Home to Sherlock Holmes and Shakespeare’s Globe, Platform 9¾ and the British Library, London and literature go together like a good book and a fresh cuppa.
To celebrate Independent Bookshop Week (24 June to 1 July), we’re rounding up some of our all-time favourite London bookshops. These are those cherished places to while away an hour (or two, or five!), discovering new favourites and rediscovering forgotten gems.
Below are some of our picks for the best independent bookshops in London. How many have you visited?
The UK’s oldest bookshop, this Piccadilly staple is a London landmark in its own right. As well as an outstanding selection of new releases, here you can pick up some impressive signed and first editions.
What’s perhaps lesser known is that this cherished shop also boasts a second location inside St. Pancras International – so you can pick up an engrossing read before journeying across the Channel!
Owned by the famed literary magazine the London Review of Books, this acclaimed Bloomsbury shop has described itself as “relentlessly thoughtful”, and we find it hard to disagree! Stocked with more than 20,000 titles, it’s both beautiful and beautifully curated.
Just down the road from the British Museum, a trip to the London Review Bookshop is the perfect addition to any afternoon (and there’s cake!)
A trip to John Sandoe Books in Sloane Square promises that quintessential bookshop experience we all long for! The comforting scent of ink and paper, pleasantly creaking floors, narrow stairs packed high with old editions and some like-minded book lovers reading between the shelves.
Founded in 1957, this atmospheric Chelsea shop is a great place to pop into after a trip to the Saatchi Gallery or a stroll along King’s Road.
Originally formed as the Tower Hamlets Art Projects, and previously known as Eastside Books, this brilliant community bookshop is situated straight on Brick Lane, reflecting a rich history of ideas and creativity spanning more than forty years.
As well as boasting a great selection of arts, fiction and non-fiction titles, this E1 shop also hosts book groups and writing workshops. (They’ve also got great tote bags!)
Pop in while at the market on a Sunday, and you’ll definitely return again…
Planning on spending a sunny Saturday on the Common? Pop into Clapham Books on the Pavement to pick up a great read from this charming independent. Small but mighty, they’ve hosted events with Will Self, Rebecca Wait, Marion Coutts and more.
It’s hard not to love the sound of their signature event: free picture book storytime, every Wednesday at 11AM!
Don’t let their name confuse you – though this shop was originally established in Camden Lock Market, it’s now snug inside Old Street Station, allowing you to grab a book on the go (or get lost browsing and forget your train altogether!)
Definitely worth a visit for their extensive stock and depth of knowledge. Plus, they’re handy as well as bookish – their shelves are all home-made!
This West Dulwich gem was regionally shortlisted for the British Book Awards 2017 Independent Bookshop of the Year – and it’s a well-deserved honour! By delivering engaging events and building great bonds throughout their community, Dulwich Books’ impact extends well beyond its walls.
What better street address for a children’s bookshop than “25 Half Moon Lane”?
This whimsical shop in Herne Hill can proudly call itself the winner of London’s Independent Bookshop of the Year and Children’s Bookseller of the Year in the British Book Awards 2017. Hosting a wide range of children’s and school events, and organizing pop-up shops and festivals, a great example of a bookshop that goes that extra mile.
Stokey vistors and locals alike need to give this shop a try! Located on Stoke Newington High Street, its enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff are eager to help you discover something new. Keep an eye out for great author events, too!
A lively events programme and a rich community history make this East London shop a must-visit. Supporting read and learning in Newham and beyond, they’re a great example of a local bookshop acting as a thriving neighbourhood hub.
Have a favourite independent bookshop in London that we’ve left off the list? Let us know on Twitter at @dkbooks. To discover more great indies around the UK and Ireland, check out some of our top picks here.
To learn more about Independent Bookshop Week, which runs from 24 June to 1 July 2017, visit https://indiebookshopweek.org.uk/.