Largest stock of new and second hand books on Mind, Body, Spirit, Health and the Unexplained that I know of in the UK. Good for browsing and also internet service.
This is a fantastic independent bookshop, with a brilliant music and CD collection on sale. Quirky, original, friendly and unexpected among all the pudding and tart shops and outdoor clothing stores. One of Bakewell's treasures, and featured in 'Last Shop Standing'. Don't miss it if you are in the area.
Stanfords is simply the best bookshop in the world for anyone with a love of travel. It's a London landmark to get the pulse racing of any would-be adventurer. Trading for over 150 years, it was from Edward Stanford Ltd that Sherlock Holmes bought a map in "The Hound of the Baskervilles" and both Dr Livingstone and Cecil Rhodes started their journeys. More recently Kenneth Williams trained as a map maker here — before going round the Horne and carrying on up the Khyber.
Today pick your way through three floors of books, maps and travel paraphernalia on offer in this Edwardian labyrinth. Sitting alongside big name guides like Lonely Planet, look out for specialist handbooks on climbing, caravanning, canals, caving, canoeing and kayaking. Thumb through a guide to battlefields or customs and etiquette in Turkey. For a real Anatolian adventure, don't miss Kate Clow's idiosyncratic "The Lycian Way" — one of the world's Top 10 walks — and while you are there pick up a novel by Turkey's Nobel Laureate, Orhan Pamuk. Farther afield wander into Tajikistan, Togo or Tuvalu.
Closer to home Stanfords stocks the full range of OS maps and has guides to every village, town and county in the UK.
There are flags, wall maps, street maps, atlases and globes. If choosing between a cuddly toy globe or chocolate globe is impossible — or you find yourself wrestling with the desire to own a hanging Christmas tree globe — stop for a break at the Sacred Café. You might discover that after a reviving cup of ayurvedic loose-leaf tea what you really want is a jacket from the new Bear Grylls range of clothing.
Before you leave grab a signed book from perky world girdler Michael Palin, or even stay for a travel lecture. Stanfords has it all.
12-14 Long Acre
City of London WC2E 9LP
+44(0)20 7836 1321
Nearest Underground: Leicester Square or Covent Garden
Open Mon-Tue 9am-7:30pm; Wed-Sat 9am-7pm; Sun 12pm-6pm
Google map: bit.ly/9Ax6Eg
A disused railway station converted into a large-scale bookshop, set against a backdrop of Northumbrian landscape. Admid a maze of bookshelves and a model railway, you can truly disappear into whatever plot line, biography or non-fiction text you happen to be reading. With its stunning interior and authentic waiting room and cafe, you could spend forever browsing through its unique library of editions varying from victorian to present day: it is by far the best bookshop in Britain.
Voltaire and Rousseau is a bit of a mess. Books are piled floor to ceiling with no sense of hierarchy or order. Some books are buried so deep that it's unlikely that anyone will ever buy them. But that's also what's so great about the shop - you never know what literary treasures you might uncover. Watch where you step, though - the owner's cats are as much a part of the shop as the books and love to wander around the stacks.
12-14 Otago Lane, Glasgow, G12 8PB
+44(0)141 339 1811
Near Kelvinbridge Subway
Google map: bit.ly/cqCN4a
Scrivener's books in Buxton, Derbyshire. What an interesting find! This is not just the largest second-hand bookshop in Derbyshire. The
proprietor Alastair Scrivener has brought together a number of people skilled in the crafts of bookbinding, book repair and restoration, calligraphy, even bookcase building. Watch them at work, browse the
huge selection of books, then retire upstairs for tea and cake in the cafe upstairs. Hang around for long enough and they may even take you on as an apprentice.
Barter Books in the handsome old Victorian railway station in Alnwick.
There's a great selection of secondhand books here set in an amazing
building! Some people visit just for the historical tour of the building. Walk into the shop through the old ticket office, onto the
main platform to browse the books and enjoy the open fires in winter, take time out to drink coffee and sample the newspapers in the old waiting room. Don't forget to look up at the writer's mural in the main room - thirty-three life-size figures of famous writers looking down on you from their writer's gallery.
Alnwick Station, Northumberland, NE66 2NP, England
In a once Yorkshire Dales town cinema, postively no muzak, no corporate branding, merciful peace and big enough space to get lost and dreamy in, huge range of books on two floors, plus a back warren of delights, stuff on every conceivable subject, and coffee, comfortable sofas, views south and west over Western Dales fells, sunsets spill in through the front door, and above all, booksellers on hand in love with their space and stock.
This hostel in London is amazing. Beautifully surrounded by gardens and outside space which you don't usually get with hostels especially in central London. It's spacious, clean and the staff are so helpful and friendly. I stay there again and again.
This second hand bookshop can be found half way up Steep Hill in the heart of Lincoln. Like any good second hand bookshop, it is a warren of little corridors and dinky recesses. The atmosphere is calm and unhurried, and it's easy to lose track of time as you search through the shelves for new (old) books to buy. Well worth the trek up the hill to get to it!
