Unmissable independent bookshops from around the UK

Posted on 17 Jun 2021

Endless books, friendly faces, and even some coffee and cake – what more could a book lover ask for? To celebrate Independent Bookshop Week, we’ve rounded up just a few of our favourite indies – the perfect places to pop round to for an hour (or an afternoon).


1. The Margate Bookshop (Margate)

With its eye-catching pastel storefront, Writers’ Room, and impressive wealth of new and secondhand books, this seaside shop is a must-visit when in Margate.

About the shop: ‘The shop opened its doors in May 2019 when owner Francesca found a beautiful Georgian shop space after years of searching for the right premises, perfecting business plans and growing the business through social media. From day one we have been committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment to encourage a larger involvement in reading and in literature. Our stock is largely curated to reflect our customers’ tastes, while retaining the essence of a “general interest” bookshop.’

Website: https://www.themargatebookshop.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/themargatebookshop


2. Books on the Hill (St Alban’s)

Featuring a Curiosity Cabinet of rare books and first editions, this atmospheric shop is the perfect escape for book lovers and their imaginations – and it’s got all the latest releases, too.

About the shop: ‘We are an independent family-run bookshop in the heart of St Albans, Hertfordshire. The dream was of creating a warm and inviting, old-fashioned bookshop. A haven for busy lives. A meeting place for readers, writers, poets, talkers, speakers, thinkers and dreamers. To hold literary events for book lovers across the ages.’

Website: https://www.books-on-the-hill.co.uk

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/booksonthehillstalbans


3. Mr B’s Emporium (Bath)

Take a break from the ordinary and treat yourself to a visit to this whimsical shop, where staff are ready to match you to your perfect read.

About the shop: ‘Mr B’s is a beautiful, energetic and innovative bookshop on John Street in the heart of Bath. It’s a bright labyrinthine space where book-related chatter and advice seems ever-present and you never know what you might encounter next, from claw-foot bath book displays to toilets illustrated by Chris Riddell.’

Website: https://mrbsemporium.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mrbsemporium


4. Booka (Oswestry)

Where Shropshire meets Wales, discover this award-winning bookshop, named UK & Ireland Independent Bookshop of the Year in 2015.

About the shop: ‘Since opening in October 2009, Booka has quickly established a reputation as a destination shop, renowned for the quality of its book stock and its strong community focus. We host a wide and varied range of author events and work closely with schools, libraries and other organisations to promote a passion for books and reading. With a prominent position on the high street and a bright and airy ‘boutique’ feel, Booka provides a distinctive and memorable shopping experience – one that can’t be bought online! It combines its book offer with a range of high quality cards, stationery and gifts and a cafe selling coffee, teas and delicious home-made cakes.’

Website: https://www.bookabookshop.co.uk

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bookabookshop


5. Falmouth Bookseller

Don’t miss this gem on the Cornish coast, which boasts a wide selection just waiting to be browsed.

About the shop: ‘Located in the heart of the busy working port of Falmouth in Cornwall, we are staffed by knowledgeable booksellers who enjoy nothing more than recommending great reads. We aim to cater for everyone, stocking a wide range of fiction, children’s and local interest titles. We host many vibrant and diverse book events throughout the year.’

Website: https://www.falmouth-bookseller.co.uk

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/falmouthbookseller


6. City Books (Hove)

As Brighton and Hove’s largest and liveliest independent bookshop, City Books is the perfect seaside spot to discover something new.

About the shop: ‘Arranged over two floors, City Books has a large range of carefully selected books, including an extensive selection of books of local interest. In a competition held in Brighton and Hove, City Books was voted by locals ‘The Best Shop in Brunswick’. The shop has also been shortlisted twice for the national ‘Independent Bookshop of the Year Award’ and won the Muddy Stiletto award for Best Bookshop in Sussex in 2018.’

Website: https://www.city-books.co.uk

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/citybooksbookshop


7. Heywood Hill (London)

Selling on Curzon Street since 1936, this smart London shop has a rich history, and was awarded the Royal Warrant by Her Majesty The Queen in 2011.

About the shop: ‘Situated in the heart of Mayfair, Heywood Hill is one of the leading bookshops of London, trusted by readers and collectors throughout the English-speaking world. Our staff are dedicated bibliophiles who understand the importance of matching the right book with the right person.’

Website: https://www.heywoodhill.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heywood_hill


8. Round Table Books (London)

Originally envisioned as a pop-up shop, this brilliant store is here to stay, championing diversity and inclusivity in children’s publishing.

About the shop: ‘An inclusion-led bookshop selling books for every reader, in the heart of Brixton, London, Round Table Books exists to celebrate underrepresented children’s books, writers and illustrators. We curate and stock books from the widest variety of UK and Irish publishers possible.’

Website: https://www.roundtablebooks.co.uk

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/roundtablebooks


To discover even more brilliant bookshops, search by your postcode using Independent Bookshop Week’s Bookshop Search tool. Happy browsing!