The best bookshops to visit in London

Exterior of London Review Bookshop

There’s nothing like perusing the shelves of a bookshop in search of your next read. From creaking 18th century bookshops to stores with cafes and exhibition spaces, London’s bookshops are packed with charm and charisma. Here, discover just some of the capital’s best places for book shopping.

Daunt Books, Marylebone

Daunt Books, Marylebone

Complete with oak galleries, skylights and a stained-glass window, the flagship branch of Daunt Books is a haven for book lovers. Housed in a former Edwardian bookshop, the store has an array of fiction and non-fiction books, arranged by country, rather than genre. Don’t forget to pick up a classic Daunt Books canvas bag, too.

Getting here: 83-84 Marylebone High Street, London, W1U 4QW

Nearest stations: Regent’s Park underground station (Bakerloo line), Marylebone (National Rail and Bakerloo line)

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Exterior of Hatchards bookshop, Piccadilly

Hatchards, Piccadilly

Not every bookshop has clientele including the Royal Household, but Hatchards is a shop with an illustrious heritage. Established in 1797, Hatchards is London’s oldest bookshop. A towering central staircase spans five floors of books, which range from rare and signed first editions to fiction and non-fiction titles. Creaking floorboards add to its nostalgic charm.  

Getting here: 187 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9LE

Nearest stations: Piccadilly Circus underground station (Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines), Charing Cross (National Rail services, Northern and Bakerloo underground lines)

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Exterior of London Review Bookshop

London Review Bookshop, Bloomsbury

Located close to the British Museum, the London Review Bookshop is a cultural hub for book lovers. It stocks more than 20,000 titles, from classics of world literature and philosophy to contemporary fiction and children’s books. It also hosts a range of literary events. After perusing the shelves, make sure to visit the adjoining café, which serves teas, cakes, soup and hot meals.

Getting here: 14 Bury Place, London, WC1A 2JL

Nearest stations: Holborn underground station (Central and Piccadilly lines), Tottenham Court Road underground station (Central and Northern lines)

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Waterstones Piccadilly

Waterstones, Piccadilly

Situated in an art deco building, Waterstones Piccadilly is Europe’s largest bookshop. Its six floors are home to more than eight miles of bookshelves, which include bestselling fiction, first editions, history, art, politics and transport. Head to the top floor to visit 5th View Bar & Restaurant, which boasts views of the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and the London Eye.

Getting here: 203–206 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9HD

Nearest stations: Piccadilly Circus underground station (Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines), Charing Cross (National Rail services, Northern and Bakerloo underground lines)

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Interior of Foyles Charing Cross bookshop

Foyles, Charing Cross Road

Boasting the iconic entrance slogan: ‘Welcome book lover, you are among friends,’ the Foyles flagship on Charing Cross Road is the UK’s largest bookshop. Spread across five floors, the bookshop is home to more than 200,000 titles, which include fiction, non-fiction, poetry and children’s books. The store also stocks an extensive collection of classical music, as well as gifts and stationery. Bibliophiles can unwind over coffee and cake in the café or listen to live events in the auditorium.

Getting here: 107 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0DT

Nearest stations: Tottenham Court Road underground station (Central and Northern lines), Covent Garden underground station (Piccadilly line).

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Exterior of Gay's the Word bookshop

Gay’s the Word, Bloomsbury

The UK’s oldest LGBT bookshop, Gay’s the Word stocks an array of fiction, non-fiction and graphic novels, from titles about asexuality and trans and nonbinary lives to coming out stories and LGBT history. The bookshop hosts book launches, readings, panel discussions and community events, as well as meetings organised by the Lesbian Discussion Group, Trans London and the London LGBT Book Group.

Getting here: 66 Marchmont Street, London, WC1N 1AB

Nearest stations: Russell Square underground station (Piccadilly line), Euston (National Rail services, London Overground, Northern and Victoria underground lines), King’s Cross & St Pancras International (National Rail services, Eurostar, Circle, Hammersmith and City, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria underground lines)

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Want to find out more about London’s literary scene? Check out my recommendations of literary places to visit in the capital and London’s literary houses.

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