The 6 best bookshops in London (+1)
You can say a lot of things about London: it’s a difficult city, it’s chaotic, it’s stressful to live here… all true. But one thing you can’t complain about is all the places the city offers to bookworms like me.
Bookstores, libraries, even dedicated spaces inside museums!
Yes, I know that nowadays it’s easier to sit at home in your pajama, open Amazon and buy a book that in 2 seconds is delivered straight to your kindle. But what about the feeling you have when you enter a bookshop? What about sticking your nose up in the air and finding yourself surrounded by books left, right, front, behind? What about the smell, that peculiar paper smell that comes only with printed books? There is nothing better than that.
Today I decided to share with you a list of all my favorite bookstores in London, the ones I visit often when I want to buy a printed book, the ones that make me happy.
I’ve collected all different kinds, some are independent and small, some are retail giants, but they all have in common the amazing books they sell. I haven’t numbered them in order of preference, not at all. If you can, visit them all.
1. Persephone Books
Address: 59 Lamb’s Conduit St, London WC1N 3NB, UK
Persephone is at the same time a bookshop and an independent publishing house. They reprint neglected books by mostly women authors. Their signature is the grey cover of all the books they reprint.
The bookstore is small, but super cute. Take the time to browse all their reprints.
Tip: When you buy a book you also receive a bookmark with it.
2. London Review Bookshop
Address: 14-16 Bury Pl, Bloomsbury, London WC1A 2JL, UK
In the heart of Bloomsbury, just next to the British Museum. They sell books for everyone: fiction, historical, poetry, children books… a little bit of everything.
Tip: Connected to the bookshop they have their own Cake Shop. You can sit down, drink a cup of tea, eat a slice of cake and enjoy your last purchase (spoiler alert: cakes are delicious). The only issue is that the cake shop is quite crowded. But if you can find a space, definitely take a sit.
3. Lutyens & Rubinstein
Address: 21 Kensington Park Rd, London W11 2EU, UK
Both bookstore and literary agency, Lutyens & Rubinstein is in the heart of Notting Hill and it is one of my must-stop places when I’m in the area. The bookshop is beautiful, small but cozy. There are books hanging from the ceiling and in the window. If you go up the small staircase just on the left of the entrance you find children books, while downstairs they have a mix of everything.
Tip: They sell a beautiful tote bag, too.
Address: 107 Charing Cross Rd, Soho, London WC2H 0DT, UK
Just outside Tottenham Court Road station, Foyles is a book oasis in the heart of the city: floors and floors of books, there is something for everyone, every occasion, every language (yes, go up to the 4th floor for a good selection of foreign books. They have also a small Italian section with really good titles).
Check out their website for a list of monthly events!
Tip: On the last floor they have a nice little coffee shop.
5. Waterstones Piccadilly
Address: 203-206 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1V 9LE, UK
In the heart of Piccadilly, another happy oasis with floors and floors of books. The second floor (where they have the children section) is worth a visit even just for the layout and the the decorations. They do have also a great selection of graphic novels.
Check out their website because they host tons of interesting events, including meet and greets with authors.
Tip: On the mezzanine there is a small cute café, too.
Address: 187 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1J 9LE
This one is in Piccadilly, too. It’s very easy to miss, as it is nestled after Waterstones and just next to Fortnum&Mason. People go buy tea next door, and they miss this little gem.
Hatchards is one of those beautiful old bookshops that takes you back in time. You can find books for every occasion.
Tip: Go to the first floor and take a moment to look at the most beautiful reading nook, it would fit perfectly in a museum. Also, buy a book just because of the fancy bag they give you when you do.
+1 Southbank Book Market
Address: Under the Waterloo Bridge (literally)
I must include this in the list. Not a bookshop but a market, with tons of used books. You can find antiques, scripts, fictions… all bargains. The market is open everyday until 19, sun or rain.
Tip: Bring cash because you usually can’t pay with card.
What comes next?
- For some book recs click here
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