Celebrate Roald Dahl Day

September 13

In honor of one of the world’s best storytellers, Roald Dahl Day takes place every year on September 13th. Four fantastical ways to celebrate in London and Surrey:

Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre (Great Missenden) — Get a glimpse into the life of Roald Dahl and what inspired his fanciful stories and enduring characters (Willa Wonka is 58 years and counting).  Here you will find his Writing Hut left as is — including the ball of foil wrappers from the three bars he ate nearly everyday (consequently he needed false teeth at 21 — also on display!) and part of his hip bone and the handcrafted writing table finished with cloth from a pool table.  Apparently, over his 36 year writing career, he wrote exclusively with US pencils and legal pads of paper.
www.roalddahl.com+44 1494 892192
81-83 High Street, Great Missenden, Bucks HP16 0AL

Charlie & the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea (London) — Speaking of having a sweet tooth, One Aldwych, located across the street from the Lyceum Theatre features one of the sweetest afternoon teas and is sure to please kids or kids at heart. Special touches include a keepsake illustrated menu featuring different characters on the cover from the book. With Afternoon Tea service Wednesday – Sunday beginning at Noon until 3 pm (weekdays and 4 pm weekends) it is perfectly timed to enjoy before a 2:30 pm Lion King matinee.
onealdwych.com+44 2073 0010008
1 Aldwych, London 

Matilda The Musical (London)— Winner of 99 international awards, including seven Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical (record for the most won by a musical), Matilda The Musical re-opened at West End's Cambridge Theatre September 2021 and recently celebrated its 10th anniversary in London. A Netflix film adaptation of Roald Dahl's Matilda is set scheduled to be released in the UK on December 2nd.
uk.matildathemusical.com+44 2039 252998
Earlham Street, LondonWC2H 9HU

National Motor Museum (Hampshire) — While Roald Dahl was best known for his book writing, he helped co-write the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang screenplay that was made into a film. The original vehicle is included in a world-famous collection of 280+ vehicles at the National Motor Museum.

BONUS : The Beaulieu Attraction is one of the top visitor's destinations and the all-inclusive ticket includes access to The National Motor Museum, World of Top Gear, Palace House & Gardens, Little Beaulieu, Beaulieu Abbey, The Secret Army Exhibition and unlimited rides on the monorail.
www.nationalmotormuseum.org.uk+44 1590 614650
Beaulieu, Brockenhurst, Hampshire SO42 7ZN

As Roald Dahl once said 'A little magic can take you a long way.'

London for (Book) Lovers

International Literacy Day September 8th

With back to school upon us and in celebration of International Literacy Day September 8th, London boasts some of the biggest and most unique bookstores.

Waterstones is the largest bookstore chain in the UK and its Piccadilly location is considered the biggest bookstore in Europe. Foyles, which was purchased by Waterstones, flagship store in Charing Cross Road was recognized by Guinness Book of Records for the number of titles on display and its 30 miles worth of shelf space.

Some relatively smaller, but equally impressive shops include:

Hatchards — Located next to Fortnum & Mason, Hatchards is the UK’s oldest book shop and holds three Royal Warrants and considered a bookseller to the Royal Households. While it too is owned by Waterstones, its Piccadilly location covering four floors with 100,000 books definitely does not feel like the run-of-the-mill bookshop.
www.hatchards.co.uk+44 2074 399921
187 Piccadilly, London W1J9LE

Daunt Books — The two-story Edwardian style branch in Marylebone was originally established in 1910 and is considered one of the first custom-built bookshops in the world. James Daunt founded Daunt Books in 1990 and is known for specializing in travel books — all neatly organized geographically by country. Additionally, Daunt is an executive of Waterstones and more recently Barnes & Noble. If there is even a touch of the charm similar to the Marleboyne location, book lovers are in for a treat.
www.dauntbooks.co.uk+44 2072 242295
83-84 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 4QW

Word On the Water Located canal side near King’s Cross railway station, a 1920s Dutch barge has been repurposed into a charming floating bookstore also known as The London Book Barge. Operating since 2011, they were cleverly open up as an outdoor market throughout the pandemic by only selling selections from their exterior shelves and continuing their tradition of treating passer-bys with live music performance and poetry slams.
www.wordonthewater.co.uk+44 7976 886982
York Way, Granary Square, London N1C 4LW

The Notting Hill Book Shop — This independent book shop made famous by Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts in the film Notting Hill was known for its travel books. In fact, the back part of the store is still called The Travel Book Company as featured in the film. The iconic blue exterior matches the Hugh Grant’s famous blue door, which is a quick 2 minute walk away at 280 Westbourne Park Road. It is hard that 23 years later fans still flock there!
www.thenottinghillbookshop.co.uk +44 2072 295260
13 Blenheim Crescent, London W11 2EE

Books for Cooks Not nearly as famous as its Notting Hill neighbor, the sheer volume and variety of cookbooks is overwhelming at Books for Cooks. Tucked in the back of the store is an on-site test kitchen where recipes are put to the test Tuesday – Saturday. They offer a reasonably priced three-course meals, usually featuring recipes from Books for Cooks own cookbook. The tables fill up by noon, so arrive by 11:45 am to guarantee a seat and food is served until it is gone.
www.booksforcooks.com+44 2072 211992
4 Blenheim Crescent, London W11 1NN

While technically not a book shop, you can’t mention books without mentioning the British Library . . .

British Library Since the British Library receives a copy of every publication produced in the UK and Ireland, it houses a staggering 150 million items. To put this in context, if you were to take out five items every day, it would take you over 80,000 years to view them all! Reserve a free tour that covers the history of the Library and its collections (including the King's Library, which once belonged to King George III) along with how items are stored and delivered to researchers. Visits include a stop in the book handling room and possibly the viewing platform to see researchers at work and ends in the Treasures Gallery where such notable items as the Beatles Manuscripts, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Notebook, the Magna Carta, and the first edition of The Times are displayed.
www.bl.uk+44 3303 331144
96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB

Bookworms can also checkout, nearly 250 other book shops in London: londonbookshops.org/map.html

All for the love of books!