Bookshops in London – advice please

Pussy cat, pussy cat where have you been?

OK, I haven’t been to see the Queen, but I am going to London on Friday.I’m going to meet two lovely bookish friends, Tisha and Kirsty (one from California and one from Manchester) whom I have been part of an book group on Goodreads for the last 3 years with. We met up last year when Tisha was over from America and she’s over again this week so we are all excited to meet up for gossip, sightseeing and (of course) book shopping.

This is where you come in:

What bookshops do I absolutely need to visit in London? It would be a crime not to check out some of these lovely bookshops that I keep hearing about on people blogs (but always forget to write down). There are a few in particular I would like to go to if possible: one is a shop that has books from or set in all the different countries in the world, another is one in Notting Hill but I can’t remember what either of them are called.

Which are your favourite London bookshops? Which ones can I absolutely not leave London without visiting?

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46 thoughts on “Bookshops in London – advice please

  1. You HAVE to visit Daunt bookshop in Marylebone High Street. It’s the oldest bookshop in London (possibly Europe) and is an absolute joy to walk
    around.You might also want to visit the Waterstones in Piccadilly which is te largest bookshop in Europe (you can spend the whole day just lost in books!) The bookshop I know in Notting Hill is called Books for Cooks and has only cookery books; you can also have a fab lunch there also.
    Good luck, it will be like Christmas for you!

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  2. Best for new books (in order of preference): John Sandoe off KIngs Road, London Review Bookshop in Bloomsbury, Lutyens & Rubinstein in Notting Hill, Foyles off Tottenham Court Road and Slightly Foxed on Gloucester Road (also does great second-hand books).

    Best for second-hand books: Henry Sotheran in Piccadilly and Henry Pordes on Charing Cross Road.

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  3. One in Notting Hill? Do you by any means want to visit Books for Cooks? Everyday recipes are tested from the cookbooks on the shelves by one of Books for Cooks’ resident chefs. They serve lunch there I think but you must be early. Their website is here.

    And there is a good used book store on the one end of Portobello Road. You can find it at the junction where the tube station Notting Hill Gate is located. I spent there maybe three hours browsing their shelves for goodies. Don’t know any name though.

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  4. Lrb got nice cake shop persephone as well will look at answers as I m there soon as well may be up in York in summer so any from you boof in York be welcome ,all the best stu

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  5. If you’re going to a Waterstone’s I would make it the Piccadilly branch, and you could check out Hatchard’s at the same time which is just down the street and has a slightly more eclectic selection.

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  6. Yes to the above recommendations for Foyles and Henry Pordes – also Any Amount of Books on Charing Cross Road.

    Notting Hill – the Notting Hill Book Exchange (at 14 Pembridge Road – it’s right near Notting Hill Gate tube) is a heaven of second hand books. The whole basement is 50p a book, and the more valuable (a few pounds) books on the ground floor are excellent.

    You can also go to the open-air book market on the South Bank- under Waterloo Bridge.

    Have fun!

    Also Simon Savidge has done a few posts on favourite bookshops in London – you might have some success searching his archive?

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  7. Naturally I support the Foyles suggestion, and I second Henry Pordes, my very favorite of the Charing Cross Road bookshops. Henry Pordes is lovely and has been the source of many excellent books. I am sentimentally fond of Notting Hill’s Book and Comic Exchange, but I don’t know that it’s indispensable. But oh! You have to go to the South Bank (where there is another Foyles, as well as a Wagamama), and underneath the (I believe) Waterloo Bridge on nice days, there are these amaaaaaaazing book stalls. They have an amazing selection of books there for very good prices.

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  8. I haven’t got any suggestions (but then, you have quite a few already), just want to wish you lots of fun. I love meeting up with book people because we can then talk about things other people around me won’t talk about. 🙂

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  9. I think everything I’d suggest has already been mentioned: Waterstone’s Piccadilly; Daunt; Hatchards; Foyles; Persephone (of course!); Waterloo book market; Notting Hill Book Exchange… I don’t know the names of the secondhand bookshops on Charing Cross Road (I trust those above!) but wandering into them is great. Enjoy! Looking forward to seeing your loot from them all.

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  10. Waterstones Picadilly for sure and then a trip to Fortnums or to Laduree for foodie treats. I hear Daunt is brilliant, but I’ve never been (whoops!) and have a wander up Charing X road of course…

    Have fun!

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  11. Everyone has said the ones I’d go to: Daunt Books on Marylebone (I love the way the books are shelved by ‘country they are set it!’ plus it’s incredibly beautiful; Notting Hill Book Exchange:
    (http://teadevotee.com/2011/04/18/in-which-i-whole-heartedly-take-back-my-half-hearted-attitude-to-the-notting-hill-book-exchange/)
    though it is in the middle of tourist hell, so possibly not on a Saturday; and London Review of Books for cake. Have you ever been to ‘treasures of the British Library?’ – that’s always worth a visit (another one with very good cake!) There’s an Oxfam bookshop close to Daunt and obviously several around for bargains.

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  12. Ooh, lucky you! I think most of the bookshops I’d recommend have already been mentioned. Foyles, Waterstone’s Piccadilly, London Review Bookshop has a great selection of books that may not be visible in other bookshops and Daunts Marylebone for books displayed according to country. I also recommend Hatchards which has an old-worldy feel and it’s in between Waterstone’s and Fortnum & Mason’s. And I think you were looking for the Book & Comic Exchange in Notting Hill. It’s an amazing place!

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  13. There is a great little book shop in Balham – from floor to ceiling there are books from every walk of life – i absolutely adore it!

    Also as someone else said Foyles in charing cross is just great.

    Checkout Forbidden Planet whilst you are by Foyles great for graphic novels and even if that isn’t your cup of tea a cool shop anyway!

    Any other sides you are going to see in London?

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  14. My comment will probably be the 42nd which recommends Foyles at Charing Cross – it is wow! Other than that, both, Any Amount of Books and Henry Podres (second hand bookstores) are highly recommended. Always find a couple of books there, that I’ve been wanting to read, or I should read.

    Persephone is obviously another recommendation!

    Sorry, I’m a couple of days late, but hope you managed to check out a couple of the stores recommended, and picked up some great books.

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  15. I’m going to note all of the above down for when I visist London (if ever).

    Sorry to comment here, but your last posts were all crime/mystery and I never know what to say about those books, except that I would think they’re too scary.

    Hope you’re well!

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    • Hi Iris, Daunt is amazing – if you ever get to London you must go there.

      I know you dfon’t like crime books, but I seem to be on a real crime fic kick at the moment – hopefully I will read something you like again soon 🙂

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