About a year an a half ago, I wrote the first A Bibliophile’s Escape in London post, but as London is a vast capital city and has SO many hidden treasures, I thought it was only fitting that I did a second one. So below are some more bookish places I suggest you visit if you ever find yourself in London!
South Bank Book Market
337–338 Belvedere Rd, South Bank, London SE1 9PX
Almost every time I go to London, I take a quick visit to the South Bank Book Market; located along the Thames in between The London Eye and Shakespeare’s Globe, it is always heaving with people rifling through the books. The second-hand and antique book market is underneath Waterloo Bridge on Queen’s Walk, so even in the rain, it stays dry! All the books there are second-hand and there are copies from just about every genre. Most are quite low-cost and even if you don’t buy anything, it’s always fun to have a look around and what’s even better is that it’s open every day until 7pm so everyone should be able to visit if they find themselves in London!
Gay’s The Word
66 Marchmont St, Kings Cross, London WC1N 1AB
Well, this shop is great, and to be honest, it doesn’t need much explanation – it’s a bookshop full of LGBTQ+ books and is the only one of its kind in England. I really love the film Pride, which is based on a true story of a group of lesbian and gay activists who helped families affected by the miner’s strike in 1984 and raised money for them; Gay’s the Word is featured heavily throughout the film as the headquarters of the alliance Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, so it was an honour to visit the place in real life. The shop is such an enjoyable little place to have a browse – I would highly recommend going there!
66 The Brunswick, off Marchmont Street, London WC1N 1AE
This shop was just ENDLESS. Honestly, there were shelves, and shelves, and shelves to rifle through with books from every genre, both fiction and non-fiction. Even as you enter the shop and are immediately greeted with the wonderful display in the picture to the left. I mean, there were books hanging from the ceiling!!! Then as you go down the stairs, there’s a paradise of literature awaiting you. I don’t really read that many classics, but I do appreciate their aesthetic look. A lot of old classics have absolutely stunning covers and, when placed all together, a shelf of classic books is just lovely, and there were plenty of those shelves there. I could’ve spent a lot longer there, and will definitely go back if I’m in the area again!
London Review Book Shop
14–16 Bury Pl, Bloomsbury, London WC1A 2JL
This was a short walk from Skoob Books and was a lovely place, full of a variety of books and over 20,000 titles in store. Compared to Skoob Books, it was quite different as it only sells new copies and looks more like a ‘traditional’ bookshop. Set out very much like a Waterstone’s or Foyle’s, it was a delightful place to wander around. There was also signs for events which were taking place there too (if you head to their website, you can see all the upcoming events there). Plus the shop also comes with a cake shop open from Monday–Saturday 10am–6:30pm (even more of a reason to visit).
Word on the Water
Regent’s Canal Towpath, Kings Cross, London N1C 4BZ
Ever since Jaz (Travels in Fiction) visited the place, I really wanted to go. Word on the Water is quite simply a bookshop on a boat. ON A BOAT!? It has a permanent residency near King’s Cross and is full of literary delights to explore. I was quite surprised at how much the boat was able to squeeze in, but there were plenty of titles to browse through both inside and outside the floating bookshop. And if that’s not enough, the boat is also home to a dog, so really, there’s no excuse not to visit!
As there aren’t many bookshops in Reading (where I live) it would be great to see any shops like these open up there! Waterstone’s is great, but I wish there was more of a variety of bookshops like there is in London.
There’s still so many of London’s bookish places which I haven’t visited yet, so hopefully I’ll be able to explore them soon, but please let me know if you know of any good ones, and I’ll make sure to check them out!