13-14 Steep Hill, Lincoln, LN2 1LT
Google map: bit.ly/9EWKnu
Uneven floors, narrow creaking stairs and walls covered in bookshelves groaning with antiquitarian tomes, second hand paperbacks and discount bookends.
The Minster Gates Bookshop is on a narrow medieval street overshadowed by the bulk of gothic York Minster. Tourists hurry by, and miss this five-storey gem. Every inch of space is taken up with stock, there are even books outside in summer. It is easy to lose an hour or two in here.
And once you have dragged yourself away, purse lighter, bag heavier, in summer you can head to Deans Park, York's cathedral green. Or in winter hurry down the street to Little Betty's tearoom to read in front of an open fire enjoying a Yorkshire tea and Fat Rascal teacake.
Getting to know a city by walking through it is an endless pleasure. How about getting to understand a city that you already know and live in by seeing it with new eyes?
PatternLondon is a blog written by Lucy Elder, a Londoner who appreciates an overlooked yet perfectly accessible world of pattern that exists within a city she clearly loves and knows well.
And oh it’s a visual treat! A blog that’s far from vacuous, it gently flits across the patterns that decorate a multitude of subject matter including art, architecture, textiles, design and the built environment. Elder’s own photography is combined with well chosen images of ephemera- patterns in their loosest sense that adorn London. Each post involving a specific location is also lovingly plotted on its own Google Map should they wish to visit the site of the aforementioned patterns.
It appears as a well informed anti-guide; the kind of guide that deserves to grow slowly over time, developing hidden gems and pearls of wisdom within its neatly linked posts.
It is a new blog, but already the amount of well-referenced tone of voice makes viewing compulsive. One finds themselves compulsively returning to the blog to check whether an interesting window display or tile that you’ve just seen might have peaked the interest of the blogs magpie author.
PatternLondon is as much of a tool as it is a guide. It wants the viewer to leave the blog, walk outside and explore London themselves with fresh eyes.
The Head of Steam is a fantastic pub in Huddersfield train station (no, really). It's fairly large but still cosy, and decorated with antique train memoribilia. Good selection of ales and really, really good food - which is also great value. Example - giant Yorkshire puds filled with roast meat and veg for £6.
The challenge is to come out without buying anything: it is a challenge I usually fail. Who would have thought that it would be possible to cram so much temptation into such as small space. Whatever you are looking for you will find something here: adult or child/fact or fiction. There is room to browse though close quarters means that conversations are usually shared - new friendships as well as new books are to be found. There are (by the way) no prints.
When thinking of destinations to travel to, Haliax in the north of England is hardly the first place that comes to mind. However, The Piece Hall is a magnificant Georgian Grade 1 listed work of art and is home to the world famous Piece Hall Book Shop. Upon entering the shop you are greeted by thousands of rare, specialist and one of a kind books ranging from crime thrillers to cartoons towering all the way up to the ceiling as well as the welcoming, albeit eccentric, owner. However, Piece Hall Book Shop is not alone as Legacy Comics is located just a handful of shops away and stocks every comic imaginable from your typical American magazine to small press books. Hours can be lost in this treasure trove so if you are in search of a mid-shopping rest there is no shortage of cafes for you to take your pick from. The Piece Hall is also a stone's throw away from the train station so it is easily accessible from wherever you are.
12 The Piece Hall, Halifax HX1 1RE
+44(0)1422 347 775
Google map: bit.ly/aGkifc
Westminister Furnival House is the equivalent of a hostel in the middle of London. While some might argue that it's a bit too much like college, anyone who has spent time travelling in South America can appreciate what it has to offer.
Dorm beds, laundry services and common rooms set the stage for a good time with the right bunch of people. It's perfect for having a place to relax after exploring Abby Road Studios and the countless other attractions of London.
Cholmeley Park Highgate Village
London N6 5EU
Google map: bit.ly/9zXtK3
Scary Canary Clothing sells a range of vintage clothing from the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's, plus some retro-style wear and bespoke designs.
The shop is beautifully laid out over two floors of mens and ladies clothing, and also includes hats, shoes and jewllery.
The staff are always helpful and can find and suggest something to suit your taste.
They also have a great online clothing store.
Kate Atkinson in her book 'Started Early, Took My Dog' writes about her hero: "his favourite abbey so far was Jervaulx. Privately owned, with an honesty box at the gate and no English Heritage branding, the ruins had touched his soul in an inarticulate and melancholy place, the nearest thing to holiness foe an atheistic Jackson."
We stayed in the lovely Park House run by the owners of the Abbey, Ian and Carol Burdon - superb accommodation, excellent breakfast and delightful hospitality - thoroughly recommended. We paid £75 a night for two.
Archaelogical dig, museum and reconstructions of a Roman encampment from nearly 2,000 years ago.Explore the excavations and browse around the museum. Set amongst beautiful Northumberland scenery alongside Hadrian's Wall.
Military road between Carlisle and Hexham. Closest towns are Bardon Mill and Haltwhistle.
Details from Hexham Tourist information on +44(0)1434 652220
Google map: bit.ly/bGQN8u
It is a blog written by an American living in London for five months. It gives insight into England that only an outsider can provide. And wry comments on his son's adventures at an urban school unlike his private Catholic one in Texas.
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