If you’re in the city and looking for things to do, why not spend some time in one or two bookshops? Below we’ve featured 10 of the best bookshops in Central London.
Located in Cecil Court in Westminster, Goldsboro Books specializes in selling first-edition hardcover books. The store was first opened in 1999 by David Headley and Daniel Gedeon who are still the bookshop’s owners and directors to this day.
They have books from many different decades and genres. You can also find rare and signed copies, including from famous authors such as J.K. Rowling and Bernard Cornwell. Goldsboro Books also host a range of events and author signings in-store.
Get in touch with Goldsboro Books.
Situated on Charing Cross Road in Westminster, Henry Pordes Books sells second-hand and antiquarian volumes. They’ve been in the business for over 50 years, and are currently run by the duo of Francesco Ponti and Rita Servidio.
You can find many old and rare copies here, in all sorts of genres and on many different subject matters. Alongside popular fiction, there’ll be books from the Victorian era and even earlier!
Send Henry Pordes Books a message if you have any questions.
Watkins Bookshop was founded in 1893, over 120 years ago! Located on Cecil Court in Westminster, a book lover’s haven, they specialize in esoteric literature and spiritualism. You can find ideas on philosophy, mysticism, and more spread over a range of new and second-hand copies.
They host a range of events such as readings by authors. Watkins Bookshop also has an assortment of Tarot cards, crystals, and meditation materials for sale. If you want to know what the future holds, you can also get a Tarot or rune reading!
Inquire with Watkins Bookshop.
To find Word on the Water, you won’t want to walk down a street. Instead, you’ll want to take a trip down to the edge of the water on the Camden canals! This quirky book shop doesn’t operate out of a traditional shop, but from a moored barge instead.
You might think that their small footprint might mean they are limited in what they can offer you, but Word on the Water is able to order any book for you on request. The store is also a hive of activity, with regular events and even live music!
Have a word with Word on the Water.
Located on Great Russell Street in Camden, if you enjoy antiquarian books then Jarndyce Booksellers is the place to go. The building itself is steeped in history and dates back to the 1700s – you’ll even find original flooring and a working fireplace!
They specialize in selling books from the 18th and 19th centuries, however, they are starting to collect and sell some 20th-century volumes too. They also exhibit at book fairs in London and other parts of the UK so if you can’t make it to their shop there are other ways to see what they have on offer.
Reach out to Jarndyce Booksellers.
The Riverside Bookshop on Tooley Road in Southwark has been in business for over 30 years. With over 10,000 books on their shelves at their store right next to the Thames you are sure to find something that intrigues you. Books are in all sorts of genres, and they even have some signed copies on sale.
Their friendly staff is always on hand to give you a recommendation, or if they don’t have what you are looking for they can always order it. You can also pick up The Little Red Card, The Riverside Bookshop’s loyalty scheme, helping you to save money on future purchases.
Head on by The Riverside Bookshop.
Just a short distance from the Southwark Underground Station is Calder Bookshop & Theatre. This book shop specializes in selling new and used books relating to the performing arts, including plays, books on performance theory, and more.
As you might expect given its name, the Calder Bookshop & Theatre also has a performance space at the back of the shop, and a rehearsal room in the basement! Head along to the theatre section to watch a play or two, or you can rent out the rehearsal space below for your own events.
Stage a visit to Calder Bookshop & Theatre.
8. Heywood Hill
You can find Heywood Hill in Mayfair, where it has been operating since 1936. Set over two floors, you can find a mixture of new, second-hand, and antiquarian books. Every book that sits on its shelves has been carefully curated, so you know that each one you pick up is a worthy read.
Their staff always aims to get to know the people that stop by, and by letting them know your interests and previous reads they can help to provide the best recommendations to you. Their book subscription service makes for a perfect gift, or a great way to figure out your year of reading.
Located on Curzon Street, why not step on by?
Located on Bell Street in Marylebone, Archive Bookstore is the perfect place to go if you are not only a book lover but also a music lover too. This book shop sells second-hand books, but also a range of second-hand sheet music and scores.
If you need to clear out some space, they also will buy books and musical documents from you. The shop is crammed from ceiling to floor so you are always likely to find something new every time you visit!
Give them a call to see what is on offer.
10. Belgravia Books
Belgravia Books on Ebury Street in Westminster is a publisher-owned independent book shop that opened in 2011. They have over 4000 books on their shelves and change up what’s on offer regularly.
Although they are run by the publisher Gallic Books, you can find all sorts of books here, from the latest bestsellers, all the way to children’s literature and biographies. Their staff are always happy to offer a recommendation or two.
Have a chat with Belgravia Books.