picture perfect cover I couldn’t resist, and returned fleetingly the next day to purchase a copy of The Poetry Pharmacy – as recommended by Laura from What’s Hot Blog – for my mum.
Toppings is everything a bookshop should be – a bookish retreat away from the outside world, with beautiful interiors and more books than you could ever possibly hope to get through – a friendly and cosy ambience and the very best sort of booksellers.
About Topping & Company, Booksellers of Bath
Topping & Company, Booksellers of Bath
Telephone: 01225 428111
Opening times: 9am – 7.30pm, every day including Sunday.
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