In weather like this, we want nothing more than to find a good bookshop and stay there for a few hours. So, we thought the time had come to share some of our personal favourites. Which are yours?
1. Waterstones on Piccadilly
Yes, that’s right – our first choice is the biggest bookshop in Europe. But with good reason. Emma used to work here, and can vouch for the cosiness of the first floor (the fiction floor – naturally) from 7am to 10pm. It used to be Simpson’s, the department store that Are You Being Served? was based in, and retains the original lifts (which is why they’re so temperamental). The staircase is a thing to behold, and there are so many snug corners to sit in and floors to explore that you could spend a whole day in here. Which Emma still does, even though she’s not paid to anymore.
2. Skoob in Russell Square
Russell Square is the most gorgeous place to just hang out. The Brunswick Centre houses the Renoir cinema (part of the Curzon chain – renovation has been going on for ages, but we are assured it will be worth it), is flocked by grassy squares and is, most importantly, home to Skoob (books, backwards). Descend the precarious metal stair case at the back of the Brunswick centre to find yourself in a treasure trove of second hand wonders. They have an entire section dedicated to those classic orange Penguins (and green, and blue). One to visit on pay day.
3. Richard Way in Henley-on-Thames
We sort of feel that we don’t need to do anything for this shop but show you a picture – which we have, right – as it’s the sort of shop that is so quintessentially British that it’s could be straight out of a film set. But it’s not. You will find something for everyone, book lover or not, in this ever changing second hand book shop. Pop in after strolling along the river and browsing antiques shops in picturesque Henley.
4. Daunts in Hampstead
Most would go for Daunts in Marylebone, but we’re of the opinion that nothing is better after a long walk on the Heath than a trip to a Good Bookshop before retreating to a snug pub with your new reads. Beautifully curated and always with an eclectic choice of books on display, you’re bound to find something a little bit different here.
5. Foyles on Charing Cross Road
The new Foyles premises make for a light, airy and delectable book shop. The old shop was a warren of shelves and floors – it felt like there was always some gem around the corner that you’d stumble upon. Now, you’re bound to spend the same number of hours there, but this time not because you’re lost, but because you simply don’t want to leave. Put aside an afternoon and go to explore.
6. Mr B’s Emporium in Bath
Another where it feels like the pictures say it all. They offer a reading spa service, whereby you get to chat with one of their team over a cup of tea, who will then introduce you to a ‘tower’ of books to peruse with more tea and cake. All in a room that will make book lovers swoon. On top of that, they put on brilliant events. And if you’re just there to browse, you’re also in for a treat – like wandering round a town-house full of books. Bliss.