Saturday, 3 May 2014

My Favourite London Bookshops

London is undoubtedly a literary city; there are blue plaques everywhere asserting that Thomas Hardy lived here, or Charles Dickens lived there, there are pubs dedicated to writers and there are cafes designed for book readings, some of the biggest and best libraries in the world are to be found here and of course, there's a huge array of bookshops to choose from. As I've said elsewhere, I don't often buy books in bookshops, but I do love to browse them, and these are my favourite places to do just that:   

1. Waterstones, Piccadily

Some people might object to chain bookshops, but I'm not one of them. It's always easy to find books in Waterstones, and in my experience Waterstones staff are usually very helpful. This is my favourite branch in London because not only is it the biggest branch [in fact it is Europe's biggest bookshop - there are six floors of books!], it is also rather lovely looking with it's broad staircases, it's impressive frontage and vibrant displays. And when you're done browsing, there's the 5th floor cafe to chill out in, which has brilliant views, and fabulous food.    

2. Daunt Books, Marylebone

If you're a travel book collector [like me] then this is the shop for you. Shelves and shelves of travel books, including the lovely big lonely planet ones just waiting to inspire you. Again, this is a good- looking bookshop with a pretty stained glass window dominating the back of the shop, built in shelves, and old fashioned lettering. Plus they give you tote bags when you purchase something, so you can declare your love for their books to all and sundry after you've left.  


3.Brixton Bookmongers

This is actually my nearest bookshop, but that's not why it's made the list. This one is great for finding obscurities [I particulary love their magic section, as I found a purple velvet spell book in there the other day, which made me feel like a character in a fantasy novel] and is definitely one of the cheaper bookshops to buy from, as all the books are secondhand. There's also a squishy green sofa in the back which is super comfortable if you want somewhere to sit while you decide what to buy.            

4.Black Gull Books, Camden

This was actually the first bookshop I visited in London aside from my local, and I remember loving the fact that there were books seemingly spilling out of the shop, as there are shelves inside and out. As with the rest of the shops in Camden, there are many unusual treasures to be found here [I once found a beautiful copy of Tolkien's The Silmarilion tucked away almost out of sight] and it's a good sight for people watching, as well as book browsing, since it's located in a sunny yard, very close to Camden Lock.

What are your favourite bookshops in London or elsewhere?

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