Some go in for rummaging in charity shops, crawling about to trawl through racks of clothes. Others go in for a pub crawl with their mates and then crawl home too. But me, being prematurely 70 years old, I opt for bookshops, so when I saw NinjaBookbox’s London Bookshop Crawl, I was very excited.
As I mentioned earlier this month, I was too late in booking tickets to get a place on one of the guided tours. Instead, I enlisted the help of a friend better up on the streets of London than myself and we set out to explore London’s bookshops. After a bit of a fumble on timing and a cup of coffee in a nearby café, we began our crawl in the lovely Belgravia Books. In which, I picked up London Stories: a collection of short stories unsurprisingly set in London.
From here we headed toward Sloane Square to discover what rapidly became one of my favourite bookshops in all of London, The BookHaus. A cozy little shop set back off the busy street, TheBookHaus offers a relaxed atmosphere and a bargain box filled with books selling for £3 for paperbacks-£5 for hardbacks. The BookHaus is also part of the publishing house of the same name which is housed in the offices above the shop. I was lucky enough to speak to two of the editors, Emma and Silvana (pictured in the featured image), at great length about everything from literature and upcoming publications to how picturesque the shop is. Time incredibly well spent in my opinion.
Hoofing it across London to Hatchards, amazingly full of signed copies of recent novels, we had great conversation which once again proved to me that I may consider myself quite the man about town but at heart I’m a country boy. Rita revealed to me that my travelcard which costs a pretty penny is also valid on the busses within the London zones I’ve paid for, not just the tube and rail… Live and learn will have to become my motto to prevent furious facepalming every time I make such a rookie mistake.
All in all, it was an excellent way to spend the afternoon, seeing not just the bookshops but strolling through the streets of London catching up with friends and making new ones as we went. Next year I’ll have to be sure to book onto one of the guided groups to meet even more of London’s Booklovers and hopefully make it to more than 13% of the shops. Did any of you readers make it out yesterday? Which shops did you visit?
Bookshops I visited:
- Belgravia Books, 59 Ebury St, Victoria, London SW1W 0NZ, UK
- The BookHaus, 70 Cadogan Pl, Belgravia, London SW1X 9AH, UK
- Hatchards, 187 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1J 9LE, UK
Any Amount of Books, 56 Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0QA, UK
The London Review Bookshop, 14-16 Bury Pl, London WC1A 2JL, UK
Oxfam Books, 12 Bloomsbury St, London WC1B 3QA, UK
PS. I’m still having some trouble with images and captions in the computer view of the site. Hopefully I’ll sort this out soon!