THE BEST INDEPENDENT BOOK SHOPS IN LONDON

Because rainy summer days are best spent indoors with a blanket and a good read

There’s nothing quite so romantic as a rainy afternoon spent cosied up on a reading chair, fresh coffee in hand, about to tuck into a good book. But what if you’ve just finished a whopper, keen to dive into the next, and don’t have a new one to hand? Or what if you’re a tourist in the big city and have underestimated how many pages you’d get through of the ones you’d packed?

Instead of solving the problem by opening up that oh so convenient Amazon app, pop down to your local independent bookstore (the city is full of them) and purchase from them instead. The best part about independents is that they tend to have quaint little coffee shops you can hang out in, great events where you don’t have to fight for tickets and they almost always sell semi-pretentious tote bags you can wear as a handy little nod in support of small businesses.

If you’re on the lookout for some cool and quirky little bookshops in London, but don’t know where to start, here are some of my favourites for you to enjoy the next time you’re in need.

Word on the Water

Nestled in the newly renovated King’s Cross, you’ll find Word on the Water, which is basically a big barge that sells second-hand books. Started by a guy called Paddy Screech, who worked with homeless people all his life, he decided to take his own advice and simply do what made him happy – which was clearly to sell literature on the water. Although there’s not much space to sit and enjoy whichever title takes your fancy, you can perch along the canal or take your title home and curl up with it there.

Pages of Hackney

Just along Lower Clapton road lies Pages of Hackney, an independent bookshop that will satisfy all your hipster needs. Its vibrant sky blue exterior is entirely “instagrammable” (if that’s your bag) and they sell a good combination of brand new contemporary and classic fiction and non-fiction, in addition to lots of second-hand numbers. Pages also host lots of really interesting events, so keep your eyes peeled and head down when these are on to meet your neighbours and buy some new books.

Persephone Books

Selling out of print titles by twentieth-century female authors, Persephone Books couldn’t be more up my street if it tried. If you’re keen to delve into the female voices of days gone by and tuck into something that might have long been forgotten, then this one is definitely for you. With shorts, diaries, memoirs and novels, each sold in a gorgeous grey jacket with a bookmark to keep, this is an extra special bookshop and a lesser-known haven for all you feminists out there.

Of course, there are plenty more independent bookshops scattered around the city, but these are just 3 of my favourites. If you have any recommendations, do send them over as I’m always on the lookout for a new favourite haunt. And if you are heading to London for an exciting city break, why not live like a local and make the most of this wonderful city? Rent an apartment or vacation rental from Home From Home and enjoy your book in the comfort of your… sort of… home.

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