London is a fantastic destination for bookworms as it is bursting with brilliant bookshops. From modern shops selling the latest best-seller to centuries-old stores selling first-editions, London’s bookish reputation is well deserved. Here are some of the best bookshops in London that should be on every well-read visitors’ list.
The 7 Best Bookshops in London
Established in 1797, Hatchards is London’s oldest bookshop. It has occupied 187 Piccadilly since Georgian times and is a British institution. Due to its heritage and history, Hatchards has plenty of signed copies of books by some fantastic authors and it stocks first editions as well. However, far from being stuck in the past, its shelves are heaving with bestsellers of all genres as well as the classics too.
Waterstones Piccadilly is the biggest bookshop in London. In fact, it claims to be the largest bookshop in Europe. Housed in a beautiful 1930s art deco Grade I listed building, there are over 8 miles (12.8km) of shelves laden with more than 200,000 titles. The bookshop is spread over six floors. It stocks all kinds of books and has a delightful children’s section as well as a Russian bookshop staffed by Russian speakers. Because you will probably work up an appetite and thirst looking at all those books there are two cafes and a bar with great views over the London rooftops.
Avid travellers can satisfy their wanderlust with a trip to Stanfords, the world’s largest travel and map bookshop. Packed to the rafters with books, maps, atlases, globes, stationery and plenty of other travel-related items, this shop in Convert Garden takes you on a trip around the world. Stanfords has been in operation since 1853 and has had plenty of famous customers including Florence Nightingale, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Captain Robert Falcon Scott.
4. Daunt Books
Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street has to be one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world. The Edwardian bookshop has a glorious old-world interior that just invites you to browse for hours and get lost amongst its oak galleries. Soaring windows flood the shop with natural light and on the shelves, you’ll find books specialising in travel. Browsing this independent bookshop is a delight as sections are organised geographically. So you’ll find guidebooks, phrasebooks and maps sitting alongside travel writing, history and fiction as they are all grouped by their relevant country.
Foyles is one of the most famous bookshops in London. Located on Charing Cross Road in London’s Soho district, Folyes has over 4 miles (6.5km) of shelves stocked with over 200,000 titles. It is a book lover’s dream shop. Foyles stocks the largest range of books in the UK and inside you’ll also find a cafe, auditorium and gallery. Throughout the year the bookshop also hosts literary and music events.
Lutyens and Rubinstein Bookshop on Kensington Park Road in the cool Notting Hill area of London is a terrific independent bookshop. On the shelves, you’ll find a wonderful array of titles on art and poetry as well as children’s books. Fiction and general non-fiction titles are also stocked. If you head down into the basement there are neat sliding bookcases which add a touch of theatrics to your book buying.
Looking for a rare edition of a book or an antique map? Perhaps you require some vintage photographs. Then make sure you pay a visit to Shapero Rare Books on New Bond Street. It is one of the finest rare bookshops in London. Stocked are books on all subjects but the shop specialises in travel, literature (including modern first editions), children’s books, natural history, illustrated books and books of Russian and Jewish interest. If you have a rare book to sell, Shapero also does book valuations.