The Best Bookshops In London

Sunday, February 09, 2020

It is hardly surprising that as a student in London, I have been trying to make the most of my close proximity of some of the country's oldest and most beautiful bookshops. Here is my favourite selection of all the bookshops I have visited in the capital so far - these are the ones that any bookworm MUST not miss while visiting, with also some hints of where else to go nearby!

Daunt Books

84 Marylebone High St, Marylebone, London W1U 4QW

If you search anything about London bookshops on Instagram or Pinterest, Daunt Books will definitely start appearing everywhere, so this one has to be your first stop. Tucked into Marylebone High Street, the shop seems quite ordinary from the outside - it's only when you step in that you will realise its beauty. With the most beautiful arched window, this bookshop is a seriously photogenic place - a book or lifestyle blogger's true dream. Daunt books specialises in travel books so many of its selection are organised by country - it groups its books about the history of each country along with travel books for there too which I think is a really clever touch.

Surrounding Area: I discovered when visiting Daunt Books that Marylebone is a beautiful area! Being situated on the High Street, the shop really is in the thick of it all and surrounded by other lovely shops. If you head north, it is also a short walk from Regent's Park which is the perfect spot for a wander - I would suggest bringing a picnic in summer! However, if you keep heading south you will soon find yourself at the big department stores of Oxford Street.

The Notting Hill Bookshop - Notting Hill

13 Blenheim Cres, Notting Hill, London W11 2EE 

The bookshop that actually inspired the one in the film Notting Hill, this is another must-visit. Although in the film it is a travel bookshop, the current Notting Hill Bookshop hosts a whole range of books so there is something for everyone. It is such a cute little shop with a perfect photo opportunity outside. Plus, they have the cutest accessories such as coasters and tote bags - I love using my bag everyday.

Surrounding Area: The book shop is in a perfect location, as of course the name suggests, it is in the heart of Notting Hill. The shop was my first stop when I spent an Afternoon In Notting Hill, where it was followed by exploring the beautiful colourful house-lined streets, and the famous Portobello Road.

Primrose Hill Books

134 Regent's Park Rd, Primrose Hill, London NW1 8XL

When visiting Primrose Hill, we popped into this little bookshop, a real treat. Upon walking in you are able to really pick up that classic book scent and with books piled high on every shelf, you do feel really immersed. They had a really good selection of both fiction and non-fiction so I would really recommend checking it out if you're in the area.

Surrounding Area: Primrose Hill is a gorgeous location, full of beautiful houses including the colourful ones that are a location in the film Paddington! Primrose Hill itself is a park with stunning views of the city. After picking up some books I would recommend stopping for coffee and cake from a cafe nearby, my favourite being Primrose Bakery - beautiful and reasonably priced!


187 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1J 9LE

Another one you MUST visit has to be, of course, the United Kingdom's oldest bookshop, Hatchard's. Now a branch of Waterstones, the store is famous for having royal warrants and its classic, cosy decor. It hosts a huge selection of books of all genres, from biography to cookery. I was particularly impressed by its history section - obviously, being a history student and all!

Surrounding Area: Hatchard's is in a wonderful location because there are so many exciting landmarks within walking distance. You can easily walk to Leicester Square or Trafalgar Square or even Buckingham Palace, which is where I headed after visiting! Regents Street is very close by for more shopping.

Word On The Water

Regent's Canal Towpath, Kings Cross, London N1C 4BZ

Word On The Water is equally a unique London experience as much as it is a bookshop. Situated on Regent's Canal, the bookshop is technically a floating one because it is on a boat! It's location used to move around, but nowadays you will find it a stone's throw away from King's Cross. It hosts a selection of all sorts of different books, so no matter what your preference, you're going to love it.

Surrounding Area: Since it is literally on Regent's Canal, Word On The Water is surrounded by the perfect place to go for a good walk. You're in the heart of Kings Cross here, so it's a short walk from the British Library, or even closer is Coal Drops Yard which is a lovely space featuring shops, eateries and a cinema.

Persephone Books

59 Lamb's Conduit St, Holborn, London WC1N 3NB

Persephone Books is possibly my favourite one of the whole list because of how unique and niche its book selection is. Specialising in twentieth-century female writers, the shop publish their own selection of over a hundred books that are no longer in print elsewhere. They all share the same grey cover with a beautiful design inside, and a matching bookmark to accomany it. All the books look really pretty, sat on the shelves together. I purchased one called 'London War Notes', which I thought was very fitting as a history student in London, to read one woman's perspective on the second world war, and I look forward to growing my collection of their books.

Surrounding Area: Persephone books is situated near Russell Square, which is a lovely area to sit and have a bite to eat. It is also a short walk from the Brunswick Centre, a real hidden gem - I had never heard of it for years! It is nothing too special, just a little shopping centre with a selection of restaurants and shops, one of which I work in. Plus, carrying on the book theme, it is also home to a second hand academic book store called Skoob Books which could be your next stop!

Have you ever visited any of these? I would love to hear more recommendations below!

EG x

1 comment

  1. I'm going to london for the first time next month, and I've take the name of all the bookshops you've mentioned! Hopefully I'll have the chance to go to at least one of them while I'm there. Great post xx

    Melina |