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. 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. 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. 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! +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. 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. 3303 331144
96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB

Bookworms can also checkout, nearly 250 other book shops in London:

All for the love of books!


Post a Comment