15 Best Bookshops in London
Steeped in literary history, there’s no shortage of beautiful bookshops in London. From bookstores that will make you feel like you’ve stepped into the library from Beauty and the Beast to ones that feel like you’ve stepped into someone’s living room, this list of best bookshops in London covers the beautiful, cozy and unique bookshops in this literary city.
Daunt Books Marylebone
If there’s ever a bookstore you’d want to live in, Daunt Books would be that bookstore. Beautiful mahogany wood shelves line the floor to ceiling of this three story bookstore. The aqua colored walls scream happiness, while cozy chairs are arranged throughout the store in the most perfect nooks to curl up and read. Plus, every member of staff makes you feel like an old friend.
Often billed as a travel bookstore, Daunt Books runs the full gamut of books and does so in a completely brilliant way. The shelves are organized by country no matter what the subject. For example, if you’re looking in Portugal, you’d find not only travel guides for Portugal, but history, non-fiction and fiction books about the country and by authors from that country.
Address: 83 Marylebone High Street, Marylebone, London W1U 4QW
Hours: Monday to Saturday: 9:00am-7:30pm; Sunday: 11:00am-6:00pm
Lutyens and Rubenstein
Everything about the charming Lutyens and Rubenstein caters to the booklover. Book motifs float from the store’s ceiling making it a fantasy land of books. Though not a very large store, all of the books that sit on the shelves of the stores were selected by canvassing hundreds of readers, so each book comes with its own personal recommendation.
Address: 21 Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2EU
Hours: Monday: 10:00am-6:00pm; Tuesday to Friday: 10:00am-6:30pm; Saturday: 10:00am-6:00pm; Sunday: 11:00am-5:00pm
Hatchards holds the title of the oldest bookstore in the United Kingdom and has been in operation since 1797. The beautiful luxe interiors and the cozy leather chairs and sofas situated throughout the store almost make it feel like you’ve stepped into a historic home. Now owned by Waterstones, the store contains the latest fiction and non-fiction, as well as beautiful editions of old classics.
Hatchards often hosts author events so be sure to check out the calendar to see if there’s anything interesting coming up before your visit.
Address: 187 Piccadilly, St. Jame’s, London W1J 9LE
Hours: Monday to Saturday: 9:30am-8:00pm; Sunday: 12:00pm-6:30pm
John Sandoe Books
Made up of three 18th century stores, John Sandoe Books will transport you into Dickensian London. The beautiful wood floors, the creaky stairs and that smell that only comes with a historic building full of towers and towers of books earns this store a spot on the best bookshops in London.
John Sandoe Books caters to the the humanities so if you’re in the market for general fiction, history, biography or poetry book, be prepared to spend hours perusing this beautiful bookshop in London.
Address: 10-12 Blacklands Terrace, Chelsea, London SW3 2SR
Hours: Monday to Saturday: 9:30am-6:30pm; Sunday: 11:00am-5:00pm
Persephone Books doubles as a bookstore and publisher, specializing in women’s fiction. You may find some of the classics here, but Persephone Books gravitates towards women’s fiction that has been overlooked over the decades. A distinctive gray cover with vibrant inner pages will distinguish one of their published books and add character to your bookshelf.
Address: 59 Lamb’s Conduit St, Holburn, London WC1N 3NB
Hours: Monday to Friday: 10:00am-6:00pm; Saturday: 11:00am-5:00pm; Sunday: 12:00pm-4:00pm
London Review Bookshop
Bloomsbury boasts a strong connection to literary English canons, including Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf and E.M. Forster, so it’s no wonder one of the best bookshops in London is located in this neighborhood. The London Review Bookshop, just steps from the British Museum, has everything you could want out of a bookshop. They carry a wide variety of books, including classics, modern fiction, history, poetry, children’s books, among others. A number of chairs, both indoors and outdoors, give you the opportunity to snuggle in with your new book.
The bookstore also has the added bonus of the adjoining London Review Cake Shop, which has some of the most delicious cake you will ever eat in your life.
Address: 14 Bury Place, Bloomsbury, London WC1A 2JL
Hours: Monday to Saturday: 10:00am-6:30pm; Sunday: 12:00pm-6:00pm
Foyles Flagship Bookshop
The Foyles Flagship Bookshop on Charing Cross Road greets you with a comforting message: “Welcome book lover, you are among friends.” With 30 miles of bookshelves in the five story building, Foyles lives up to that promise. You can find pretty much any book on any subject within this behemoth, and many books you didn’t know you needed.
The original Foyles store, located on 16 Cecil Court (the location of the next best bookshop in London), opened in 1906 and has had many hubs before moving into its current home at 107 Charing Cross Road.
Address: 107 Charing Cross Road, Soho, London WC2H 0DT
Hours: Monday to Saturday: 9:00am-9:00pm; Sunday: 11:30am-6:00pm
Marchpane will bring the child within everyone alive. This antiquarian bookseller specializes in rare, signed and first editions of favorite children’s stories including Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh and more. A dalek hangs in the corner of the shop and the store is decorated not just in rare books, but figurines, plushies and more that bring the characters from our favorite childhood books out into the store. It’s a small wonderland of beloved childhood stories.
Additionally, Marchpane is located on Cecil Court, the book-lined street that inspired J.K. Rowling’s Diagon Alley. Once you’re done browsing Marchpane Books, make sure to check out some of the other stores that line this block of bookstores.
Address: 16 Cecil Ct, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4EZ
Hours: Monday to Saturday: 10:00am-6:00pm
The Broadway Bookshop
This cozy bookstore near Broadway Market is a gem of a local bookshop. A perfect place to spend an afternoon browsing, the Broadway Bookshop has a basement filled with new fiction, local history and children’s books. Like Daunt Books, their travel section also features not just travel guides, but integrates novels and non-fiction from those countries.
On top of feeling like a welcoming living room, the friendly staff will go out of their way to make you feel at home in the store and will even order books for you if they don’t have what you need. They also hold intimate events here at time.
Address: 6 Broadway Market, Hackney, London E8 4QJ
Hours: Monday to Saturday: 10:00am-6:00pm; Sunday: 11:00am-5:00pm
The Bookshop on the Heath
If the bright blue exterior of this friendly bookstore doesn’t enchant you, then the beautiful selection of secondhand books of the Bookshop on the Heath will. The shop covers a wide range of subjects, including children’s classics, crime and adventure, poetry, play and science fiction. Leather-bound volumes and a collection of old and rare maps decorate their walls.
Address: 74 Tranquil Vale, Blackheath, London SE3 0BW
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 11:00am-5:30pm; Saturday: 10:00am-6:00pm; Sunday: 11:00am-5:00pm
Libreria greets you with a disclaimer: “our shop is designed as an antidote for the technological age.” That means no cell phones in this best bookshop of London. Inspired by Jorge Luis Borges “The Library of Babel,” a story about a library that holds all books, the mirror-lined ceiling makes it feel as though the stores and books stretch on for miles.
Cozy nooks abound in this bookshop so once you’ve found your new book, settle into one of the wall booths and enjoy some tech-free time.
Address: 65 Hanbury St, Spitalfields, London E1 5JP
Hours: Monday: Closed; Tuesday & Wednesday: 11:00am-6:00pm; Thursday to Saturday: 11:00am-9:00pm; Sunday: 12:00pm-6:00pm
Word on the Water
A cozy boat, full of books and even cozier chairs to sit and read them in? That’s Word on the Water. This house-boat turned bookshop floats at Regents Canal near Kings Cross and will be one of the most unique bookshops you’ll ever visit.
During opening hours, shelves full of secondhand books (and sometimes special editions) line the outside and inside of this 1920s Dutch barge. The owner’s dog roams in and around the boat, making it feel even more like a home where you’re browsing the shelves of a friend. There’s often live music performances on the deck of the boat, including singers, guitars and sometimes saxophones.
Address: Regent’s Canal Towpath, Kings Cross, London N1C 4BZ
Hours: Monday to Sunday: 12:00pm-7:00pm
You can’t miss the charming bright green exterior of Foster Books while walking down the Chiswick High Street. Stocked from floor to ceiling in rare leather-bound books, the interior of the shop is a book lover’s dream. With a building dating from the 1790s, it’s the oldest store on the Chiswick High Street, making it a history lover’s dream.
Given the antiquity of the books, filmmakers often make use of owner Stephen Fosters’ collections, including the library all booklover’s dream of – Beauty and the Beast.
Address: 183 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, London W4 2DR
Hours: Monday to Saturday: 10:30am-5:30pm; Sundays: 11:00am-5:00pm
Hurlingham Books takes bursting to the seams to a new level. Books stack up to the ceiling in every direction, pouring off of the shelves and into the windows and tables outside of the shop. The windows feature stacks on stacks of secondhand books. A nearby warehouse continues the collection, with Hurlingham Books claiming to carry over 1 million books.
Address: 91 Fulham High St, Fulham, London SW6 3JS
Hours: Monday to Friday: 9:00am-6:00pm; Saturday & Sunday: 10:00am-6:00pm
Greeted by a friendly dog who switches between the booth in the window, the shelves of books and the couch in the back of the shop, you feel more like you’re entering someone’s home than a shop when coming to BookMongers. The shop features a variety of subjects, including fiction, plays, music-focused books, cinema, art and travel. There’s no clear organizational system, though, which really only adds to the eclectic experience of the best bookshop in London.
Address: 439 Coldharbour Ln, Brixton, London SW9 8LN
Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10:30am-6:30pm; Sunday: 11:00am-4:00pm