London is a city of culture and literature, and it's no surprise that it's home to some of the world's best bookstores. From iconic travel bookstores to independent stores specializing in art, architecture and photography, there's something for everyone. Whether you're looking for new or second-hand books, rare or out-of-print titles, or even a floating bookstore, London has it all. Let's explore some of the best bookstores in London.
Stanford's is an iconic travel bookstore that has been around since 1853.Located in Long Acre, it moved to its current headquarters at 7 Mercer Walk, where customers can find an incomparable selection of travel items.
Foylesis a huge temple of the printed word located on Charing Cross Road. It covers five floors with 4 miles of shelves and more than 200,000 titles. There is also a cafeteria and an exhibition room where you can find high-profile authors doing readings and talks.
Koenig Books is a German-owned independent bookstore specializing in volumes of art, architecture and photography. It has two branches in London - one at the Serpentine Gallery and the other at the Whitechapel Gallery bookstore - with full access to the stock of the giant Buchhandlung Walther Koenig art library in Cologne.
Foster Booksis a family-owned bookstore located in Brixton. Run by Patrick Kelly for more than 30 years, it has developed a devoted audience and is a must-see for any bookworm worth their salt. Chiswick's small historic bookstore has been operating for 50 years and specializes in books that are difficult to find, out of print, used and rare.
You can buy online or go in and take a look at what they have on their shelves.
John Sandoe Booksis a beautiful bookstore located in an alley in Chelsea. Founded in 1957, it covers three floors of three interconnected stores from the 18th century with beautiful planters outside with floral flowers. Inside, rows of books fill every surface with what they call a “bias in favor of the humanities”.
Books for Cooksis based on a simple but very successful formula - from the small open kitchen, co-owner Eric Treuillé cooks recipes from the cookbooks that are on sale in the store. The small cafeteria located in the back serves lunch at a good price and attracts regular customers who start taking a look starting at 11:45 in the morning to secure a table.
Daunt Booksis a family-owned bookstore that has been offering titles on Asian and African culture, art, literature, religion, performing arts and theater for more than 100 years.
The Tea and Tattle tea room serves afternoon tea.
Housmans, founded by a group of pacifists in 1945, remains true to its radical roots with special events such as the Feminist Book Fortnight and progressive online talk programs. There is also a collection of books, periodicals and fanzines that are ready to inform you about points of view that you won't find in the mainstream.
Gay's The Word, when it opened its doors in 1979, was one of only a handful of stores selling LGBTQ+ literature. Today it remains essential with its breadth going far beyond “Call me by your name” with children's stories, graphic novels, poetry, history and much more.
Broadway Bookshop, located on what could be the prettiest (and most elegant) main street in London, sells new and second-hand books (the latest are also available on their website).
They also organize intimate literary events with names like Jeanette Winterson and Martin Amis.
Word On The Water, London's only floating bookstore, is actually a “book barge” moored on Regent's Canal. It's quirky and fun with genuine literary talent hosting musical performances and poetry prizes. London is full of amazing bookstores that offer something for everyone - from iconic travel bookstores to independent stores specializing in art, architecture and photography.
Whether you're looking for new or second-hand books, rare or out-of-print titles or even a floating bookstore, London has it all.