Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens, Lord Byron. William Blake. London is steeped in rich literary heritage, with a long lineage of some of the finest writers, poets and storytellers of our time. This legacy has left its mark with some fantastic bookshops to discover!
Make the most of your stay in London’s inviting, luxury hotel rooms by curling up with a good book in your comfortable chamber. If you forgot to pack one, then don’t worry! We have compiled a guide to the best bookshops in London so you can fall in love with your new favourite author. Bedtime at The Marble Arch by Montcalm London can’t come soon enough with a new book to delve into.
Waterstones is a huge chain in the UK, and you can in fact find branches sprinkled across all of the city’s boroughs. But, if you really want to blow your bookish mind – make a date at the largest bookshop in the whole of Europe at their flagship Piccadilly store! Waterstones Piccadilly is spread over 6 floors and contains over 200,000 unique titles housed in this Art Deco building. There is a café where you can enjoy browsing your new read over a coffee. Alternatively, head to the 5th floor and order a cocktail at the bar, from where you can get a view across the rooftops of London.
203-206 Piccadilly, St. James’s, W1J 9HD
Opened in 1797, the handsome, green-fronted Hatchards is London’s oldest bookshop. Although it functions as an independent, Hatchards in fact falls within the same family as Waterstones. They are closely associated with the British monarchy, with Royal Warrants from the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Seeing as The Montcalm Marble Arch is practically neighbours with the royal family – it’s only fitting that we like to suggest this bookshop to our literature-loving guests!
187 Piccadilly, St. James’s, W1J 9LE
Any Amount of Books
If you can’t resist the aromas of old books, then perhaps a second-hand bookshop is the one for you. Any Amount of Books (literally) stack their books as high as the celling and you can find some extremely rare treasures and vintage tomes in their basement. If you want to track down a specific book, perhaps a first edition or an out of print tale, start your hunt at Any Amount of Books. Or head here to pick up a bargain paperback for as little as £1!
56 Charing Cross Road, Covent Garden, WC2H 0QA
Tales on Moon Lane
If you venture into South London and have a child in tow, they’d be delighted to pay a visit to this award-winning independent bookshop, dedicated entirely to children’s books. They stock special editions, bestsellers, childhood classics and often have signed copies available. Check their website in case a signing or activity workshop coincides with when you are looking to book your London hotels special offers and make a day of it.
25 Half Moon Lane, Dulwich, SE24 9JU
Much like boutique 5-star hotels in London, Daunts is a unique chain of independent bookstores each shaped with its own distinct character. The original branch opened on Marylebone High Street in 1912. Traditionally, the bookshop was dedicated to travel, and the genre still remains the primary focus today. Books are arranged by country, and in each section, you can find a selection of tomes ranging from travel guides, political and historical non-fiction, memoirs and fiction. The Marylebone High Street store features long oak galleries, elegant green lamps and William Morris prints. The store is a popular choice for launches, and they often carry signed stock.
84 Marylebone High Street, Marylebone, W1U 4QW
Word on the Water
If browsing books in peculiar places floats your boat, then clamber aboard the floating bookshop, Word on the Water! This Dutch barge from the 1920s stocks books from antiquary through to the latest releases. They also host poetry events and jazz nights, so check out their Facebook page and see if your planned luxury hotel stay coincides with an event. They have a friendly dog onboard too!
Regent’s Canal Towpath, Kings Cross, N1C 4BZ
Foyles is a popular bookseller with seven branches across England, four of which are in London. The flagship branch was refurbished several years ago, and is a light, airy bookshop with a tempting café serving healthy, nutritional dishes. Foyles stock popular titles across non-fiction, fiction and children’s books. They are also the UK’s largest foreign language retailer. With a generous loyalty scheme, ‘Foyalty’, you might want to make Foyles your go-to bookshop so you can eventually pocket a free book to accompany your London hotels special offers!
107 Charing Cross Road, Soho, WC2H 0DT
If you’re interested in 18th and 19th-century English literature and history tomes, then this antiquarian bookseller is the place to get your heritage fix! If the genre is a tad too specific, pop into Jarndyce Booksellers anyway for a chance to experience period book shopping at its finest. The store was built in the 1700s, and is kitted out with 19th-century style decor. The bookshop is conveniently located for those planning on exploring the British Museum, which is just across the street.
46 Great Russell Street (opp. British Museum) Bloomsbury, WC1B 3P
Cecil Court, Covent Garden
Last but certainly not least, the final stop on our London bookshop tour is actually an entire street of bookshops! This narrow alley which harps back to the Victorian era features old-world shop signs and contains 10 independent bookshops. Alice Through The Looking Glass stocks copies of Alice in Wonderland, as well as other merchandise and trinkets connected to the classic bedtime tale from C.S. Lewis. Goldsboro Books is the UK’s number one stocker of signed first editions. Stephen Poole Fine Books stock 20th century poetry and plays, as well as novels. Tenderbooks are known for their arty coffee table books and independent launches.