London’s old world bookshops are more than just about books. It is a time traveling experience to a bygone era when things ran at a slower pace.
The grand dame of London bookshops, Hatchard’s is a classic literary institution. Situated on upmarket Piccadilly in the heart of Mayfair (and next door to posh Fortnum & Mason) you can’t miss the vintage bay shop windows trimmed with dark wood. Inside the spiraling wood staircase reflects that this elegant establishment has faithfully changed little since it first opened. The only thing modern about the place is the wealth of new books for sale, and some best sellers are signed by the author. It is worth checking up on special reading events held in shop and look for many prized first editions.
John Sandoe Books
Just off King’s Road, close to Sloane Square lies a little secret bookshop known mainly to avid book fans. Cluttered from floor to ceiling with endless books this is exactly how you expect an English bookshop to be. The main draw of the shop is its out of print editions, mainly of the art variety. Gorgeous coffee table photography style books are on display and the shop is worth a browse even if it is just to take in the experience of it all.
Travel book lovers rejoice as Daunt Books in Marylebone has an extensive and well stocked section on travel. From guide books to travel novels to those expensive big books of travel photography, all countries are represented. In saying all that, the beauty of Daunt Books is its jewel box centre room where the travel books are held. A long wood paneled room with a library feel to it with its second floor bookshelf terrace looking over the space below. There are a variety of books sold here not just travel books and to finish off the old world feel, should you purchase a book they give you a cloth carrier bag to take your books home in.
There is no where better to spend a rainy day in London than in one of these bookshops. But even if it isn’t raining take time to wander in and enjoy these unique shops. These places are unfortunately fading, so support them however you can!