There’s nothing like snuggling up and escaping into a good book, especially not in a busy city like London. Forget everything else for a second and pretend you’re a rich young woman running barefoot through a castle, that you just murdered your fifth husband and buried him in the moor or that you’re a beautiful majestic pony, off to save the world. London is full of lovely bookshops and cozy places to enjoy your finds. Even if you prefer a Kindle or an audiobook, there’s so many fun and special places for you to visit. Here’s a list of 6 cozy places in London for every bookworm to enjoy.
The National Theatre Bookshop – Southbank
A quirky little bookshop filled with so much weird stuff to look at. Because it’s a theatre bookshop the selection of plays is, of course, impressive, but that’s certainly not the only thing on offer here.
The National Theatre Bookshop themes their display after whatever shows are currently playing. For example, if there’s a play about politics on there’s likely to be a larger selection of political literature. Likewise, if a play set in Spain, you might find a fun selection of Spanish authors.
Although the shop may not be big, it’s ever changing and you can easily spend a lot of time here. You can buy books, cards, stationery, tea towels, mugs, and many other fun little trinkets. The National Theatre itself is also quite the sight. With a view to the Southbank, the theatre cafe is a nice place to enjoy your book, spot a celebrity or two and write your next screenplay.
Daunt Books – Marylebone
This is a very popular bookshop and with good reason. Daunt Books looks exactly like those bookshops from the movies. Old fashioned with several levels, oak railings, and large arched windows, it’s like stepping into a cross between library and bookshop, sort of a modern Hogwarts.
There are books for everyone here, fiction and non-fiction neatly organized by country. You can spend hours browsing titles or just enjoying the atmosphere. It really is the book version of going to a fancy art gallery. Make sure you wear your glasses and mumble wise things like ‘Ah Kafka indeed! Love big books, such intellect yes.’ and you’ll fit right in.
Waterstones – Piccadilly
The largest bookshop in all of London with a whole 6 massive floors filled with books. If you cannot find what you’re looking for in any other bookshop, chances are you’ll find it here. The shop is full of incredibly friendly staff who can help you with whatever you may need. They’ll order titles you can’t find and wrap your books up all fancy and nice for you. There are so many temptations here, it’s like the book version of a Lush store.
If you’re in need of a break after making your way through a couple of floors, Waterstones also has a very lovely restaurant to offer. It’s called 5th view, is open all day and has cool floor-to-ceiling windows. Have a rest with whatever treasures you’ve found and enjoy a sweet treat or a fancy cocktail. Waterstones, of course, has a series of smaller bookshops all over London, should this one be a bit too much for you.
John Sandoe Books
If six floors is a floor too many for you, try this sweet, smaller bookshop by Sloane Square. John Sandoe Books has three floors completely crammed with books. Placed in a very charming 18th-century building, it looks exactly how you’d imagine a British bookshop to look like. This one tends to be less busy than the others so have fun exploring all the stacks of titles and take some nice photos of this charming, organized chaos.
The shop also has an impressive children’s section so it’s a solid choice if you’re going gift shopping. There are also a few chairs scattered around if you want to sit down whilst browsing. If you’re looking for something else Sloane Square is filled with nice restaurants and cafes and the Royal Court Theatre is right by.
Small Independent Bookshops
Supporting local businesses and small independent bookshops is so important and a quick google will help you find your nearest one. The fun thing about the smaller shops is that you’ll often find books you won’t find elsewhere and you’re likely to meet some of the most enthusiastic booksellers out there. London has so many to choose from, offering everything from bargain price literature to very specific shops, specializing in selected subjects.
If you travel to Bloomsbury you’ll find ‘Gay is the word’, the only remaining bookshop in the UK specializing in LGBTQIA+ literature. With a warm atmosphere and lovely staff, this place is filled to the brim with queer history. There are also shops like ‘Gosh!’ if comic books are your thing or you can travel to Lambeth and visit The Feminist Library Bookshop. Help bookshops like these stay open by giving them a visit and spreading the word!
One of London’s Many Parks
London has so many cozy places and cute little cafes to choose from where you can sit down and enjoy your books. They’re certainly great, but when summer comes it’s nice to change it up and go read in one of the city’s many parks. Hyde Park is a popular choice but can get extremely busy during tourist season so you may want to choose a different one for some peace and quiet.
If you want to stay Central you could try Regent Park. There’s also Battersea Park just a bit further South and Victoria Park in the East. Point is, there’s a lot of parks to choose from, one grander than the other. Most of them have their own little cafes and cute flower displays and there are always people out walking their pups. Pick a favorite or go exploring and choose a new park every time you buy a new book!