London’s Best Bookstores
Where to find bookish adventures in the British capital.
One cannot fathom a world without English literature. Without the words of literary geniuses such as Shakespeare and Jane Austen, the world would be a very different place. Literature is an integral part of English history and is preserved through elegant and unique bookstores around the country, particularly in London.
Daunt Books offers a glimpse back into Edwardian England with a store originally built in 1910. At the heart of the shop is a long, galleried room which features a beautiful arched window, partly glazed with stained glass. The room is lined with books arranged principally by country, no matter the nature of the content, which offers a beautiful browsing experience for a reader with wanderlust. While you sit in this quintessential English shop with rain pattering on the window outside, you can transport yourself to faraway lands.
If you want to go to the root of England’s literary culture, take the time to explore Hatchards. As the oldest bookshop in the United Kingdom, established in 1797, Hatchards has held its iconic 187 Piccadilly address for more than two centuries. Within its storied walls, literary, political, artistic and social tastemakers have found their words of inspiration. It is more than just a bookstore, it is an historic British institution.
With history stemming as far back as 1903, Foyles flagship bookstore at Charing Cross has been around longer than many countries. Foyles has forged through two world wars, and today remains one of England’s most loved literary destinations. The long-running family business now boasts four London locations, each designed to reflect its local neighbourhood. While you may find differences in decor, each Foyles store has become famous for an extensive range of fiction, the arts and children’s books. It’s always the right time to find your own fairytale at Foyles.
There are few things more British than books and phone boxes; the Lewisham Micro Library is a bit of both. A classic British phone box has been transformed into an entirely free mini library. All they ask is if you take a book to read, you replace it with a book of your own. Thus, the Lewisham Micro Library has created a rotating selection of books curated by passersby. If you’re looking for a quick stop to pick up a new read, this is for you.