Books, I love books.  Walking passed a bookshop is a wrench, if I do then it means that I must be in a tearing hurry.  Whilst I can find joy in almost anywhere that sells books, I do have favourites.  Here are my top five London bookshops.


83-84 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 4QW
Top Five London Bookshops

Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street used to be my local bookshop.  Every week I would prowl its shelves seeking my next companion.  Daunt is a stunningly beautiful shop, built round a central atrium with a large window at one end.  In theory it is a travel bookshop but it sells so much more than mere guidebooks.  Each geographical area has not only the Rough Guides but also cookbooks, histories of the country and novels.  Reading books about the area which I am visiting or written by a local is something that I love, if you want the perfect Albanian novel (The File on H by Ismail Kadare) look no further than Daunt.


Regents Canal Towpath

Word on the Water is a bookshop on a barge, she chugs up and down the Regents Canal and can be visited at which ever part of the tow path she moors up. I found her just by Granary Square behind Kings Cross Station.  Browsing through secondhand books is a joy.  Sometimes you see old friends and remember the happy times you spent together, other times you look at the old covers and typefaces and realise that fashion even reaches into the world of books.  Best of all is when you see a title that you have wanted to read for ages, I found THE DIARY OF A NOBODY by George and Weedon Grosssmith.


203-206 Piccadilly, London W1J 9HD

Waterstones is one of Britains biggest booksellers.  The branch that I love is its flagship on Piccadilly, the building is a splendid Art Deco place.  Sweeping staircases lure you upwards to ever more temptation.   This branch of Waterstones is the Junior CW’s favourite bookshop.  When they were very small I used to browse the shelves with them, then they wanted to make their own selections so I used to hunker down on a child-sized seat and read my own book.  Now they are big enough for me to wander at will, until we meet and compare our selections.  Waterstones also offers places in which to peruse your purchases, the basement has a booklined café and right at the very top of the building is a bar for more grown up discussions.


12-14 Long Acre, London WC2E 9LP

Stanfords on Covent Garden’s Long Acre is another travel book shop but unlike Daunt it specialises in maps.  Once I have decided on a holiday destination, Standfords is my first stop to purchase a proper folding map, even the floors have maps on them.  Nowadays Stanfords sells guidebooks and all manner of travel related books.  If you love maps and books then head for Stanfords.


196 Piccadilly, London w1J 9EY
top five London bookshops

Maison Assouline is a temple to the coffee table book.  It is housed in a perfect cube of room and is devoted to selling the luxury books produced by Assouline.  I concede that I have never actually bought a book in Maison Assouline as the luxury books come with luxury price tags.  It is also home to Swans Bar which will serve coffee accessorised with the most beautiful spoon I have ever seen.  It is the perfect place to flick through my latest book haul from Waterstones just down the road on days when the Junior CW’s are elsewhere.

These are my top five London bookshops, which are yours?

If you need some reading inspiration here are my top summer reads.



  1. April 24, 2017 / 4:31 pm

    Ohh! They look like fantastic book shops. I do love our Waterstones.

    • Catherine
      April 24, 2017 / 4:36 pm

      Hard to settle on just five!

  2. April 24, 2017 / 7:19 pm

    I’d love to live close to any of those stores. There are a couple of warehouse bargain book stores close to me which I occasionally peruse, Nothing like your glamorous choices.

    • Catherine
      April 24, 2017 / 7:21 pm

      I love a bargain book warehouse too

  3. April 27, 2017 / 9:16 am

    How cute! Love the book barge! And that massive map carpet is fun! Love bookshops and libraries! #FarawayFiles

    • Catherine
      April 27, 2017 / 3:33 pm

      Hard to resist a book, but a book with a map impossible to refuse

    • Catherine
      April 27, 2017 / 3:34 pm

      Now I need time to read the pile of unread books, maybe a long train journey is called for

  4. April 27, 2017 / 9:46 am

    I’ve only been to Waterstones:) #farawayfiles

    • Catherine
      April 27, 2017 / 3:34 pm

      Waterstones is wonderful

  5. April 27, 2017 / 1:32 pm

    I think I’m in love with Word on the Water – how cool is that! Now THAT is a unique book store! I would definitely see spending much time (and money) in Daunt Books as well. Great list! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles – Erin

    • Catherine
      April 27, 2017 / 3:36 pm

      My spending on books did fall when I no longer lived round the corner from Daunt!

  6. jphowze
    April 27, 2017 / 2:30 pm

    You mean they have books and not just cocktails at Maison Assouline? 😉 Seriously, a great list. I could spend hours browsing at any of these places. #FarawayFiles

    • Catherine
      April 27, 2017 / 3:37 pm

      Books AND cocktails, what could be finer?

  7. Clare Thomson
    April 27, 2017 / 2:36 pm

    I can happily spend hours in a bookshop. I really like Hatchard’s on Piccadilly and that Waterstone’s is my favourite too. I love Daunts and I must search out Word on the Water. Great post for #FarawayFiles

    • Catherine
      April 27, 2017 / 3:38 pm

      Finding Words on the Water involves a stroll along the canal, so win win!

