London has long been the subject of world famous fiction. From plays to novels to TV shows the world over, the dazzling sights and sounds of the English capital act as background or even the subject of many of the world’s best writing. With renewed London hotel cleanliness hygiene standards post-COVID, more and more tourists are revisiting the city and sometimes drawn by its links to their favourite lockdown reads and watches. It’s not only its literary connotations, it’s its links to bookselling too.
Guests at the Chilworth London Paddington are ideally placed to indulge in the city’s sea of bookshops. From Paddington Bear to the book markets of the South Bank, London’s wealth of literature is never far away. This blog will outline some of the best independent bookshops in London. Whilst companies such as Waterstones and Foyles are great for a holiday read, the independent, antique and second hand bookshops of London offer a different side to the city and a more romantic ideal of London. Below are some of our favourites.
Daunt Books is easy to reach for West London hotel getaway deal guests in Marleybone, but that’s not the only reason that it’s worth a visit from wandering travellers. Daunt’s main focus is on travel related fiction, non-fiction, guides and memoirs. Opened in 1912 and still flaunting a Victorian atrium, this spacious London bookshop is organised by country rather than genre, adding another layer of worldliness to this staple of London’s literary scene.
London Review Of Books
It’s unsurprising that one of the top periodicals and book reviewing websites in the city – and country – has its own shop front in Bloomsbury. With a broad range of genres, the London Review Of Books holds more than 20,000 titles at any given time and even has its own cafe on site, perfect for sampling some of the titles you plan to buy.
Bookmarks is another Bloomsbury gem but this time for left leaning, radical and socialist fiction, politics, economics and trade unionism titles, all focused on making the world a better place. Here you’ll even find political kids books and poetry titles, all with a political bent that draws in the world’s leading thinkers.
From homegrown graphic novels to world leading comic book titles, Gosh! Comics in Soho is among the best in the city for the medium and has its own basement, perfect for finding those hidden gems.
Persephone Books is another revolutionary bookshop and focuses on female authors from across the world. With its name referring to the tragic classic Greek character, Persephone Books on Russell Square offers a broad range of overlooked treasures and doubles up as an indie publishing house – so you know they mean business.
Word On The Water
Quite a tight fit but densely packed, Word On the Water is a St Pancras bound Barge that floats on the canals of North London and is – you guessed it – packed with books. This is no gimmick either, Word On The Water is dedicated to second-hand bookselling, making it ethical, great value and still charming.
Cecil Court Bookshops
With a long history of arson and forgery dating back to the later 17th century, Cecil Court later transformed itself as a go-to for literature, featuring a great menu of different booksellers including Goldsboro Books for first editions, Marchpane for children’s books and Travis & Emery for music-related writing.