London is a goldmine for any literary fanatic. Not only is it home to the magnificent British Library which has been estimated to contain 150-200 million items from a number of countries, making it the largest national library in the world, but a plethora of other amazing libraries, cafes and bookshops too for bookworms. It’s worthwhile mentioning a place that necessarily isn’t one spot but many around London, specifically the Underground. You’d never have thought that the London Underground would be a suggestion for a bookworm, but thanks to the initiative of Books On The Underground, many London tube stations have small bookshelves by the entrance for any passengers to take and leave a book. Books can even be found on the tube themselves if you’re lucky, just look out for the sticker with Books On The Underground labelled.
1. Daunt Books
Founded in 1990, this Edwardian independent bookshop in Marylebone High Street was originally built for antiquarian booksellers Francis Edwards in 1910. The stunning bookshop features a long galleried main room which has a focus on a beautiful arched window partly glazed with stained glass. Daunt Books have become somewhat of an institution considering they’ve been around for so long and have remained popular to loyal fans and new ones too.
Libreria nestled in East London’s Spitalfields is unlike any other bookshop. They place importance the experience you have in a bookshop and genuinely just finding the right book for you and exploring different genres. This is why Libreria has the rule of no phones, which is a refreshing change considering how so much of our lives revolve around our phones and how much time we spend on them. It really is all about the books. Libreria has unique yellow shelves which have an organic feel as they curve around the shop, there are also built in reading nooks in the shelves around the shop that make for a cosy space. A unique find.
3. Word On Water
Another unique spot for any book-lover to visit in London is Word On Water which is a bookshop that’s literally on the water and has its fair share of quirks. This floating bookshop is docked at the Regent’s Canal Towpath in Kings Cross, has reasonably priced books and even hosts occasional live jazz performances and book talks. Word On Water provides a welcome change to most bookshops and is a definite must to drop by during walks on the canal or if you’re ever passing by Kings Cross. There’s even a wood burnings stove and friendly dog on board to make your visit even cosier, what’s not to like?
Stanford’s pride themselves on being the world’s largest map and travel retailer, their London store has been trading in Covent Garden since 1853. They’ve recently relocated to a new location, not far from their original standing on Long Acre, to Mercer Walk. The same quality and passion for travelling has stayed with Stanford’s throughout the years and the move around the corner certainly hasn’t changed this. Stanford’s pride themselves on the depth of their stock which are sourced by experts from all over the world, the move provides them with more back office space to keep their large stock well organised and stored.
5. Any Amount of Books
Any Amount of Books is a secondhand bookshop which specialises in rare antiquarian editions, you’ll be sure to stumble upon many literary gems. Their shelves are piled high with books and the creak of floorboards add character to the shop which compliments the many antique books that litter the shelves. This is a true bookworm’s paradise and is not to be missed.