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The best independent bookstores in London

It’s World Book day this weekend! To celebrate the beauty of literature and the quaintness of British bookshops, we have put together a list of the best independent ones across London – including one located on water!

Alice Through the Looking Glass

14 Cecil Court, London, WC2N 4HE

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Are you a fan of Alice in Wonderland? This bookstore is perfect for anyone who loves the famous fictional world down the rabbit hole. The shop is located in the heart of central London and contains first edition books, rare illustrated editions and an assortment of unique items. The shop also supplies all of the rare books for the famous Fortnum & Mason in London.

The Notting Hill Bookshop

13 Blenheim Cresent, London, W11 2EE

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Located just minutes away from the famous Portobello Road Market, The Notting Hill Bookshop first opened in 1979 specialising in travel books. The shop’s popularity boomed in 1999 after its interior and facade were used in the famous rom-com Notting Hill starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. Nowadays, the shop has expanded beyond travel books with a variety of different genres in stock. The shop still receives several visits daily from fans worldwide.

Daunt Books

83-84 Marylebone High Street, London, W1U 4QW

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Just a five-minute walk away from Holmes Hotel London, features stunning interior and is known to be one of the prettiest bookshops in London. The shop mostly stocks travel books although they also have a fantastic selection of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books available.

Gay’s the Word

66 Marchmont Street, London, WC1N 1AB


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The UK’s oldest LGBT bookshop opened in January 1979 and became a community space, used for events that channelled all profits back into the business. The shop sells books on subjects such as historical, political, poetry and biographies. Welsh novelist Sarah Waters, said: “It’s not just a bookshop, but the hub and affirmation of a whole community.”

Due to the small size of the bookshop, all their events are currently being held virtually. Many of their events include poetry readings and book launches.

Word on the Water

York Way, Granary Square, London, N1C 4AA


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Have you ever seen a bookshop on water? Also known as The London Bookbarge, this shop sells its stock from a 100 year old Dutch barge. Selling both second-hand and brand new books including classic, cult, contemporary fiction, children’s books, art, photography and other quirky items. Occasionally you’ll find acoustic live music, poetry slams and readings all in one place.  With this gem being located just a short walk from the bustling King’s Cross Station, you won’t be able to miss it.

South Bank Book Market

Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX

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The South Bank Book Market is open daily until 7pm, with hundreds of classic and contemporary titles, comics, maps, and more. It has been run by the same family since 1982 and is said to have seen a few familiar faces such as Louis Theroux and Ridley Scott. The book market is just a short walk from Park Plaza Westminster Bridge and Park Plaza County Hall, so go and explore and find yourself a little treasure!


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