The indie bookshops in London you NEED to visit

Friday, 7 October 2022

words on the water bookshop in london

If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that supporting small businesses is more important than ever. Here’s a list of some of our favourite independent bookshops which not only play such an important role in their communities, but have fiercely bookish owners who you will give you reccos for your next favourite read.

Ink@84 Books in Finsbury Park


Every book lover has dreamt of stepping on to a Library Ladder so you can sweep across aisles of books just like Belle did in Beauty and the Beast. Well, thanks to the wonderful owners Tessa and Betsey of Ink@84, your wish is their command. This beautiful bookshop not only has a Library Ladder, but fresh coffee and outdoor seating so you can sit and watch the world go by whilst reading a new book.

Nearest tube station: Finsbury Park

Phlox books
Here we are after speaking on the panel at Phlox's International Women's Day event

Phlox Books

When we found out this bookshop’s mantra was ‘Books. Booze. Coffee’, we knew we’d found our perfect match. Founded by Aimee in 2017, this East London bookshop is a treasure chest for unearthing your next read. In its bright and beautiful Victorian shop, Phlox sits proudly on a pedestrianised street which has the most women-owned business owners in London!
Nearest tube station: Leyton/Leystonstone

Word on the water
There are even more books inside the boat too!

Word On The Water

It’s charming, it’s cute, it’s an Instagrammers dream. This bookshop-on-a-boat can be found on the canals of Granary Square in King's Cross. When the sun is out and the live jazz music’s playing, this is the only place to be.

Nearest tube station: Kings Cross St Pancras

Libreria bookshop in Brick Lane
Obsessed with the mirror on the back wall and shiny ceilings giving the illusion the shop goes on for miles!


Just off of Brick Lane you can find this beautiful, sunny bookshop with its glossy ceilings and little reading nooks spotted around the shop. The shop runs a subscription service of their own with books delivered right to your door, check out their website (linked above) for pricing and more details!

Nearest tube station: Shoreditch High Street

Southbank centre book market
On this particular day they had a great Jodi Picoult selection!

Southbank Centre Book Market

Okay, it’s not a shop, but many of us have experienced the magnetic energy field surrounding the Southbank Centre Book Market. When you’re in its vicinity it is near on impossible not to fall in love with its charm and root around for a steal!

Nearest tube station: Waterloo

Gay's the word bookshop

Gay's The Word

This is the UK's oldest LGBT+ bookshop, set up in January 1979 by a group of gay socialists as a community space where all profits were funnelled back into the business. This ethos continues today with shelves bursting with books and the space used for book and community events. It is a little shop full of fab books and helpful staff - and readers, when we last visited it was so busy, always great to see!

Nearest tube station: Russell Square

Photo Credit @Hurlinghambooks

Hurlingham Books

Owner Ray Cole was inspired to open this shop in 1968 and it’s possibly the oldest independent bookshop in South West London. Located right by the river, this shop is a maze of books piled from floor to ceiling. Ray is always up for a chat and we guarantee that after you’ve visited you’ll leave with a pile of books you can’t wait to get in to.

Nearest tube station: Putney Bridge

Book reccos at Books on the Hill in St Albans
Look at all the gorgeous wall art? There's a tunnel of famous book quotes too!

Books on the Hill

Okay so this one isn’t technically in London but very easy to get to with trains from Kings Cross! If you’re after a spacious bookshop with lots of cosy (and very Instagrammable corners) then you need to visit this beautiful bookshop in St Albans, Hertfordshire. There are reading rooms, a tunnel of bookish quotes to walk through, oh and their second hand books are all colour coordinated!

Nearest Train Station: St Albans City

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