If you read my latest post, you’ll know I’m launching a new itinerary series on the A Lady in London blog. Today is the first installment, and since so many of you have given me positive feedback on my book-related content I decided I would start with a London itinerary for book lovers.
London Itinerary for Book Lovers
This itinerary will take you though some of London’s best-loved literary locations. From bookshops to libraries and museums, it will allow you to discover a lot of the city’s best places for books. It covers a 2-day period, but you can mix and match to tailor it to the amount of time you have in London.
London Itinerary for Book Lovers: Day 1 – Morning
Begin the first day of your itinerary at Foyles on Charing Cross Road. This iconic bookshop has a cafe at the top, so it’s the perfect place for a coffee to start the day. Foyles is enormous, so a caffeine boost will help you browse through all the titles your heart desires.
When you’ve finished at Foyles, make your way down Charing Cross Road to Cecil Court. This little alley is full of antiquarian shops selling books and other curiosities. It’s a great place to pick up something unique.
From Cecil Court, walk through Covent Garden to get to Stanfords. This bookshop is a travel lover’s dream, with multiple floors of everything from books to maps and globes.
London Itinerary for Book Lovers: Day 1 – Afternoon
After getting your fix at Stanfords, continue through Covent Garden to the London Review Bookshop. This bookshop also has a cake shop, so it’s a great place to get lunch or a cup of tea and cake (or all three).
The bookshop itself is packed with great titles, and the area around it has more shops to explore (not to mention the British Museum, which is just up the street).
From the London Review Bookshop, make your way into Bloomsbury. This area is famous for its literary connections to the Bloomsbury Group. Its members lived and worked around here, so keep your eyes out for blue plaques marking their homes as you explore.
While in Bloomsbury, don’t miss Persephone Books. This unique bookshop on Lamb’s Conduit Street specializes in female authors and out-of-print titles with beautiful covers.
Persephone Books is right by the Charles Dickens Museum, another must for literary lovers. His former home, the museum gives an overview of his life and work. There’s also a little cafe here if you need a tea break (and who does’t?).
London Itinerary for Book Lovers: Day 1 – Evening
And speaking of Dickens, not far from the museum is a place that appears in one of his books. Over by Farringdon station, Bleeding Heart Yard featured in his novel Little Dorrit as the home of the Plornish family.
The yard itself is a pretty place, too. There are restaurants and pubs in and around it if you want to end the first day of your London itinerary for book lovers with a drink or meal.
London Itinerary for Book Lovers: Day 2 – Morning
Start your second day at Daunt Books in Marylebone. This bookshop is one of the most famous in London, not least because of its beautiful interior. It also has a travel focus, so if you love to travel as much as I do, you’ll be in heaven here.
Once you’ve finished browsing and buying, make your way up to the Sherlock Holmes Museum. This place on Baker Street is famous for its connections to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional detective. It’s a great place to channel your inner mystery lover.
From the museum you can walk or take the tube down Euston Road to the The Wellcome Collection. It has a beautiful reading room where you can tuck into whatever titles you picked up at Daunt and soak up the literary atmosphere.
Just down the road from the Wellcome Collection, the British Library often has exhibitions. You can pop in and see what’s on, taking in the contemporary surroundings as you go.
London Itinerary for Book Lovers: Day 2 – Afternoon
The library isn’t far from King’s Cross Station, where the famous Platform 9 3/4 from the Harry Potter novels resides. There’s also a Harry Potter shop if you want to pick up some themed souvenirs.
Just north of the station, Word on the Water is a canal-boat-turned-bookshop that can usually be found in Regent’s Canal below Granary Square.
It’s a fun place to channel your inner book lover, and the big steps nearby lend themselves to al fresco reading on sunny days. There are also great restaurants around if you’re in the mood for lunch.
London Itinerary for Book Lovers: Day 2 – Evening
From King’s Cross, hop on the tube and take the Northern Line up to Hampstead. This village in north London is full of literary history and charm. Not only did it feature in novels like Dracula, but many famous writers and authors also lived in Hampstead.
If you walk around the village, you’ll see blue plaques dedicated to everyone from George Orwell to Robert Louis Stevenson. There’s a museum dedicated to poet John Keats, and Daphne du Maurier’s father and grandfather are buried in the local cemetery.
Hampstead is home to some of the coziest pubs in London, so if you want to stay for dinner make sure to head to the Holly Bush. Its warren of wood-paneled rooms with fireplaces will make you feel like curling up with a book and staying all night.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this London itinerary for book lovers. If you want more inspiration, I’ve written a self-guided London literary walk and blog posts about the best places for books in London, the best independent bookshops in London, the best specialty bookstores in London, and books that will make you fall in love with London.
There will be more themed London itineraries to come, so stay tuned for the next one in a week’s time.
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