Besides taking in the sights and sounds on your next trip to London, why not consider adjusting your itinerary a little to add a few trips to their local bookstores? As a well-known literary city, there’s no better way to experience this side of London then with a trip to some of their most eye-catching bookstores.
While one could always argue that this digital age no longer requires any sort of physical trip down, there is something alluring about stepping into an architectural chic bookstore, which provides you with a bespoke shopping experience that you can’t find online.
Here are 6 bookstores in London to love.
Here are six eye-catching bookstores that you simply must visit when you’re in London.
Photo Credit: Daunt Books
Probably the most popular of all bookstores in the city, the Marylebone branch of Daunt Books has been, without a doubt, one of the most Instagrammed bookstores in London.
Taking up residence within a gorgeous Edwardian building, you might just think that you’ve stepped back in time when you see the astonishingly well-stocked galleried main room which holds rows and rows of books. The stained glass windows also add a nice touch, making you feel as though you’re browsing the library of an aristocrat.
The books here are sorted via a country system, which means that regardless of genre, you will definitely find a fresh and exciting read!
84 Marylebone High Street
London W1U 42W
Mon to Sat: 9am – 7.30pm
Sun and Bank Holidays: 11am – 6pm
Nearest station: Baker Street or Bond Street
Photo Credit: immovingtolondon
Located in an 18th Century building, sits an old bookstore that’s been around since 1970. Using the original bow window, Foster Books offer the opportunity for intrigued individuals to get a glimpse into how old the bookstore really is.
The store specializes in the sale of quality classics, first editions, as well as old, rare and out-of-print books. They also sell bargain books outdoors for just a pound or two.
In addition to their daily operation, Foster Books have also worked with the film and television industry to supply their books as props for movies such as Beauty and the Beast, The Danish girl and the 2017 remake of Blade Runner 2049.
183 Chiswick High Road
London W4 2DR
Mon to Sat: 10.30am – 5.30pm
Sun: 11am – 5pm
Nearest station: Turnham Green
Photo Credit: Hatchards
Known as the city’s most prestigious bookstore, Hatchards was established in 1797 and have since become a landmark on Piccadilly Street, occupying their current building for over two centuries.
Bestowed with three royal warrants, which includes one from Her Majesty, The Queen, Hatchards is home to more than 100,000 rare, limited and first editions which are spread across the five levels of oak and mahogany floors.
The bookstore often holds dialogue sessions with authors, which is a great way to experience an afternoon or evening of literary exchange.
London W1J 9LE
Mon to Sat: 9.30am – 8pm
Sun: 12pm – 6.30pm
Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus
Photo Credit: Hurlingham Books
Opened in 1968, this independent bookstore located in South West London, is a rather quirky looking gem that houses books which are stacked from floor to ceiling.
From vintage to rare and second-hand books, Hurlingham has almost every genre imaginable. With every available space within the store occupied with books, it is not hard to spot the store by its filled windows. Though there is very limited space within the store, they do have a warehouse that houses over a million books (not too far from the store), so if you happen to be looking for a book, you just might find it there!
Hurlingham is also renowned for their irregular opening hours which are part of their charm, though it might be a little bit of a hassle since you will need to call ahead before you make a visit.
91 Fulham High Street
London SW6 3JS
Mon to Fri: 9am – 6pm
Sat & Sun: 10am – 6pm
Nearest Station: Putney Bridge
Photo Credit: Libreria
Designed by Spanish architects SelgasCano, Libreria is opened by the folks of Second Home to help visitors discover new books and ideas, and encourage interdisciplinary thinking.
Books here have been curated to maximize serendipity, and shelves have been arranged according to broad themes such as Wanderlust and The City, which ensures that you are constantly finding titles which you might not look for at other bookstores.
Aside from the colorful shelves and interesting variety of titles, Libreria employs the clever use of mirrors to extend the space as well as provide cozy reading nooks, for you to hideaway with a novel, or just take a break.
65 Hanbury Street
London E1 5JP
Tue & Wed: 10am – 6pm
Thu to Sat: 10am – 8pm
Sun: 11am – 6pm
Closed on Mondays
Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street
Photo Credit: Word on the Water
Word on the Water
If you’re looking for a really unconventional kind of bookstore, Word on the Water would be the store you’ve been searching for.
Housed on board a 100-year-old 1920s Dutch barge, this floating bookstore used to travel along the Regent’s Canal but is now a permanent resident by Granary Square in King’s Cross. Here, you’ll find a neat collection of new and used books that fill every nook and cranny.
Alongside the wood-burning stove (for keeping warm), friendly dog and occasional live jazz performances, Word on the Water is the ideal spot to visit when you need a little breather from the main streets of the city.
Word on the Water
London N1C 4AA
Daily: 12pm – 7pm
Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras