A Walk through the Bookshops of Bloomsbury

London Review Bookshop
London Review Bookshop

On a hot summer day in the literary capital of the world, Bloomsbury is the best place to be. There’s a reason this area has more blue cultural plaques than anywhere else in London, and what better way to keep the legacies of London’s literary giants alive than to wander through their stomping grounds in pursuit of a good read?

Stop 1: Judd Books, 82 Marchmont St

While predominantly academic, this second-hand bookshop covers every genre. The main room holds tables full of classic novels and an updated travel section (including Insight Guides). Any hard-core scholar can get their fix in the basement, from history to economics, to law and the sciences.

Stop 2: Skoob Books, 66 Brunswick Shopping Centre, Marchmont St

Lighter on the academics, this basement labyrinth holds over 50,000 titles at any given time, from the shelves of orange-spined classics to the heaps of music books stacked on an old piano. Make sure to bring your student ID when you go, they offer students a 10% discount!

Stop 3: The London Review Bookshop, 14 Bury Place

On the off chance that old book smell has started to get on your nerves, step inside and inhale the smell of new books and freshly baked cakes. As a trusted authority on London lit, you know this flagship store only sells the good stuff, including walls of modern and classic fiction and a surprising selection of children’s lit.

book review book shop

Stop 4: Jarndyce Antiquarian Booksellers, 46 Great Russell St 

Located directly across the street, this shop feels like an extension of the British Museum itself. They specialise in first edition 18th and 19th century English Literature and History and most of these are on display free for the touching – with caution. My best find was a first edition of Jane Austen’s Emma published in 1815; too bad I left my £23,000 at home.

Stop 5: Arthur Probsthain/Tea and Tattle, 41 Great Russell St

Don’t let the sparse shelves disappoint, most of their bookselling is now done online. This third generation family-owned bookseller offers an extensive collection of Oriental and African art and literature, specializing in out of print works. The worldly vibes continue down in the tearoom, where you can order a cup of Kenyan Fannings or Ceylon from Sri Lanka.