There’s nothing we like more than losing ourselves in a detective tale, reliving the raucous rock and roll days through a music memoir or simply allowing our mind to escape into a fictional land, and it’s reading that allows us to do that.
As London’s shops gradually open up again, we decided to take a look at some of London’s best bookshops offering everything from first edition literary classics to educational stories, contemporary classics to children’s novels. Here’s what we found…
Aside for their infamous tote bags, Daunt Books is widely known for their endless selection of books centred around one poignant theme: travel. Arranged by country, the littering of London branches helps to educate, inspire and ignite your passion for travel.
If you’re missing travelling from country to country, Daunt Books selection of travel infused books will be able to tame your travelling itch or spark curiosity and a desire to get back out on the open road as soon as lockdown lifts.
Lutyens & Rubinstein has one core value: that every book stocked is on the shelf because somebody adores and wholeheartedly recommends it. Whatever you’re a sucker for crime fiction, can’t get enough of a summer romance novel or simply adore the classics, Lutyens & Rubinstein has you covered with their wide selection. They also have a whole selection of other trinkets and essentials, from stationery and cards to paperweights.
Every book stocked is on the shelf because somebody adores and wholeheartedly recommends it.
21 Kensington Park Road, Kensington, W11 2EU
Heywood Hill has crafted itself into part of Mayfair’s thriving history. This little bookshop’s history stems back to 1936 when Heywood Hill first opened his dream bookshop and specialised in both old and new books, as well as housing curious objects and trinkets. Its history seeps deep into WWII too, as novelist Nancy Mitford found her literary love while working at the store. It’s thanks to Mitford that the bookshop became adored by the English social and literary circle during the 1940s. Years later and the team now still honour its roots, with a mix of old, new and antiquarian books on offer.
10 Curzon Street, Mayfair, W1J 5HH
Unlock a piece of history as you step your foot inside Conduit Street’s Persephone Books.
Founded by Nicola Beauman, Persephone Books is a bookshop that prides itself on bringing the untold stories of female writers to light. From novels to short stories, memoirs to cookery books, Persephone Books reprints fiction and non-fiction books written by mid-twentieth century writers. Home to 137 books, every book is a story that’s steeped with history, and all of these stories are able to finally be brought to the forefront of people’s mind at Persephone Books.
Persephone Books is a bookshop that prides itself on bringing the untold stories of female writers to light.
59 Lamb’s Conduit Street, WC1N 3NB
If you’re stuck in a creative rut, Libreria is here to help you expand your knowledge and nurture your creativity into its own original feeling.
Every shelf is jam packed with new novels filled with innovative ideas and stories just waiting to be told. Each section of the store is arranged into themes, including ‘wanderlust’, ‘the city’ and ‘enchantment for disenchantment’. Pop on your reading glasses and get exploring the endless selection here.
65 Hanbury Street, Whitechapel, E1 5JP
From seventeenth-century Shakespeare folios to inscribed first editions of the Harry Potter series, only the best literary works come through the doors at Peter Harrington. Now half a century since establishment and with two shops under their belt, Peter Harrington is still a much loved bookshop, specialising in literature, economics, politics and philosophy, travel, navigation, military history, science and medicine, children’s books and fine library sets. The selection is on the more expensive side, but even if you can’t spend your pennies it’s definitely worth the visit to see some of the most famous first editions in the world.
It’s definitely worth the visit to see some of the most famous first editions in the world.
43 Dover Street, Mayfair, W1S 4FF
Having first opened its doors in 1979, Gay’s The Word is the UK’s only specfifically lesbian and gay bookstore in the UK and houses a range of literary works exploring the crime, romance, and non-fiction genres.
As well as providing LGBT literature to local libraries, youth groups and academic institutions, the independent bookshop also hosts regular talk panels, discussion groups and events helping to keep the lively, community spirit atmosphere alive. The shop also has a huge LGBT films collection you can explore too.
66 Marchmont Street, St. Pancras, WC1N 1AB
And the strangest bookshop award goes to… Word on the Water.
Word on the Water: The London Bookbarge is London’s only floating bookshop and sells top quality new and secondhand books, ranging from classics to children’s novels, art history to contemporary classics. Not only does the barge specialise in books, but it also hosts regular events, including poetry slams, intimate gigs and jazz shows to help spark your imagination and creativity.
York Way, Granary Square, Kings Cross
Hatchards has been loved by every literary lover since opening in 1797, making its Piccadilly outpost London’s oldest bookstore. Boasting over 100,000 books in store, Hatchards is known for its first editions and wide array of classics. Head on down and explore this historic store for yourself.
Boasting over 100,000 books in store, Hatchards is known for its first editions and wide array of classics.
Piccadilly / St. Pancras
New Beacon Books story stems back to 1966 when John La Rose and Sarah White opened the doors and became the UK’s first black publisher, specialist bookshop and international book distributor. Now over 50 years later, and the independent bookshop continues to help shed light of excellent literatures, history and children’s books from Africa, Caribbean, Asia, African America, Europe, South America and Britain. Explore the wide range and discover something new.
Reopening July 2020
76 Stroud Green Road, N4 3EN
Aside from the adorable shop name, this little bookshop specialises in children’s novels. Set up in 2003 by a local teacher, the bookshop has since become a part of Herne Hill’s community, regularly hosting free literary festivals, weekly story times and pop-up events. All of the books in the store are also available to buy online, so you can still support the local store even if you can’t visit instore.
25 Half Moon Lane, Herne Hill, SE24 9JU