  8. April 27, 2017 / 7:09 pm

    Ooh Words on the Water sounds right up my alley… or canal! Love to check it out. I also like the Foyles near Tottenham Court Road – free wifi in cafe! #farawayfiles

    • Catherine
      April 27, 2017 / 7:37 pm

      Love free wifi

  9. Wherejogoes
    April 27, 2017 / 7:34 pm

    I love Stanfords – there is something about maps that spark the imagination. We went this Easter to Livraria Lello in Porto which is a bookshop treat. No matter how kindles take over the world there is something about turning a page, stepping into a bookshop that can’t be beaten. #FarawayFiles

    • Catherine
      April 27, 2017 / 7:38 pm

      Quite agree, although not having to devote half my holiday luggage to books is an upside of the kindle

      • Wherejogoes
        April 27, 2017 / 7:43 pm

        Yes goodness I remember taking 14 books on holiday! One for each day! The kindle definitely lightens the load I’d hate to run out of reading material!

        • Catherine
          April 27, 2017 / 7:43 pm

          That is always my worry!

          • Wherejogoes
            April 27, 2017 / 7:44 pm

            You are a kindred spirit Catherine – we should go on holiday with a pile of books and not speak to eachother all day!

          • Catherine
            April 27, 2017 / 7:52 pm

            Sounds like heaven, are we allowed wine with dinner?

          • Wherejogoes
            April 27, 2017 / 8:02 pm

            Oh yes it’s obligatory!

  10. April 29, 2017 / 4:10 pm

    This is awesome! I love the idea of Daunt Books and am definitely saving this for my next London visit! #farawayfiles

    • Catherine
      April 29, 2017 / 8:06 pm

      Daunt is fabulous and Marylebone High Street has lots of other interesting shops too!

  11. May 4, 2017 / 8:39 pm

    Daunts is definitly one of me favourites too. I keep meaning to visit Word on the Water and I love Stanfords. Have you visited Skoob Books in the Brunswick Centre, Bloomsbury? If not I recommend it, if you love second hand book shops you will adore this, its overflowing

    • Catherine
      May 4, 2017 / 8:44 pm

      Not been to Skoob but will the next time I’m in that neck of the woods, also want to visit Persephone Books on Lambs Conduit Street which is close

  12. May 8, 2017 / 12:23 am

    Those are some handsome bookshops. Not been to Daunts before, so I will have to keep my eye out next time I’m down in the capital. I love our Waterstones, even if it’s tricky to navigate with the buggy, and my 4yo loves it too, a love I hope to get burning in years to come.

    • Catherine
      May 8, 2017 / 7:44 am

      Buggy navigation is a nightmare, good luck with passing on your love of books

  13. July 4, 2017 / 1:34 pm

    I love browsing book stores too! If you are ever in the Netherlands, there is a great book store in an old church down in Maastricht. #citytripping

    • Catherine
      July 4, 2017 / 1:47 pm

      We are heading to the Netherlands this summer, will put it on the list!

  14. July 4, 2017 / 5:01 pm

    I love ALL of these. Just recently discovered Maison Assouline but all of them really allow you to discover books and browse. You just can’t get that online! #citytripping

  15. Ruth
    July 4, 2017 / 5:46 pm

    I love libraries too! It is so sad that here in the United States libraries and book shops are not that popular (at least, that is my feeling, more and more close each year). In Europe, my mind spins every time I see the huge selection of books and related merchandise. I do not want to leave those places.

  16. July 6, 2017 / 9:29 am

    I’ve always had a soft spot for Hatchards, simply because of ts age. Daunt Books looks great, but a map/ travel bookshop would be interesting too – never come across that one, somehow.

  17. July 7, 2017 / 2:32 pm

    I love Daunt Books and Stanfords! Daunt Books is one I go to often – Chelsea or Holland Park – since I love that they sort books by country – I’ve found so many great novels that way. Word on the Water sounds fab too, I’ll keep an eye out for the barge next time I’m in that area.

  18. December 9, 2017 / 1:21 pm

    I’ve just discovered your lovely blog. And isn’t Daunts fab? I used to go there with my dad as he and I are those types who keep buying books to add to the stack we’ve yet to read! And the big Waterstones is a treat too. The hours I’ve spent in there.

    Sadly so many independent book stores are closing, but one of my favourites is Watkins in Cecil Court off Charing Cross Road. It’s a New Age/esoteric store so it may not be everyone’s thing, but it’s a great place. I also love the European Bookshop in Soho.

    Meanwhile, have you ever tried Toppings in Ely? That’s my dad’s new nearest book heaven.

    • Catherine
      December 9, 2017 / 9:05 pm

      Thank you! I’ve not been to Ely for many years, time to revisit and check out Toppings!

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