If you’re in the North West of England and looking for bookshops, this post is for you. Below we’ve featured 10 top bookshops in Cumbria.
Books Cumbria includes three bookshops and a café owned by the Matthews family. The flagship store, Bookcase of Carlisle, opened on Castle Street in Carlisle in 1978 and focuses on buying and selling used, rare and antique books. Bookcase of Carlisle also functions as an independent book publisher of local interest titles. Next door is Bookends of Carlisle, the more mainstream bookshop that includes popular and contemporary fiction and nonfiction titles, as well as children’s books. The Matthews family also operate the Bookends in Keswick, which includes many of the same titles and topics as the Bookends in Carlisle.
The Cakes & Ale café inside Bookends not only serves a menu including teas and classic lunch fare, but also functions as the main event venue for the book clubs and author signings at Bookends and Bookcase. For more information, you can use the online message form or find all the different contact information here.
Beckside Books in Penrith opened in 2007 and stocks second-hand and antique books mostly related to mountaineering and archaeology, as well as local authors and poets. There is also a selection of books on a range of other topics such as photography, Greek and Roman classics and humour. They even have books written in foreign languages.
Also in Penrith is the Hedgehog Bookshop, an independent bookshop with a large assortment of children’s books and adult fiction and nonfiction. There is also a collection of cards and stationary and, for that special book-loving friend, signed and collector’s copies of select books. You can also have books ordered to the shop, if you’re looking for a specific title they don’t have on hand.
4. New Bookshop
The New Bookshop in Cockermouth offer both off-the-shelf and online ordering of a variety of fiction and nonfiction books. Genres and topics include science fiction, crime fiction, romance, graphic novels, poetry, self-help and personal development, cooking, and history, among many others.
The café inside New Bookshop serves classic breakfast and lunch items, as well as teas and coffees. The New Bookshop also hosts special one-off author events and regular book club meetings. Contact them to find out more about their upcoming events or new book titles.
In 2006, Mark and Evelyn Westwood opened Westwood Books in Sedbergh, England’s official ‘booktown.’ The bookshop boasts a collection of over 70,000 used, antique and out-of-print books, as well as a small selection of new fiction, particularly in the classics, crime, history and science fiction genres.
Westwood Books often host author discussion panels, book signings and other book-related events throughout the year. For more information, or if you have some modern or antiquarian books you’d like to sell, contact Westwood Books by email or phone.
Originally opened in 1956 by Fred Holdsworth, Fred’s Ambleside Bookshop in Ambleside prides itself on being a small, quaint and niche bookshop rather than one of the larger, more mainstream ones. A visitor can find almost anything on the shelves, including local maps, contemporary fiction, a selection of children’s books and young adult novels, as well as a mix of nonfiction topics and titles.
While Fred’s Ambleside Bookshop doesn’t have the space to host events, they do encourage visitors to stop by and check out their eclectic space. If you can’t make it to Ambleside but still want to support them, you can do so by purchasing from their online bookshop through Bookshop.org. You can also contact them directly to order books for delivery.
Originally opened in Kendal in 1994, Daisyroots Books has been operating in Grange-over-Sands since 2006. There are two floors containing over 22,000 books on nearly every topic imaginable, from Americana and Architecture to Travel Exploration and Walking. There is also a range of antique and out-of-print books, as well as collector’s items and signed editions.
While Daisyroots Books isn’t known for their events, they are known for the ease of their online ordering and quickness of international delivery. To find out more about the services they offer, contact them via their online message form.
Sam Read Booksellers has been established in Grasmere since 1887. They stock fiction and nonfiction titles on all sorts of topics, from crime and thriller novels to gardening and local interest books. They also have a special collection devoted to local celebrity writers Beatrix Potter and Jackie Morris.
9. Verey Books
In Pooley Bridge, Verey Books opened in 2022 to offer local visitors a space to enjoy the picturesque setting of Ullswater Lake while enjoying a book or cup of coffee. Book lovers of all kinds can find something to read, whether it be nonfiction books about farming, photography or gardening; fiction genres such as science fiction, crime thrillers or new releases; or biographies on local celebrities such as Ransome, Potter or Dahl.
The café at Verey Books serves a selection of teas and specialty coffees, freshly baked biscuits and cakes and even babyccinos and juices for the little ones. Visitors can also find an event to attend nearly every week: including a ‘Words on Wednesday’ event each month, ‘Saturday Storytime’ for the kids and other book clubs and author signings sprinkled throughout the rest of the month. To find out more about Verey Books, contact them using their online message form or by email.
Norman and Paddy Kerr opened the Kerr & Sons second-hand bookshop in Cartmel in 1933. They buy and sell high quality used and antique books on topics such as cookery, travel, music, transport, architecture, as well as classic fiction and children’s books such Dracula and The Hobbit. Books with decorative covers, folio society and by famous illustrators are also available.
For those seeking more contemporary used books, Kerr & Sons Books operates a discount bookshop in a converted gatehouse in the Cartmel village square. Contact them to find out more about how to sell books to them or to inquire about specific titles.