It is reaching that time of year again when undergrads, postgrads, Phd student’s, and practically every other student on the planet, has to start thinking about reading material for next year. For those students in the Big Smoke, here is a rundown of our top 5 bookshops.
5. Floating Bookshop, Regents Canal, Summer Time
This ephemeral bookshop appears every summer along Regents Canal in the East End of London. Offering a wide range of eclectic books this floating store is an intriguing, if slightly odd, experience. There is a small shelf on the barge itself, as well as a wider variety of titles propped on a table over the water’s edge. If you don’t fancy buying anything there are two comfy chairs you can sit down on to take time to read a book around you.
4. John Sandoe Books, 10 Blacklands Terrace, Chelsea, SW3 2SR
John Sandoe really created something beautiful and unique when he started this bookshop in 1957 and to this day remains one of the few independent bookshops in the entire of London. Each title is carefully selected by a superb team of staff and then arranged around the store for you to browse. Although it lacks organisation, this bookshop is the perfect place to lose yourself for a few hours. Full of charm and character, this shop boldly holds its own against the big names in high-street bookshops.
3. Hatchards, 187 Picaddilly, W1J 9LE
This beautifully antique bookshop is steeped in tradition and was founded back in 1797 making it officially the oldest bookstore in London. Walking through the door you are greeted by a range of titles from biography to children’s fiction. Turning the corner, you will enter a small walkway (mind your head) and eventually reach a large room containing all the books you could possibly ever hope to read. In the middle of each room in the store are tables piled high with signed copies of work, so you can be sure to find a perfect memento or gift. Keep your eyes peeled for announcements on their website about future literary events and book signings!
2. Brick Lane Bookshop, 166 Brick Lane, E1 6RU
Set half way down Brick Lane is this wonderful retreat for bookworm. On entering the shop you will find book related paraphernalia from posters to penguin book tote bags and then, round the corner is a wealth of titles ready to greet you. There is a fantastic graphic novel section only equalled in the shop by its extensive range of Wordsworth classics (at a very reasonable price indeed). Nearer to the till is a truly brilliant range of books on London history, particularly focusing upon the East End. All titles are reasonably priced and you won’t feel shy asking for a book not on the shelves, as incredibly friendly staff are on stand-by to help. This is a great little hide away on such a hectic street.
1. Skoobs Books, The Brunswick, WC1N 1AE
This bookshop is a stone’s throw away from Senate House Library and is the perfect bookshop in our eyes. Set off from the main road the entrance to this book haven is easy to miss, but for those keen eyed amongst you this is a gem of a find. Head down some stone steps, with a help yourself collection of books on the side, and you enter a bookshop maze. The shelves reach near enough from the floor to the ceiling and each section is labelled so you won’t lose your way. The staff are terrific at helping you locate the book you’re after and Skoobs boasts an eclectic, brilliant mix of titles. Each section from philosophy to crime fiction is well stocked with new, old and inbetween books, and there is even a secret antique section selling beautiful copies of rare works. This really is the best book shop in London.