In this week's post, Genevieve explores the beautiful bookstores of London. Books old and new, on boats and on sale, here are 5 book shops you must visit when studying abroad in London.
The beauty of a big city like London is that it holds something for everyone. If you like food, go to Borough Market. If you like movies, go to Peckhamplex (tickets are only £5, so really anyone should go). If you like shopping, Westfield is your place. But for me, my personal poison is books. I can spend a whole day in Barnes and Noble. Whenever I go exploring in London, I always have my eyes open for a bookstore that has some kind of unique charm or purpose. London has plenty of those. I will list five. Some are perfect for studying in, others are beautiful just to see, and some are actually good for finding books. Each one is special in its own way:
1. Camden Locke Books at the Old Street Underground station
This bookstore is lined top to bottom with old and new books!
This store has a variety of both used and new books. They always have some sale going on and the inside is filled top to floor with books. There are so many books, in fact, that they even have piles of books on the floor. This bookstore is special to me because it is in the tube stop that I get off at for my internship, which makes it very convenient. However, it’s charm lies in the contrast it creates between the busy Shoreditch underground just outside its doors and the haven for readers that is obvious as soon as you enter. It’s perfect for picking up a new book after you finish the book that you read during your morning commute.
2. Notting Hill Book Exchange
Two Words: Discount BooksThe inside has a forgotten, edgy feel with a great soundtrack!
This bookstore may not look like much from the outside, but it is one of my favorites. It is the only bookstore on this list that is actually a secondhand bookstore. Most of their books are under £6. I actually found a beautiful hardback copy of Pride and Prejudice here for only £1. It is located in Notting Hill, which is a great area to look for secondhand anything, and this bookshop is perfect for students who are on a budget but need books for class or just for fun.
Daunt’s three floors are the perfect place to find travel books
Daunt books makes this list because of the beautiful setup. It is truly one of a kind. The multi-floor layout of the building reminds me of of the library from Beauty and the Beast. It has a classical and whimsical feel to it, which perfectly matches its selection of travel books.
The Southbank book store is another great place to find cheap books. Located directly under the bridge at Southbank, this open-air book market has a constantly changing selection of books. It is an experience for any booklover and is close to other fantastic tourist attractions like the Globe Theatre and if you enjoy walking, is walking distance from Borough Market.
5. Words on the Water
This boat bookstore is within walking distance to King's Cross.
This bookstore is also unique because of its location. It is an actual barge in the canal beside Kings’ Cross Station. Their setup is small, but cozy equipped with an arm chair and a dog. They even had live music when I stopped by after my internship one day.
Bonus Book Destination: The British Library
The British Library is enormous and has free WIFI and outlets!
The British Library does have a bookstore, but it is a little underwhelming. The reason that it made this list is because of the beauty of the books in the library. The entire middle of the library is composed of a giant wall of books. There is a café inside and free study space. Just a few steps from King’s Cross Station, it is the perfect place to get some studying in or just enjoy the smell of books. Plus, it stays open until 8pm, which is pretty good for London studying spaces. Plus, it is the home of the Magna Carta, which is worth a visit.
These are some of my favorite places, but London is full of bookshops and libraries, you just have to get out and keep exploring.
Genevieve Rice is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An English Literature major at Anderson University, she is studying abroad in London this semester.
Genevieve's journey continues every Monday so stay tuned.