April 25, 2014
London Bookstore Tour
by Claire Kelley
On a recent trip to London, I visited as many bookstores as I could. From a boutique shop in Notting Hill, to the used bookstores on Charing Cross Road, to the bigger chain stores like Waterstones and Blackwells, here’s a sampling of what I discovered after getting recommendations from Melville House UK Director of Marketing Zeljka Marosevic.
Lutyens & Rubinstein
21 Kensington Park Road, London, W11 2EU
This cute little independent bookshop and literary agency is located in Notting Hill, just around the corner from Portobello Road’s excellent Saturday market.
83 Marylebone High St, London W1U 4QW
This pretty shop specializes in travel books, in addition to history and fiction. The older party of the shop was an antiquarian bookshop built in 1912 and the gallery above and the green back window are just gorgeous. I visited the Marlebone location, but there are also shops in Chelsea, Holland Park, Cheapside, Hampstead, and Belsize Park.
Any Amount of Books
56 Charing Cross Road, London WC2
It seems like there’s another used bookstore every five steps while walking along Charing Cross Road, but this one seems to be a good spot to find books for one pound since they have bargain shelves out front. If you can’t make it to browse inperson, their entire stock of over 42,000 books is available on AbeBooks.
Francis Edwards Books
72 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0BB
They might have separate websites, but these two used bookstores share one location. You can read a Q&A with a bookseller from the shop here and the Matilda Project has written a nice profile of Quinto & Francis Edwards too.
80 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0BF
This German-owned independent bookstore specializes in art, design, architecture, and photography books.
100 Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0JG
This chain store feels like the British version of Barnes & Noble. Headquartered in Oxford, there are about 45 locations of the chain and one of the flagship stores on Charing Cross Road is pictured below.
113-119 Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0EB
Foyles claims to be the “London’s most famous bookstore.” I’m not sure if that’s true, but it must be one of the largest. The fact that it’s independent makes it even more wonderful, and the interesting history of the shop can be found on the company’s website. They’re expanding into a new space that has been designed with input from customers, and you can see the Charing Cross flagship store under construction below.
49A Museum St, London WC1A 1LY
Need to put a spell on someone? You might want to visit the Atlantis Bookshop, which has been the hub of London’s occult world for 90 years.
London Review Bookshop
14 Bury Place, London, WC1A 2JL
The London Review Bookshop is very close to the British Museum and includes a cafe next door. The day I visited they were fixing the doorway so I couldn’t get in, but what I was able to see through the window made me think it has a wide selection of very good books.
The Grand Building, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5EJ
Waterstones is the largest bookstore chain in the UK. The picture below, taken from Trafalgar Square, shows one of the smaller Waterstones locations.
Claire Kelley is a the former Director of Library and Academic Marketing.