|Bookish street art in the Shoreditch neighborhood of London|
South Kensington Books is a small shop near the Victoria and Albert Museum. They carry familiar titles as well as maps and information for travelers. It's a very pretty spot.
One of my favorite London bookstores was the London Review Bookshop, located off Great Russell Street near the British Museum. This is a great, two-floor boutique store (and cafe) featuring literary fiction, criticism and lots of other well-stocked sections. This is the London bookstore where I would want to work!
One thing that I learned about is the prevalence of charity shops in the UK and Ireland. We have them here too, but not so many as they do. And some charity shops are dedicated used bookstores. The Trinity Hospice Shop, near Kensington Palace off the Kensington high street, is one such store, stocked with all kinds of crazy things. Oxfam runs a chain of charity bookshops which I saw positively everywhere so if you're in the UK keep an eye out for them because we found some real treasures in these stores!
Bookmarks, on Bloomsbury Street not far from an Oxfam bookstore, is a socialist bookstore with a rich selection of leftist political books from publishers large and small. Browsing here will show you another side to life in Great Britain and is well worth your time.
Foyle's. Foyle's is a huge independent bookstore with-what? four or five?- floors of new books. It includes a huge foreign language section and a floor devoted to music and movies, too. You could get lost here!
Forbidden Planet is the fandom superstore. Here you can find merchandise and gew-gaws for every science fiction and fantasy franchise you can think of. In the basement, you can also find a well-stocked book section larger than some specialist bookstores. It's a must-do for the well-read fan! We visited Forbidden Planet stores in London, Dublin and Belfast.
Persephone Books, home of the eponymous publisher of womens' and forgotten books of the early 20th century with the trademark gray covers. It is also the prettiest bookstore I visited, by far:
Hatchards is another beautiful London bookstore on Piccadilly, not far from the big Waterstone's. I really loved the store's quiet, leather-armchair ambiance. If they wouldn't hire me at London Review, my next choice would be to work here!
Come back soon for my post about bookstores in Ireland and Northern Ireland. More bookish fun to come!