I love books and I love walking. There’s no better way to combine my passions than walking to London’s bookshops, reading rooms, and other literary locations. If you’re the same, today I want to share my self-guided London literary walk and map with you.

London Literary Walk

Self-Guided London Literary Walk

This literary walk is an independent book crawl through central London. From beloved bookstores to important places in the city’s history, it always takes me on a journey both literally and metaphorically.

Daunt Books in Marylebone

I like to start my London literary walk at my favorite London bookshop, Daunt Books in Marylebone. With a huge travel section and an upper gallery lining the walls, this is my inner book lover’s paradise.

Daunt Books in Marylebone

After a browse and a buy, I continue up Marylebone High Street and turn right down Euston Road, giving a nod to nearby 221B Baker Street. It’s the fictional residence of Sherlock Holmes, and it’s almost visible as I round the corner.

Sherlock Holmes Museum

Along Euston Road, I come across the Wellcome Collection. The reading room is one of the best places for books in London, and the perfect spot to stop and read whatever book I’ve purchased at Daunt.

Wellcome Collection Reading Room

Across the street is the British Library, which often has exhibitions on all things literary. If I have time, I stop in and see what’s on.

British Library

From here it’s a short walk north to Regent’s Canal, where the quirky Word on the Water bookshop often lies in a vintage canal boat next to Granary Square. With titles crammed in every available space, it might just be London’s most unique bookstore.

Word on the Water Bookshop

After another browse and buy, my London literary walk continues south into Bloomsbury. One of London’s most famous literary neighborhoods, this area was home to Bloomsbury Group writers like Virginia Woolf and E. M. Forster in the early 20th century.

Red Phone Boxes in Bloomsbury

While in the vicinity, I pay homage to one of London’s most famous writers at the Charles Dickens Museum. Afterwards, I stop by Persephone Books, which specializes in women writers and is one of London’s best specialty bookstores.

Persephone Books

Heading southwest from here, I wander towards the British Museum, where the nearby London Review Bookshop is one of the best independent bookshops in London. Its hidden courtyard offers a good place to read, and there’s a London Review Cake Shop next door. Yum.

London Review Bookshop

From the London Review Bookshop I make my way to Foyles, one of the largest and friendliest bookshops in the city. Its “Welcome book lover, you are among friends” sign always puts me in a bookish mood, and floor upon floor of books means there’s a title to interest me every time.

Foyles Bookshop

Down Charing Cross Road, Cecil Court has an abundance of bookshops with lots of first editions and rare vintage titles to explore. There’s even an Alice in Wonderland-themed shop to browse.

Cecil Court

West of Cecil Court through Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus, my London literary walk takes me to Hatchards. It was founded in the 18th century, and walking in makes me feel like I’m stepping back in time. Its wood paneling and warren of rooms are beautiful to explore, and it has great specialty sections for when I’m searching for a unique item or gift.

St James's Square Garden

Hatchards isn’t far from St James’s Square Garden, a quiet green space with benches perfect for reading in the warmer months. And given I could sit and read all day, my London literary walk usually ends here.

London Review Bookshop

If you do the walk, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. In the meantime, here are 11 lovely books about London to get you started.

I’ve also written a lot more London walks, and you can find them in my London walking tours blog post. There are more great walks outlined in London’s Hidden Walks, too. You can get it here.

Time: 2.5 to 3 hours (longer if you stop at the museums or take a break to read)
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/53v6GrKVRqz

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London Literary Walk

14 Comments on Lady’s Self-Guided London Literary Walk and Map

  1. I LOVED this post! so glad i stumbled on it through Bloglovin. I’m a huge bookworm and love reading and this is exactly the kind of thing i was looking for for when I go to london. I always try to find the best bookstores when I travel and was planning on making ti a series for my travel blog haha

  2. Oh, what a beautiful walk! I visited all of the shops you mentioned in November–not all on the same day:) My favorite souvenirs from my trip are my bag from Persephone Books and my books from a little shop in Cecil Court. Great recommendations!

  3. What a great walk! I printed the map for future use. You will think this sounds crazy but sometime in the late 1980’s (possibly 1985) I visited London and stopped at a bookstore that still used an abacus to total up sales. I believe it was the original Foyles on Charring Cross Road. I went to the shop because my guide book at that time told me they still used an abacus and I wanted to see it. However, now I can’t find any mention of that little quirk anywhere. I’ve spent the last hour scouring Google but have come up blank. I know it happened, I remember it clearly.

  4. So many lovely little book nooks! I’ll be in London later this month with a few hours to fill – guess what I’ll be doing! :o)

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