Five Things To See In London If You Are A Book Worm

Hello guys! I came back with some travel recommendations for all of you who love travelling and books at the same time (I imagine I am not the only one), so this post is dedicated to you.

So, the thing goes like this: at the end of July I visited for the third time one of the most important cities in the world, magnificent London. Although I am absolutely in love with their architecture and history, London is much more than that. But I will leave this for some other article, and this time I will tell you about some important bookish destinations to take into account if you ever visit it.

First of all, I want to start with the classical British Library. Everybody knows about it, everybody has heard about it (or at least everybody who is a bookworm and has heard about London, but if you haven’t heard about it there is no tragedy. We live to learn).  They have a collection of over 170 million items including artefacts from every age of written civilisation. Also, they keep the nation’s archive of printed and digital publications, adding around three million new items to their collection every year, according to the information available on their site.

If you are near Euston Road, you can pay it a visit here. It is definitely worth it. You can also use the Journey Planner for London transportation, which is actually a pretty useful tool if your orientation skills are not something you can be proud of, or if you don’t want to try to remember all those train, undergroud or bus stations, which can sometimes be pretty confusing.

Second, one of the places I absolutely loved was Japan House, a place with an amazing collection of manga and a pretty cool library. The personnel is very welcoming and joyful, and they have all sort of Japanase related stuff, like hair accessories, makeup brushes, soaps, sweets, books, seasonings and many other. At the last floor there is this amazing restaurant where the serving is absolutely magnificent and the food is simply DELICIOUS. The prices are a bit high, but I think it’s worth it.

The place includes an exhibition gallery, events space, a Japanese restaurant and a retail floor of thoughtfully curated Japanese products. They try to celebrate Japan’s innovative, creative and technological merits, while shining a spotlight on the artisans, craftsmen, designers, performers, musicians and other professionals who are making waves both in Japan and around the world – from internationally renowned individuals, to emerging artists who are excelling in their field (according to their official site).

If you want to take a look, you can find indications on how to get there via Google Maps.

Next, there is the Kensington Central Library, a place where you can just sit and read a nice book in a quiet place, where you can see all around you only books. Honestly I liked this one better than the British Library, not because of the book collections they have, but because I have found here the comfort and coziness I was looking for.

They actually have pretty nice services, including Help with Homework and Computers for Children, which is a pretty original idea in my opinion. They also have study areas, CDs with music and movies and sessions for under 5s. Just take the underground, bus or walk until Philimore Walk and give it a chance.

The fourth place in my list is Daunt Books. I can honestly say that this is one of the coolest book stores I have been till this day (of course the first place is still occupied by Carturesti Carusel Library in Bucharest). It is cosy, has lots of books to find, and the aspect is pretty bohem. It was created in 1990 by James Daunt and the intention then, as now, was to arrange books principally by country, whatever the nature of the book – fiction or non-fiction, biography, history, guide or novel – and in so doing creating wonderful browsing both for the traveller and the general reader, according the their official site. Check out their book collection by paying them a visit in Marylebone High St.

And last but not least, Waterstones. It began in 1982 under the aegis of its founder, Tim Waterstone. Over the decades that have followed, they have grown to become an icon of the British cultural landscape, employing over 3000 superb booksellers across over 280 bookshops (according to their official website).

The atmosphere is pretty cosy, although my opinion would be that they should work a bit on the user interaction. I personally had the impression that it is a bit sad. Although overall I think it is a nice place to see (I admit I only visited the Kensington store. They say the Picadilly one is much better, so stop for a minute to take a look if you are not in a hurry). You can find here directions for how to get to the Kensington Waterstones store.


This were basically the things I have visited in London concerning books. Other places to be mentioned are the library inside Kensington Palace and the books to be found inside Madame Tussauds, although they are not part of an official book store or library.

I will soon come back with an article with details about the above, so click the subscribe button to be noticed when they will be available.

© picnicontheshelf, August 12, 2019

10 Comments

Leave a comment. I would love to hear your views on this

%d bloggers like this: