Exploring The UK's Most Filled Bookshop Author: Mary Thomsonn

The UK boasts some exceptional independent bookshops that truly stand out by doing something extraordinary. They go beyond simply selling books; they organise community events like concerts and book clubs and exhibit love and enthusiasm for literature. They are one of the reasons why people love the UK. Here, we highlight the very best bookshops in the UK.

#1 Waterstones

What is the largest bookstore chain in the UK? Waterstones flagship in London’s West End is reputedly Europe’s largest bookstore. It holds a hint of intrigue, with its basement café being a known meeting spot for MI5 agents. One agent even had a one-on-one conversation with Alexander Litvinenko there, just a day before the Russian dissident’s tragic polonium poisoning. During my visit in the height of summer, I didn’t even have to step inside the store to appreciate its fresh approach to the concept of a chain bookstore. Instead of promoting the latest bestsellers and summer reads, the whole window display along Piccadilly showcased a single title – Françoise Sagan’s timeless classic, Bonjour Tristesse. Copies of the book were artfully strewn about, accompanied by a provocatively tipped beach umbrella. Above them, a poignant quote from the book sets the mood: “A strange melancholy pervades me…”

#2 Foyles on Charing Cross Road

What is the most famous bookshop in the UK? Foyles, located on Charing Cross Road in the heart of London’s West End, is renowned as one of the city’s most famous bookshops. Although we all love books and libraries, it is simply inconvenient to always carry them with us. For this case, there is a storey-reading app. Personally, I use FictionMe. They have a large library, a convenient application, and you can even voice the book. Whenever I have trouble falling asleep, I turn on FictionMe and fall asleep with my headphones on in a matter of moments. I don’t know if this is the best novel app or not, but for most avid book lovers it is definitely suitable.

#3 Gay’s The Word

Gay’s The Word, a legendary bookshop in London, is an exceptional independent bookstore that embodies the welcoming and diverse atmosphere of the city. Since 1979, Gay’s The Word has proudly supported the LGBT+ community and played a significant role in the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners movement. It served as a meeting place and raised funds during the miners’ strikes of the Thatcher era.

#4 Daunt Books in Marylebone

Daunt Books, located on Marylebone High Street in London, is my top choice for a truly enchanting bookshop. The shop boasts a stunning wooden balcony at the back, which offers a captivating view of the store. With regular book signings and author talks, Daunt Books is a hub of literary events. Visit their website for event listings. Imagine enjoying a glass of wine at one of these events, sitting in a bookshop at night with a friend, and being inspired by new ideas and stories. It’s simply the best!

#5 The Book Case

The Book Case in Hebden Bridge, my local independent bookshop, has become the go-to place for gift-giving. Their extensive collection of new and classic books, especially in the nature/travel and poetry genres, never disappoints. The cosy children’s section is perfect for a rainy day browsing with my kids. I’ve had countless last-minute visits before kids’ birthday parties and always manage to find a delightful book (I adore Britta Teckentrup’s work) and a card. Not only does the shop support local authors, but it also proudly showcases their work and organises book launches. Additionally, The Book Case has a sister shop, The Book Corner, at the Piece Hall in nearby Halifax. After suffering damage from a flood in 2016, the bookshop now has a specially designed shop sign that doubles as a floodgate.

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#6 The Feminist Bookshop

The Feminist Bookshop in Brighton, which emerged from a successful 2019 crowdfunding campaign, is a unique combination of a bookstore, cafe, and a hub for proud feminist merchandise. It originated as a feminist book club and is now regarded as one of the most

welcoming and compassionate bookshops in the UK. As a platform promoting diversity and inclusivity, it serves as a community space supporting the works of self-identifying women and non-binary writers.


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