A Tour of London Bookshops – London Review Bookshop

A Tour of London Bookshops: London Review Bookshop

I posted my first A Tour of London Bookshops post just a few weeks ago, when I visited Skoob Books, and I couldn’t have been happier with the response! I panicked slightly when I pressed the ‘publish’ button (and not only because the date was set to 2012) because I wondered whether anyone would read it, but hundreds of you did. I headed over to Bloomsbury again for today’s post, this time to visit London Review Bookshop.

London Review Bookshop is, at first glance, quite small, yet it holds over 20,000 books on two floors. I first heard about it while looking for lovely teashops to meet up with my friend Daphne, who was visiting from The Netherlands. As we’re both bookish and have a passion for, um, cake, it seemed like the perfect place to visit! It’s now one of my favourite bookshops and so I had to share it all with you. As I said before, Bloomsbury is a lovely part of London and, as you can see, there is no shortage of fantastic bookshops there!

A Tour of London Bookshops: London Review BookshopA Tour of London Bookshops: London Review Bookshop

As soon as you step into London Review Bookshop, you’re overwhelmed with books. They’re everywhere – on shelves (obviously), piled onto tables, stacked on the floor, on the counter, against the window, on top of each other. But what I especially like is that many of these titles you will not have heard of before. London Review Bookshop is curated and loved by the people who work there – they’re not just trying to sell bestsellers – each table almost has a theme to it. And books are not stacked up neatly like you might find in a chain bookstore, but fill every gap available. I enjoyed going from table to table with my friend, picking up pretty books and talking about them.

A Tour of London Bookshops: London Review Bookshop
Can we all stop for a second to admire this dumbwaiter? It’s a lift. For books. I work for a book publisher and we’re on the third floor. What I wouldn’t do to have one of these in our office… In London Review Bookshop, unlike most bookshops, you’re confronted immediately with non-fiction titles, rather than fiction.

A Tour of London Bookshops: London Review BookshopA Tour of London Bookshops: London Review Bookshop
But this does not mean that they do not have an excellent fiction section. For such a tiny space, it’s pretty impressive. It’s more literary than most, too. This again means that you (or maybe just me!) come across a lot of titles that you wouldn’t have necessarily heard of before. It’s a lovely section to browse!

A Tour of London Bookshops: London Review BookshopA Tour of London Bookshops: London Review Bookshop
And now we’re downstairs, with even more non-fiction and wonderfully curated tables. They have quite a large selection of poetry, which is just not for me, but my friend became rather engrossed and I had to keep hopping around her trying to take photographs. Downstairs is also where the children’s (and some teenage) fiction is kept. As you can probably guess, it’s a section I always look forward to visiting, and I do wish it was a little larger in London Review Bookshop, but they do have a selection of children’s classics, which I like to browse. I quite like it down here because it’s always much quieter than the first floor and you can really appreciate being surrounded by books.

A Tour of London Bookshops: London Review BookshopI quite enjoyed this quirky selection of essays, letters and diaries. I thought Tumblr would appreciate it too! London Review Bookshop really does have a ‘proper bookshop’ feel to it as opposed to a large, impersonal warehouse or a cold newsagents-like shop that just happens to have a few bookcases at the back. It’s a bookshop where the smell of paper reaches you as soon as you walk in, that’s quiet without feeling empty, with wooden floors that make that lovely sound as you walk down them, and serves as a platform to discover books you never knew existed, because they’ll never be displayed on the front page of a website. Luckily, it was full up with people who felt the same – although you cannot tell by these photos! – I had to avoid walking into people browsing the shelves.

Don't you think that's worth fighting for? Don't you think that's worth fighting for?
And lastly, London Review Bookshop has made sure it’s a popular destination by having its own cake shop. It does not contain a Starbucks, or a Costa, or a Cafe Nero, but London Review Cake Shop! It’s always immensely busy and people were queueing in the bookshop, waiting to go in, when my friend and I had finished our lunch. It’s known for its delicious cakes and impressive tea selection. I opted for fresh Sicilian lemonade, quiche with rice salad, and a salted pistachio and lemon cake.

London Review Bookshop is well worth taking a trip to visit, especially if you’re hungry!

Purchased: My friend bought The Word Exchange: Anglo-Saxon Poems in Translation, which she saw on the half price shelf.

Tube  Holborn, Russell Square | 14 Bury Place, WC1A 2JL.
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20 thoughts on “A Tour of London Bookshops – London Review Bookshop

  1. Great post, the bookshop itself looks great but I love the fact it has a cake shop too!

  2. So many amazing books!!! And that cake. . . oh my goodness it looks YUMMY!

  3. These Bookshop Review posts are my favorite to read.

  4. This bookstore looks amazing, I would love to visit it someday. It looks as if the people who work there really care about books and I love that.

  5. I love how they’ve set up the tables, it puts Waterstones to shame, so many more books with their covers on display. A one-off cake shop is such a great idea.

  6. Great post! Love the books, want the cake!

  7. This seems like such a lovely bookstore! And your post is quite lovely also!

  8. It looks amazing! When I visit London again I will definitely be going there. I love these posts.

  9. What a wonderful bookshop! Thanks for this tour, I’m loving it!

  10. […] last month, as part of my A Tour of London Bookshops feature, the first of which you can read about here. In the second, I bought two John Wyndham books and In Cold Blood, which were all on my Adult […]

  11. I stumbled onto your tumblr by accident. I love everything about it. I have thoroughly enjoyed your post about the London Review Bookshop. I have never been to England and it is a life long dream of mine to go. I am definitely putting this shop down on my list of things to do. And now I have got a craving for cake…haha. Thanks for all the time you have put into your blog. I have found it truly enjoyable. ~Rachel 🙂

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