Just in front of the National Film Theatre is a huge secondhand book market selling thousands of books of all genres. If you look carefully you might even be able to find a copy of the Lonely Planet Guide to Wales :)
When you have bought your book you can get a coffee and sit outside on a bench by the Thames..... heaven :)) (but not in March!)
What to buy: Books, but remember if you buy it in the morning, you will have to carry it round all day in your rucksack!
What to pay: a few pounds
For almost 20 years I have been on the mailing list of this great bookshop. And when I am in London, I always stop by and usually leave with my a large bag full of books. They specialize in crime and mystery books, but also sell general fiction, as long as there is some reference to a mystery in it.Some years ago they opened a Romance section.Twice a year they publish a catalogue, containing the newest books by UK and US publishers.
The store is in Charing Cross Road, on two stories, and is not too big.They used to be in a larger store on the other side of the street, I don't know why they moved, their store now is very easily too crowded.
Apart from new books they also have a large used book department, where you can look for out-of-print editions.
In all these years I've always found them friendly and helpful, the deliveries work well, though shortly after the latest edition of their excellent catalogue it takes a bit onger. Understandably though, since then lots of people place their orders.
A very sad update: The bookstore became a victim of the credit crunch and the bad exchange rate of the £ against the US$. After many years it had to close. The mail order service ist still in existence, but of course that's not the same as browsing in a bookstore.
Everywhere that I travel, I make sure to visit at least one bookstore. That's impossible in London because there are books for sale everywhere! But, the locals declare that the oldest bookstore is the best, Hatchard's in Piccadilly.
I visited it and found, to my delight, that they had whatever I wanted, and the staff was so in the "know" about most every book. Even if a book is out of print, they usually find it and quickly!
I was looking for Mythology books for the classroom, and they found them for me, even ones that were out of print and that I could not find anywhere else.
What to buy: Hatchard's was founded in 1797 by John Hatchard. It soon became the bookstore to the "rich and royal". Today, you do not have to be wealthy or of royalty to shop or browse at Hatchard's.
It was so exciting to purchase my hard-to-find books in a shop where Byron, Kipling, Thackery, and George Shaw had also purchased books!
I’m assuming that if you’re here on Virtual Tourist that you love travelling, and probably like me also like reading travel books, whether guide books, accounts of adventurous journeys or humorous writers such as Bill Bryson. If so, let me introduce you to one of my favourite London shops: Stanfords. Here are three floors dedicated to books on that single subject, plus maps, notebooks and travel accessories – but mainly books! In fact, it claims to be the world’s largest map and travel bookshop, and I can believe that.
What to buy: The range covers of course all the popular holiday destinations but also more obscure ones, and in a greater depth than I’ve seen anywhere else. For instance, most bookshops will sell a good selection of guide-books to the USA and to the most visited states and cities (a shelf-full on Florida, nearly as many on California or New York), but try looking for most of the other states and you’ll draw a blank – but not here. Maps too – we always come here when we need good road maps for our US adventures, and I saw in a recent advert that they’re now stocking hiking maps for countries such as Tajikistan.
When it comes to travel literature, again the range is very comprehensive, and they often have signed copies in stock which I think make great gifts for travel-mad friends. These will have been signed at one of the regular evening author talks hosted at the store, which are very reasonably priced and well worth checking out - see the website for details of forthcoming events.
What to pay: This isn’t a discount store, so you’ll usually pay the cover price for your book unless there’s a sale on. Yes, you could get it cheaper on Amazon, but you won’t have half as much fun browsing there!
Under the Waterlooo Bridge you will find this nice book market. There are loads of books, so browse through and see what you like. There is all sorts of books, new and old, fiction and non-fiction.
What to pay: Just haggle if you don't like the price you see or if you buy more than 1 book
The first time I went to Foyles I was a student who had just finished her first year at university. I immediately fell in love with this bookstore. The ground floor was just a big bookshop like many others, but when I moved to the upper floors to look for specific subjects I found there the same atmosphere and even the smell of university libraries. The shop has changed a lot in the last few years, it looks more up-to-date now, it has a cafe, a gallery ... but what really matters to me is that it still has its five floors packed with books!
My love has been constant, during all these years, and I have paid a visit to Foyles on each and every trip to London.
Stanfords, whose motto is"Explore Discover Inspire" is by far the best travel bookshop I have ever been in.
The three floors are packed with travel guides, maps and literature on every country on earth. They also do specialist maps, climbing maps and books, kid's stuff and globes.
The ground floor also has a very large world map embedded on floor - so you can "walk around the world".
Staff are also excellent, and on their website you can find a kind of 'mini-VT' where Stanfords staff write about countries they have visited and which particular maps and guides they used.
What to buy: As Del-boy would say : "The world's your lobster"
includes product listings and magazine subscriptions for BBC products. They have a gift wrapping service, complete with gift tag for your own personal message... and Gift Certificates
What to buy: DVD
What to pay: from 12 pound for DVD.
from 10 pound for AUDIOBOOK...
Sometimes u can get 3 and pay for 2
Foyles claim to have over 1.4 Million Books in its shop, over 5 floors. It was the World's Largest Bookshop not so long ago.
You can find all sorts of books that you would never normally see in a bookshop. The internet may be good for buying books cheaply, but if you want to see before you buy, then Foyles is a great place to browse. The employees never try and rush you.
I have bought some great (but unusual) travel books in there that I would not have even known existed if I hadn't looked in!
What to pay: Typically the books cover price.
Waterstones are a large "chain" of book shops throughout the UK. This one is in Bloomsbury. You can get coffee and cakes upstairs - great place to escape the chilly London winter for an hour or so and read a good book!
What to buy: Books in Waterstones
What to pay: Depends on the books you are buying but they always have loads of bargains.
Stanfords in Covent Garden is Stanford's main store,situated on Long Acre.
Their Motto is Explore-Discover-Inspire.
Stanfords is an other amazing place to visit in London and I'm never ever being boring when I be there,always exciting and cheerful..
Very refine maps&Atlases,guide ,travel books,writing&other literature,globes,walking-trekking books,detailed road maps of hundreds countries,and cities..walking and trekking accessories..
Do you want to walk Himalayas or San Gimignano or Nepal..first you should come and visit Stanfords..It gives you amazing inspiration..
opening hours, 9.ooam-7.30pm
What to buy: Stanfords stocks a great range of trekking maps and guides for walking of all levels in destinations all over the world and some useful trek kit too..GPS accessories,software units..
waterproof small phone just 17.99 pound
London mini map 1.95 pound-it is the best seller:)
Inca trail-Machu Picchu map 7.95 pound
And,what I bought.. Clare Jones's "Unforgettable things to do before you die" 18.99 pound
The Motto is simple Explore-Discover and Inspire...
Bright, airy and with *massive* sections for each genre if anywhere's going to have that book you're after in the London this should be your first port of call. At nine floors and capped by a pleasant bar & restaurant this is Europe's largest bookstore. The staff are helpful, knowledgable and most of all passionate about books. Which is a rare thing in retail these days.
Foyles is over 100 years old and is still privately owned. This in itself lends to a unique feel, instead of the usual national chain stores selling books to the masses. There are five floors of books, an art gallery, cafe, lifts and air conditioning! There are many specialist subjects available as well as gifts, stationery.
They are open late six days a week and open on Sundays until 8. The main store is on Charing Cross Road and there is now a branch in the Royal Festival Hall.
Also check out Silvermoon, a specialist area for women's books and interests. There's a link off the main website to their section with online book shopping there as well.
What to buy: Books, gifts
A few minute's walk from Piccadilly Circus, this huge bookshop is housed in what used to be Simpson's department store.
It has seven enormous floors of books, a coffee shop, a juice bar, and a restaurant. Last bit not least, on the top floor is a small-ish bar with a great range of cocktails and a view out over the London sky-line, towards Parliament.
Comfy seats can be found throughout the book sections, and you are never made to feel rushed to buy a book. But, somehow, you always do!
What to buy: The magazine section has an excellent selection of foreign titles but .. NOT cheap!
What to pay: They often have good special offers on paperback, so if you want to stock up on reading for the plane back, check the '3 for 2' offers as you go into the store.
Foyles used to be a complete nightmare, with books stacked everywhere and staff who must have protected them during the Blitz.
It much more 'tided up' these days but the place is still a bit of an eccentric labyrinth and the staff are as knowledgable about books as ever.
This is the real joy of Foyles - the average bookshop assistant in England wouln't know a Jeffrey Archer from a Douglas Hurd (cockney rhyming slang) or as Basil Fawlty put it - a Bordeaux from a Claret.
Enjoy a good mooch around it - whatever your looking for they will find it - eventually.