Literary London: 5 places for book lovers

Books in The British Library. Image: Steve Cadman.
Books in The British Library. Image: Steve Cadman.

Skoob: down some stairs in a quiet road off Russell Square, this bookshop is a delight. A lovely combination of new releases, second hand and vintage editions, this is a mecca for thrifty book lovers. If you buy enough, they might even let you play on the in-house piano.

British Library: not only is this London’s only copyright library, but it has free exhibitions on culture, from the original scroll of ‘On the Road’ to Shakespeare’s folios. The café is a lovely place to sit and read if you are not up for the more reverent reading rooms.

Southbank Poetry Library: Located in the upstairs section of the Southbank centre, this tucked away little library has a huge contemporary poetry selection. They have two copies of each text, so you’ll never be disappointed. One of the most peaceful places in London, it is perfect for sitting down and revelling in a beautifully worded sonnet.

London Review Bookshop: the famous bookshop and literary journal still holds the same power it did when it opened over 20 years ago. They regularly hold free literature readings and book releases. It has the best range of literary criticism in any bookshop in London, and a huge selection of poetry and philosophy (always hard to find in Waterstones)

Gallery Café: Our local vegetarian café hosts regular poetry reading nights, which are always fun. The relaxed atmosphere means creativity is flowing and there is a real sense of community in the creation and expression of art.

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