London is one of the most exciting cities in the world with plenty of fun things to do including amazingly cool and quirky bars, great parks and green spaces and a great many shopping options. But did you know it is also a haven for second hand book lovers? With so many amazing bookshops to explore, you’re guaranteed to find the perfect read at a fraction of the price. Whether you’re looking for a rare edition or simply want to stock up on reads for your holiday, here are some of the best secondhand bookshops in London.
1- Foster Books
Foster Books is a small, independent bookstore located in London. Founded in 2009, the store specialises in second-hand and out-of-print books. Despite its relatively small size, Foster Books has become known for its impressive collection of rare and unusual books. In addition to its regular stock, the store frequently hosts book signings and events featuring well-known authors.
Walking into Foster Books is like stepping back in time. The store is chock full of books from floor to ceiling, with barely enough room to move around. But despite the crowded conditions, the store has a welcoming and cosy feel. The knowledgeable staff are always happy to help customers find the perfect book, and there’s even a comfortable reading area where customers can browse at their leisure.
If you’re looking for a unique reading experience, then be sure to pay a visit to Foster Books next time you’re in London. You’ll find everything from classic novels to rare first editions, all tucked away in this little gem of a bookstore.
2- Skoob Books
If you’re ever in London and in need of a good book, be sure to swing by Skoob Books. This small independent bookstore is located in the heart of Bloomsbury, surrounded by cafés and pubs (the perfect place to enjoy your new book, if I do say so myself).
The store has an expertly curated selection of fiction and non-fiction, and the friendly staff are always happy to help you find the perfect book. Skoob Books is the kind of place that makes you fall in love with reading all over again. Trust me, it’s worth a visit.
3- Word on the Water
Word on the Water is a bookshop like no other. This floating store is located on a narrowboat on the Regent’s Canal in London, and it stocks a wide range of books, from classics to bestsellers. The bookshop has a cosy and welcoming atmosphere, with comfy armchairs and log fires for chilly days.
Customers are also welcome to bring their dogs onboard, making it the perfect place to while away a few hours with a good book. What’s more, the bookshop hosts regular events, including book clubs and live music. Whether you’re looking for your next great read or simply want to enjoy some time surrounded by books, Word on the Water is well worth a visit.
4- Henry Pordes Books
If you’re looking for a good bookshop in London, you could do a lot worse than Henry Pordes Books. It’s small, but it’s packed full of interesting titles, and the staff are always happy to chat and make recommendations. They also have a great children’s section – my daughter loves going there to pick out new books.
The only downside is that they’re closed on Sundays, which is when I usually have time to browse for books. But overall, I highly recommend Henry Pordes Books – it’s a great little shop with a lot to offer.
5- Wall to Wall Books
Wall to Wall Books is a little shop with a lot of character. Located in the trendy Soho district of London, the store is filled with a great selection of books. It’s an Aladdin’s Cave for book lovers, with something to suit every taste. The staff are knowledgeable and passionate about books, and they’re always happy to recommend a good read.
Whether you’re looking for the latest bestseller or a classic work of literature, you’re sure to find it at Wall to Wall Books. And if you get tired of browsing the shelves, there’s always a comfy armchair in the corner where you can sit and read in peace.
6- The Bookshop on the Heath
The Bookshop on the Heath is a unique shop in London that specialises in second-hand books. The shop is located in an old Victorian house on Hampstead Heath, and it is full of nooks and crannies to explore. The shop has an impressive selection of books, ranging from classics to modern bestsellers. In addition, the staff is extremely knowledgeable and can help you find the perfect book for your needs. Whether you are looking for a new favourite author or simply want to browse through a collection of interesting titles, The Bookshop on the Heath is definitely worth a visit.
7- Book Mongers
Book Mongers is a haven for those who love books. Located in the heart of London, this independent bookstore is filled to the brim with both new and used books. Whether you’re looking for the latest bestseller or a rare first edition, you’re sure to find it here. The knowledgeable staff is always on hand to help you find what you’re looking for, and they’re happy to offer their expert opinion on any book in the store.
In addition to an extensive selection of books, Book Mongers also offers a variety of events, including author readings and book signings. So whether you’re a die-hard bibliophile or simply someone who enjoys a good read, Book Mongers is the perfect place for you.
8- Southbank Centre Book Market
If you’re ever in need of a good book (or just want to window shop for one), the Southbank Centre Book Market in London is the place to go. This market has been around since the 1980s and is filled with second-hand books of all genres. It’s the perfect place to find a hidden gem, and you never know what you might come across.
The market is also a great spot for people watching, as it attracts all kinds of characters. Whether you’re looking for a new read or just want to soak up the atmosphere, the Southbank Centre Book Market is definitely worth a visit.
9- Judd Books
Judd Books is a small, independent bookstore located in London. The store specialises in second-hand books, and the shelves are packed with an eclectic mix of titles. The atmosphere is cosy and inviting, and the staff is always happy to chat about books.
Judd Books is the perfect place to browse for hours or to find that perfect gift for a fellow book lover. And best of all, the prices are very reasonable. So whether you’re looking for a rare first edition or just a good read, be sure to pay a visit to Judd Books.
10- Walden Books
Walden Books is a paradise for book-lovers in the bustling city of London. Located in the heart of the city, Walden Books offers a tranquil oasis for those who need to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With its plush armchairs, crackling fire and well-stocked shelves, Walden Books is the perfect place to curl up with a good book and while away a few hours.
But Walden Books is more than just a cosy retreat; it’s also a treasure trove of books, with something to suit every taste. Whether you’re looking for the latest bestseller or a rare first edition, you’re sure to find it at Walden Books. So next time you’re looking for somewhere to relax and escape the noise of the city, be sure to pay a visit to Walden Books.
11- Hurlingham Books
Hurlingham Books is a secondhand bookshop in London that specialises in rare and antiquarian books. Founded in the early 20th century, the shop has been passed down through generations of booksellers, and its current owner, Rupert Hurlingham, is the great-grandson of the founder. The shop is located in a small alley off Charing Cross Road, and its narrow shelves are crammed with books of all shapes and sizes.
The shop’s atmosphere is musty and slightly chaotic, but its visitors are always greeted with a warm welcome by Rupert and his cat, Snooks. Whether you’re looking for a first edition of Dickens or a rare copy of Chaucer, Hurlingham Books is sure to have something to suit your needs.
12- Second Shelf
Second Shelf is a relatively new entrant to the London book scene, but it’s already making waves. This independent bookstore specialises in books by and about women, which is something that London sorely needed. The selection is fantastic, and the staff is knowledgeable and enthusiastic.
The store also hosts regular events, such as author readings and panel discussions. Second Shelf is quickly becoming one of my favourite places in London. If you’re looking for a great bookshop with a focus on women’s voices, Second Shelf is the place for you.
13- Jarndyce Booksellers
Jarndyce Booksellers is a family-run business that has been selling books in London for over 200 years. The shop is tucked away in a side street off the main drag, and it’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. But once you find it, you’ll be glad you did. The interior is cramped and cluttered, with bookshelves overflowing with books of all shapes and sizes.
There’s a musty smell of paper and ink, and the air is thick with dust. But there’s also an atmosphere of calm and quietude, as if the world outside doesn’t exist. It’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of modern life and lose yourself in a good book. So if you’re ever in London, be sure to pay a visit to Jarndyce Booksellers. You won’t be disappointed.
Sotheran’s is one of the world’s most iconic bookstores. Founded in 1814, it is the city’s oldest surviving bookshop and boasts an impressive collection of rare and antiquarian books. Over the years, Sotheran’s has been a regular haunt of literary greats such as Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf and J.R.R. Tolkien. Today, it is still a popular destination for book lovers from all over the world. Step inside Sotheran’s and you’ll be transported back in time to a world of quill pens and leather-bound volumes.
With its oak-panelled walls and quaint Victorian decor, the store has a distinctly old-fashioned charm. But don’t let its traditional looks fool you; Sotheran’s is very much a 21st century bookshop. As well as selling rare and collectible books, it also stocks a wide range of contemporary titles. Whether you’re looking for a first edition of Dickens or the latest thriller from your favourite author, you’re sure to find it at Sotheran’s.
15- World’s End
If you’re looking for a bookshop with personality, you’ll find it at World’s End. Tucked away in a street near Covent Garden, this quirky shop is packed with second-hand books of all shapes and sizes. The staff are friendly and helpful, and there’s a cosy café where you can sit and browse the shelves at your leisure.
With its low ceilings and wonky floors, World’s End has a charmingly old-fashioned feel – it’s like stepping back in time. But there’s nothing old-fashioned about the range of books on offer. Whether you’re looking for classics or bestsellers, you’re sure to find something to suit your taste. So if you’re ever in need of a little literary inspiration, make sure you pay a visit to World’s End Bookshop.