There’s nothing I enjoy more than curling up with a good book. Whether I’m on the sofa at home on a winter’s night or on a bench in a park on a summer’s day, I love getting lost in the pages of a novel. And when I need inspiration for something new to read, I head to one of my favorite places for books in the city. If you’re a book lover like me, today I want to share 9 of the best independent bookshops in London with you.

Independent Bookshops in London

Independent Bookshops in London

From well-known establishments to under-the-radar gems, London has no shortage of unique places to look for new titles and rare first editions. I mentioned some of the best places for books and specialty bookstores in London in previous blog posts, so today I want to focus on the independents that cover a range of genres.

Daunt Books in London

1. Hatchards

Having graced Piccadilly since 1797, Hatchards is London’s oldest bookshop and a city institution. I love wandering in on a rainy day and getting lost in floor after floor of titles. I find something new to love at the top of each staircase, and I always enjoy their special tables full of novellas and other themed picks.

Hatchards in London

2. Daunt Books

I know, I know. I mention the Marylebone branch of Daunt Books in pretty much all of my blog posts about books in London. But that’s because it’s such an amazing place. Not only does it have one of the biggest travel book selections in London, but it also features one of the most picture-pretty rooms of any bookshop in the city. If there’s one place that inspires me to read and travel at the same time, it’s Daunt.

Daunt Books in London

3. Belgravia Books

Over on Ebury Street, I was first drawn to Belgravia Books when I saw the pretty blue tables and chairs outside. When I realized they were sitting in front of a bookshop I knew I had to go in. When I did I found a small but efficient space full of great staff picks and new-to-me titles. Since then I’ve been drawn back by the prospect of discovering the latest recommendations, one of which I finished last night—When the Professor Got Stuck in the Snow is hilarious.

Belgravia Books

4. Foyles

Foyles is another name that needs no introduction. Its massive shop on Charing Cross Road is a London institution, and many locals and visitors consider it one of the best independent bookshops in London. I always love browsing the shelves in Foyles, not least because there are genres both familiar and foreign to me. From classic literature to Japanese anime, Foyles has something for every reader.

Foyles Bookshop in London

5. Treadwell’s

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Treadwell’s in Bloomsbury specializes in one niche: the magical and mystical. From occult books to tarot readings, pagan supplies to esoteric collectibles, this bookshop is one of the most unique in London. I walk by all the time, and am always excited to see what’s new in the window.

Treadwell's Bookshop in London

6. Lutyens & Rubinstein

Out west in Notting Hill, the adorable Lutyens & Rubinstein is a haven of literary goodness. The small multi-level shop has everything from greeting cards to children’s books, and downstairs there’s a table where their in-house literary agency holds meetings amidst the shelves. I love wandering through the door and immersing myself in this little literary world.

Lutyens & Rubinstein Bookshop in London

7. London Review Bookshop

There are a million bookshops around the British Museum, all of them specializing in one thing or another. But one that always stands out for me is the London Review Bookshop (and—let’s be honest—its cake shop next door). The shop itself is light and bright, and I love how there’s a little courtyard out back with tables and sofas perfect for curling up with a book and a cuppa (and cake, of course).

London Review Bookshop

8. The Notting Hill Bookshop

Remember the bookshop from the movie Notting Hill? Well it wasn’t just a set. The shop really exists in the neighborhood, and while it’s a new iteration of the original it’s still a fun place to go. The Notting Hill Bookshop offers everything from classic fiction to travel guides, and has a lot of gift-worthy books and accessories for sale.

The Notting Hill Bookshop

9. John Sandoe Books

John Sandoe Books is tucked away on a side street off the King’s Road in Chelsea. Walking in is like stepping back in time, with dark wooden shelves and a narrow staircase winding its way up to a labyrinth of rooms. Stacks of books along the windows make me want to pick up each one to see what’s underneath, and every visit is like a trip to a treasure trove.

John Sandoe Books

There are a lot more independent bookstores in London, but I hope these 9 help get you started on your explorations. Happy reading!

What are your favorite independent bookshops in London?

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Independent Bookshops in London

28 Comments on Lady’s 9 Independent Bookshops You Have to Visit in London

  1. Have you read 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff? It’s such a lovely tale about an old book store. The shop doesn’t exist anymore, but I like to think it’s spirit lives on in all the other tiny book shops in London.

  2. This is exactly the kind of thing I wanted to know about London! Technically I study there and I am supposed to be amazed by all the amazing things it has to offer, but in reality I can never do much more than recommend to visit Camden and Covent Garden #fail.

  3. These are all lovely places to visit, of course, but my favorite is Persephone Books in Lamb’s Conduit Street. It’s tiny, and all the books have the same cover, but different linings sold with matching bookmarks. You literally can’t judge a book by its cover! Last time I went it was full of people reading, trying to sort out which books they were taking home with them. They also have subscriptions and box sets. And lest I forget, most of their books are written by women.

  4. Fantastic post – I love these places so much. I’d also add Watkins Books in Cecil Court – another niche bookshop, and the only place I’ve seen a shaman, a clergyman and a pagan priest deep in friendly discussion!

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