9 Best Bookstores in London

9 Best Bookstores in London 

By Anne McCarthy

After your London bike tour or walking tour, why not pop into one of London’s many terrific bookshops that pepper the city.

Now, let me say, Amazon is great for saving money on books purchases if you’re on a budget, but if you’re able to afford the extra few pounds or dollars – and afford the time expenditure to hit the shop – then buy from these famous and beloved London bookshops. Picking up your next exciting read from local bookshops will ensure their longevity and continued existence, so you can visit them again on your next visit to the Big Smoke!

In no particular order, here are some of our favorite bookstores in London.

  1. Foyles on Charing Cross Road

Foyles is arguably the most famous bookshop in all of London. Situated on Charing Cross Road, in the heart of the West End, this multi-level bookshop is a treasure trove for book lovers, browsers, and the curious. With a children’s section big enough to get lost in for hours, and thousands of books all over the store, along with various pieces of London-y memorabilia and souvenirs, you’ll have to pull yourself away from the store because otherwise, you just might spend the whole day here.

The Foyles Café also has ample seating space where you can sip on a latter and delve into your latest read.

Address: 107 Charing Cross Rd, Soho, London WC2H 0DT

Nearest Tube Station: Tottenham Court Road

  1. Daunt Books in Marylebone

If I had to nominate a “most magical” bookshop in London, this would be it. Nestled on Marylebone High Street is the gorgeous and welcoming Daunt Books. Towards the back of the shop, there’s a beautiful wooden balcony that overlooks a large section of the store. It’s a great place to roam and get a bird’s eye view of the shop. Daunt Books regularly hosts various book signings and author talks. All these talks and events listings can be found on the Daunt website. You can grab a glass of wine at the event, sit down in a bookshop at night with a friend, and listen to some mind-opening new thoughts or stories. What could be better?

Address: 84 Marylebone High St, Marylebone, London W1U 4QW

Nearest Tube Station: Baker Street 

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  1. Waterstones at Piccadilly Circus

And speaking of nights spent in bookstores…the Waterstones at Piccadilly Circus famously hosted a slumber party in this very bookstore five years ago, after an American tourist was accidentally locked in a Waterstones one evening after the shop had closed. Like Daunt, this Waterstones regularly hosts author talks, signings, and events. Waterstones at Piccadilly is perfectly located for a place to stop and shop before or after your tourist excursions. In the heart of the city, you’ll surely find your next great read here.

Address: 203-206 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1J 9HD

Nearest Tube Station: Piccadilly Circus

  1. Hatchards on Piccadilly

 Near to Waterstones at Piccadilly Circus, you will find Hatchards, the oldest bookshop in the UK. That alone makes it worth a visit. It was founded in 1797 and still stands on the same ground it did then. Hatchards has been the book supplier to royal families for two centuries and it holds three royal warrants. It is, in its own (warranted) words, a unique British institution. Hatchards also has a shop at St. Pancras International.

Address: 187 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1J 9LE

Nearest Tube Station: Piccadilly Circus

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  1. Bookstores on Cecil Court

Okay, so – if you’re a Harry Potter fan, you must take a stroll down Cecil Court, which is rumored to be one of the inspirations for Diagon Alley.

Cecil Court is a slice of London history and has been around since the 17th Century. Self-described as: “a whole street of uncommonly good independent shops and experienced, knowledgeable dealers waiting to be discovered by you.”

This tiny pedestrian street, which links Charing Cross Road and St Martin’s Lane, is peppered with shops like Watkins Books, Goldsboro Books, Marchpane, Tindley & Everett, Tenderbooks, and Bryars & Bryars. Among these shops are an antiquarian book dealer specializing in rare atlases and maps (Bryars & Bryars), an indie bookstore with a plethora of first edition signed books (Goldsboro Books), and a shop which sells new and second-hand older titles focused on wellness (Watkins Books).

Address: Cecil Court, London

Nearest Tube Station: Leicester Square

  1. Clapham Books

 This small independent bookshop offers a hand-picked selection of classic favorite fiction titles, newer works, children’s books, and art books. Its smaller “sister shop” is Herne Hill Books.

Address: 26 The Pavement, Clapham, London SW4 0JA

Nearest Tube Station: Clapham Common

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  1. New Beacon

No More Heroes” author, and writer of the forthcoming BBC feature-length drama, “Sitting in Limbo” (debuting March 2020), Stephen Thompson, says of New Beacon and the below Housemans: “they sell what no one else does – books by and for the African diaspora, and literary works on radical themes.” New Beacon specializes in African and Caribbean literature, and has done so since 1966.

Address: 76 Stroud Green Rd, Stroud Green, London N4 3EN

Nearest Tube Station: Manor House

  1. Housemans

The full name says it all: Housemans Radical Booksellers. Here, you will find radical books with a rebellious flair. Prepare to leave this bookshop inspired, and ready to take on the world and enact change.

Address: 5 Caledonian Rd, London N1 9DY

Nearest Tube Stations: King’s Cross

  1. Peter Harrington Rare Books

This is one of my personal favorites. I wandered into the Peter Harrington Rare Books shop on Dover Street one day after passing it several times before; finally, I was unable to resist a visit. This charming and inviting shop is a haven for any bibliophile and presents rare, first edition works, like a copy of “The Great Gatsby” which is being sold for a whopping £4,750. Don’t worry, though. The shop has more affordable offerings as well. The shop’s beautiful and elegant layout is an oasis of calm in bustling Londontown.

Address: 43 Dover St, Mayfair, London W1S 4FF

Nearest Tube Stations: Green Park

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