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Our LoveReading Recommended Booky Day Out In London

Liz Robinson

By Liz Robinson on 12th June 2019

Last month I spent a booky day out in London with fellow LoveReading expert reviewer Victoria Goldman.  Let me start by saying that as a book lover, there are obviously a huge number of things you can do, from organised walking tours, literary pub crawls, visiting glorious book shops, finding blue plaques, graves, statues, the list goes on and on. Having researched the possibilities, we worked out a route based on location, method of travel, and quite simply what called out to us. This is not an exhaustive list and we are currently planning another day, we can however thoroughly recommend everything mentioned here.

We met at Tottenham Court Road tube and wandered our way down Charing Cross Road. Known for bookshops, this is a press your nose against shop windows type of road. We started in Foyles, and spent a fair bit of time there, each pointing out books we loved (I possibly got a little over-enthusiastic with the book recommendations). Foyles first opened in 1903 and moved to its current location in 2007. There is a cafe, CDs, DVDs, gifts, stationery, and apparently enough books to 'line one bank of the Thames from Battersea Power Station to the Tower of London', so do leave yourself plenty of time!

Foyle's Books

(Foyles welcomes book lovers)

Beautiful windows snared our attention as we continued down Charing Cross Road.

We turned off into Cecil Court, which is the most stunning little street of beautiful shops, including the famous Goldsboro Books. My idea of heaven, it sells signed first edition hardbacks. We pored over the titles, chanting and pointing 'want, want, want' as we went.  Goldsboro featured as our December Bookshop of the Month.

From here we walked up to the Poetry Cafe at 22 Betterton Street, it is both a vegetarian cafe and performance venue. We had a scrummy light lunch and admired the bottles of alcohol on offer (due to the literary references of course!).

We made our way to the tube and Canary Wharf (stopping off to admire bookshop handbags on route).

Canary Wharf may seem like a strange stop off on a booky day out, however, we had heard of the rather intriguing short story stations. Three are based in various locations at Canary Wharf and we set off to find them. It actually took us a while to locate one, although they were not exactly hidden they were perhaps a little shy. This particular station was just off of the tube on the lower ground floor of the Jubilee Place shopping centre. You can pick 1, 3 or 5 minute short stories of various genres (you can’t choose), and yes, of course, we got a little trigger happy!

From Canary Wharf we took the tube to Kings Cross Station where you can of course, pose (usually after a little queue) for a picture at the oh so famous platform 9 3/4.

If you then walk behind the station up towards Granary Square, on the north side of the Regent's Canal you will find the truly wonderful 'Word on the Water'. An absolute treasure trove, I adored this quirky little barge bookshop. Homely, comfy, and full of fascinating books for sale, this is what a booky day out is all about.

From Regent’s Canal, The British Library is just a short hop, skip and jump away. You could quite happily spend an entire day here, so it is either worth a quick whistle-stop tour at the end of the day or popping some time aside to come back. You can take a tour, or there are always some quality exhibitions on show (some of which are free), and you can also join talks and discussions. There is a lovely shop, a variety of cafes, and a restaurant to discover too.

So here we reach the end of our recommended booky day out in London. We were plumb tuckered out afterwards!

Fancy it? Let us know how you enjoy your day. 

Victoria and I are thinking of taking a walking tour next… we will let you know how we get on.

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