Looking for creative inspiration? A meaningful gift for a book worm? A cozy reading nook to while away a rainy afternoon in London? We've rounded up a selection of our favorite bookshops, from independent stores to vast literary emporiums. Read all about it here.
With a mirrored ceiling, bright yellow shelves, cosy reading nooks, and events combining beers, live music, and film screenings, Libreria is London's coolest bookshop. Located on Hanbury Street near Spitalfields Market, the store was founded by tech entrepreneur Rohan Silva and opened in 2016. It stocks a curated selection of books, all sorted into suggestive themes like Wanderlust and Enchantment and there's a focus on titles from cutting-edge independent publishers. It's open until 9 pm Thursday to Saturday and there are often all-nighter events for a late-night literary fix.
Founded in 1797, Hatchards is London's oldest bookshop and is the official bookseller to the royal family. Inside the five-story building, you'll find portraits of the Queen, several royal crests, beautiful oak wood bookshelves, and traditional Chesterfield sofas. Browse through modern and classic fiction, poetry books and travel literature. The shop stocks a range of signed books and first editions and the children's section features a great selection of literary gifts. Check out the events list for upcoming talks, discussions and book signings.
With its long oak wood balconies, parquet flooring and stained-glass windows, Daunt Books in Marylebone is London's prettiest bookshop. It stocks a great range of fiction and reference books as well as an impressive selection of travel guides and literature. It's housed in an Edwardian building that once served as an antique bookshop and is thought to be the first custom-built bookshop in the world. Make time to browse the titles in this beautiful setting. The smart, friendly team are on hand to provide excellent recommendations.
Channel your inner nerd at Gosh!, a bookshop dedicated to graphic novels and comics in the heart of Soho. This industrial-chic store on the corner of Berwick Street stocks titles from all over the world, from contemporary graphic fiction to stylish children's books and Manga classics. Check the website for events including launch parties, signings and hands-on workshops with noted illustrators.
This indie bookshop on Bloomsbury's Lamb's Conduit Street stocks out-of-print fiction and non-fiction titles by (mainly) female writers from the mid 20th-century. The books make excellent gifts as they're all beautifully designed with gray covers, a fabric endpaper and a matching bookmark. Regular events include film screenings, talks and tours and there's a civilized reading group on the first Wednesday of every month for discussions paired with wine and cheese.
Word on the Water is London's only floating bookshop. It's stuffed full of affordable books and hosts live music and poetry events up on the roof of a restored 1920s Dutch barge. It was saved from closure after a passionate campaign and is now moored permanently at Granary Square near King's Cross Station.
This vast store on Charing Cross Road stocks over 200,000 books across 4 very stylish floors. It occupies the former HQ of Central Saint Martins college and features an impressive central atrium and a large art space. There's a whole floor set aside for events like readings, signings, live jazz sessions, kids workshops and reading groups for book worms of all ages and interests. The shop was founded in 1903 by the Foyles brothers and is still family owned today.
Where better to find culinary inspiration than in Notting Hill's aptly named Books for Cooks. The store stocks 8,000+ titles spanning foodie fiction, autobiographies and recipe books from all corners of the globe and hosts regular workshops based on specific cookbooks. There's a demonstration kitchen out back so there are always tasty aromas wafting through the store and the cafe serves homemade cakes, coffee and savory dishes throughout the day. The menu changes daily (the recipes come from the books in stock) and many of the ingredients are sourced from Portobello Market, right on the doorstep.
Established in 1853, Stanfords is home to the world's largest collection of maps and travel books. At the flagship Covent Garden store you can plan your next adventure by following in the footsteps of epic explorers including Ernest Shackleton, Ranulph Fiennes and Michael Palin, who have all shopped here. There's a great selection of atlases, travel literature, kids books, globes and all sorts of travel guides about destinations, themes and activities. The knowledgeable team can put together bespoke maps based on specific zip codes or historic areas.