Many people come to London to experience the exciting nightlife or to take advantage of the amazing attractions throughout the city.
But there are those looking for quiet corners of London to relax and lose themselves in their favourite book. If you're the type of person who loves to read, then the huge selection of new and used book shops in London will have you turning pages in no time. Whether you're looking for romantic novels or thrilling fantasy tales, our list of top book shops is sure to help you find some new stories to add to your library.
This is one of the biggest bookshops in the world that specialises in travel literature, with hundreds of books and documents available. Stanfords opened its doors in 1901 and has been an essential stop on the road for many travellers and backpackers. The shop itself is made up of three floors, each packed with centuries of travel knowledge. If you’re a seasoned wanderer or you're looking to hit the road for the first time, then you’ll find help amongst Stanford’s vast collection of guides, maps and travel journals.
This is arguably London’s most beautiful book shop, with architecture that has almost as much creative history as the selection of books it holds. It is one of those quiet corners of London we guarantee bookworms will return to again and again. The Edwardian-style building features stained glass windows and antique fixtures, which make it feel more like you're stepping into a museum than a shop. The unique cataloguing system means that the books are organised by country, making browsing through the collection much more fun and interesting.
Persephone Books offers a unique take on the classic book shop. The indie publisher aims to give old books a new lease on life. Their main focus is on out-of-print novels by women who write interwar stories. Located on Lamb’s Conduit Street, the elegant book shop has published a number of popular titles including ‘Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day’, which was developed into a film.
Quinto / Francis Edwards
This rustic book store is perfect for those readers who like a good classic. There are two floors that make up this second-hand bookshop. The basement level has hundreds of paperback titles in a variety of different genres, making it perfect for an afternoon browse. The ground floor is where you'll find the real treasures that are hidden away on the shelves of this historic bookshop. The Francis Edwards collection of antique books is one of the best in London, with hundreds of rare titles that you can’t find anywhere else.
Devoted readers and book enthusiasts may be familiar with this historic shop. Hatchards is the UK’s oldest surviving book shop and has been supplying readers with literature since 1797. With a massive collection of over 100,000 books, visitors are sure to find what they’re looking for on one of Hatchard’s four floors. Although the aged store is now owned by the Waterstones brand, it still holds its historic appeal and is worlds away from the usual chains found on the high street. A trip to Hatchards is a trip back in time through the history of British literature.